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1963 Chrysler Imperial Crown news, pictures, specifications, and information

This '63 Crown Imperial convertible is one of the rarest products of Chrysler's ongoing battle wîth Cadillac for American ultra-luxury supremacy. These cars were very expensive when new and a mere 531 were produced total. This car is arguably one of the most spectacular Crown Imperial Convertible in existence.

Source - Barrett-Jackson
The Imperial was designed by Virgil Exner and hailed by Chrysler as 'The Finest Car America Has Yet Produced.' A very bold statement considering some of the masterpieces produced from Packard, Cadillac, and countless others. This was Chryslers first vehicle to have a wraparound windshield. Produced in limited numbers, only 11,430 examples were created in 1955. This was Chryslers interpretation of a true luxury automobile.
The Imperial was a highly priced vehicle for its time, costing $4,483 for the four door sedan, over $500 more than the Cadillac Series 62. Even though it was pricy, it offered items as standard equipment that were optional on other vehicles. For example, power brakes and power steering were both included with the sticker-price of the vehicle, while other manufacturers charged extra for these luxury items. The Imperial Newport hartop coupe sold for roughly $4,720.

A two speed automatic transmission with a 250 horsepower Hemi engine was offered for the base models.

The 1957 Chrysler Imperial is probably the most famous and popular Imperial in history. Styling was once again handled by Virgil Exner. Tailfins could be found in the rear of the vehicle. The curved door glass were not only creative, they were the first in the industry. The long, stylish front hood hid a giant 392 cubic inch V8 capable of producing 325 horsepower. The Hemi V8 version produced 350 horsepower.

In 1956, Chrysler had introduced a TorqueFlite, three-speed automatic transmission. In 1957, it found a home in the Imperial. This transmission, coupled with the V8 powerplant could propel this large, luxury vehicle from zero to sixty miles per hour in 9.8 seconds easily beating the nearest competitor. Its top speed of 125 miles per hour was also unmatched.

Three body styles were offered, they were the two door hardtop, convertible, pillared sedan, and four door hardtop.

In 1957, 35,734 Imperials were produced, the best year Chrysler would have with this vehicle. Production continued until the 1970's with both mechanical and styling changes occuring throughout the years.

In 1958, the Imperial was fitted with cruise control and electric door locks. In 1959, a new 413.2 cubic inch V8 engine was introduced, producing 350 horsepower at 4600 rpm. In 1961, large tail fins were fitted to the rear of the vehicle. This was not the first time tail fins were used on the vehicle. The tail fins first appeared on the vehicle in 1956 but they were subtle, unlike the 1961 fins that were large and commanding. Was it styling, was it more competition Was it a market that was headed towards more economically friend vehicles, or Was it simply some other reason? During the 1961 model year, Chrysler only produced 12,249 Imperials. Whatever it was, the Imperial carried a bold statement, an unbeatable powerplant, superb luxury elements, and handling that could tame and control the vehicle even at high speeds.

In 1966, the horsepower was increased again with the introduction of a 440 cubic inch V8. Better power-to-weight ratio improved the performance and handling. With 350 horsepower at 4400 rpm and 480 ft-lbs at 2800 rpm, the Imperial 440 was the most powerful luxury American automobile ever.

In 1967, 17,620 Impericals were produced.

By Daniel Vaughan | Jan 2006
The Chrysler Thomas Special SWB Prototype was the answer to a lackluster styling problem that had plagued the Chrysler Corporation during the late 1940's and early 1950's. K. T. Keller was Chryslers President from 1935 through 1950. Under his direction the Company had prospered but the designs of the vehicles were criticized for being too conservative. After World War II many maruqee's saw their production figures begin to rise while Chrysler's stayed stead but falling behind the rest of the pack. Chrysler looked to Europe for inspiration.

A war torn Europe was recovering from years of battle. Many factories had been ruined and many intellectual knowledge had been destroyed. Fiat invited Chrysler to Italy to aid in their rebuilding and to train their technicians in the latest methods and techniques of automotive production. This included teaching them modernized ways of constructing cars and the most effective means of assembly line techniques. Not only was Chrysler imparting knowledge to a struggling economy, they were gaining knowledge on the art of carrozziere, Italian meaning custom coach building. This was a dying art but had been very popular in the early 1900s. A manufacturer would supply a rolling chassis to a custom coachbuilder to complete. The coachbuilder often corresponded with the customer to determine the exact specifications, resulting in unique creations.

Chrysler began discussions with one of the most famous coachbuilders of all time, Pinin Farina. However, it would be Ghia in Turin who would be commissioned to build a series of cars inspired by the designs of Virgil Exner, Chryslers chief stylist. Ghia and Chrysler continued working together for 15 years creating some of the most memorable Chryslers of all time. From 1951 through 1954 the Exner-designed Ghia Specials were produced. The mechanical components were provided by Chrysler including a 331 cubic-inch hemi V8 capable of producing over 175 horsepower. The two-speed PowerFlite or Fluid Torque transmission was also courtesy of Chrysler but the exquisite bodies were the creation of Ghia with inspiration from Exner.

