Me & My Car: Danville owner keeps ’91 Chrysler for sentimental value

I think most if not all automobile companies have had their ups and downs, but Chrysler has had a real rollercoaster history. In my view, two outstanding men have led the company over the years.

The first was, of course, Walter P. Chrysler who took over the ailing Maxwell Motor Co. (1904-1925), reorganized it and changed the company’s name to Chrysler Corp. The second was Lee Iacocca, who took over an almost bankrupt Chrysler in 1978 and agreed to work for $1 a year after Henry Ford II fired him.

I was there before, during and after the Iacocca miracle. Employee morale improved tremendously, almost immediately after Iacocca took over, and everyone took a voluntary pay cut to help with the company’s financial difficulties.

Iacocca convinced the federal government to guarantee loans the company needed to continue, a very tough sales job, as dome in Congress suggested they should “let Chrysler die with dignity.” A spectacular turnaround resulted as new fuel-efficient K-cars were brought to the market, though.

Because of their sales success, selling more than 2 million vehicles built on their K-car platform from 1981 to 1988, Chrysler repaid the loans seven years early but also came up with some exciting new models using the K-car platform. These included the Chrysler, Dodge and Plymouth minivan, Chrysler LeBaron convertible and even a Chrysler limousine and the even longer, seven-passenger executive limousine.

The Chrysler Fifth Avenue was a trim-level package used on Chrysler’s larger sedans from 1979 to 1993. The model was named after New York City’s famously upscale Fifth Avenue, which is also a few blocks from the city’s iconic Chrysler Building.

For model years 1990 through 1993, a new Chrysler Fifth Avenue was introduced. It was a bigger, longer, fancier car than the K-cars and used a transverse V6 front-engine with front-wheel drive and four-speed automatic transmission.

This was Chrysler’s luxury car that was noted for the button-tufted front seats that were sofa-like in either velour or optional Mark Cross leather. The leather seat option also boasted an exterior Mark Cross emblem just ahead of the stylish rear opera windows, so your neighbors could know you bought the top of the line. This model also had standard hidden headlights.

This issue’s featured car is a 1991 Chrysler Fifth Avenue sedan. The owner is Aubin Anguiano, of Danville, but it was originally bought new by his wife, who has since passed away.

“She bought it back in May of 1991,” Anguiano said. “She couldn’t find one in the Bay Area at that time, so she had to go to Stockton to purchase it. She looked at other cars, but she wanted the Chrysler. And it was her favorite car.”

The base price for the car was $20,875, or about $48,135in 2024 dollars. The 33-year-old car now has 130,000 miles on it and has been repainted once, but in the original color, and the sofa-like Mark Cross seats are original.

Not much maintenance or repairs have been required over the years — a new transmission, water pump and a fixed leak in the radiator. The car has an adequate horsepower of 147 but isn’t really a neck jerker getaway car. The wheelbase is 109.6 inches, about that of an average midsize car today.

This car is now Anguiano’s daily driver. His travels currently are mostly local, but while he does have other cars, he drives the Chrysler to accomplish most of his daily tasks. He says he likes the car but is not a “car nut” or even a big Chrysler fan.

“The reason I’m keeping it for 33 years is it has a sentimental value because my wife belonged to it,” he said. “It was hers. I like to keep it because of that.”

Have an interesting vehicle? Email Dave at To read more of his columns or see more photos of this and other issues’ vehicles, visit

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