The Chrysler-Ghia relationship was beneficial to both parties. When Chrysler approached their own shops for a quote on who much it would cost to build such a creation, they were told around $125,000. When they posed the same question to Ghia, they were quoted $10,000 to $20,000.

The first fruits of this relationship was the Chrysler K-310 introduced in 1951. The 'K' represented K.T. Keller's initial in his name. While the 310 represented the horsepower produced by the engine. In 1952 the Chrysler Special was produced and made its debut to the public at the Paris Auto Show of that same year. It was built atop of a shortened New York Chassis and powered by a 331 cubic-inch Hemi V8 engine producing 235 horsepower. It had power steering, brakes, windows and power antenna. There was only one SWB (short wheel base) version produced in the series. The Thomas Special was specially commissioned by C.B. Thomas, who was president of the export division of Chrysler Corporation.

These 'idea cars' were meant to inspire Chrysler's design team while giving the general public a glimpse of things to come. They were showcased at auto shows where they always drew crowds. They were the perfect blend of American styling and power with coachwork by one of the greatest Italian coachbuilders.

In 1954, the limited production Chrysler Ghia GS-1 coupe was introduced. They were sold exclusively in Europe by Societe France Motors. The vehicle was built atop a Chrysler 125.5 inch chassis, the same used on most of the Chrysler automobiles. Power was supplied by a 180 horsepower Chrysler Hemi V8 engine. The vehicles were equipped with either a Fluid Torque transmission or the newer PowerFlite two-speed automatic.

Other creations between Chrysler-Ghia were the Dodge Firebomb and the Chrysler Crown Imperial Ghia Limousines.

By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2006
2014 Palos Verdes Concours d'Elegance Increases Classes to 22
Chrysler designs by Virgil Exner added Rancho Palos Verdes, CA – April 17 , 2014 - The 22nd annual Palos Verdes Concours d'Elegance at the Trump National Golf Club in Rancho Palos Verdes, California on Sunday September 14 has increased the number of its classes from 20 to 22. The changes result from adding a class for Chryslers designed by Virgil Exner and dividing Post War American into two classes - 1957-1958 and 1959 to 1966. The event will celebrate automotive innovation ...[Read more...]
RARE REUNION: CHRYSLER CONCEPT CARS GATHER AT AMELIA, 2014
Nine rare and important Chrysler Concept Cars from the forties, fifties and sixties will be presented together for the first time at the 19th annual Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance on March 9, 2014. From the two-seat Chrysler Thunderbolt roadster and the dual-cowl Chrysler Newport of 1941 through the radical 1963 Chrysler Turbine car, Amelia's Chrysler Concept Car Class shows the genesis of the styling and engineering philosophy that summoned Chrysler's industry-changing 'Forward Look...[Read more...]
MOTOR TREND NAMES RAM 1500 AS 2014 TRUCK OF THE YEAR
Ram 1500 Outclasses Competition with the Fuel Economy, Torque, Style and Amenities to Satisfy the Most Demanding Truck Buyers December 4, 2013 , El Segundo, Calif. - Motor Trend has selected the Ram 1500 as its 2014 Truck of the Year®. The announcement was made at the Chrysler Group LLC Warren Truck Assembly Plant in Michigan, the birthplace of Ram Trucks. A full report on Motor Trend's comprehensive Truck of the Year testing will be featured on MotorTrend.com and in the ...[Read more...]
Final Countdown Underway To South Florida's Premier Collector Car Auction
• Auctions America kicks off its 2013 auction season, March 22-24 with its highly anticipated Fort Lauderdale Collector Car Auction • Celebrating its 11th year, the multi-day auction features more than 550 quality collector cars • Latest feature attractions include an outstanding 1963 Shelby Cobra and a 1974 Ferrari Dino 246 GTS • Digital catalog now available for download at auctionsamerica.com AUBURN, Indiana (February 27, 2013) – With the final countdown underway to its highly an...[Read more...]
Steve McQueen Chevrolet Styleline Leads Exciting List of Celebrity Rides At Auctions America's Ford Lauderdale Sale
• Auctions America kicks off its 2013 calendar, March 22 – 24, 2013 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida • Regarded as South Florida's premier collector car auction, multi-day sale expected to feature more than 550 quality collector cars • Star attraction: 1951 Chevrolet Styleline DeLuxe Convertible formerly owned by Steve McQueen to be offered at no reserve • Additional highlights include a diverse assortment of 1950s convertibles from 'The Gauthier Collection', 1967 Dodge Coronet WO23 Hemi Super Sto...[Read more...]

Arrow Right 1963 Chrysler models
Chrysler 300 Sport Series
Chrysler New Yorker
1963 Chrysler Concepts
Chrysler Turbine

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