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1958 Imperial Crown Imperial news, pictures, specifications, and information

Limousine
Coachwork: Ghia
Chassis Num: LY11035
 
Sold for $71,500 at 2009 RM Auctions.
The Imperial was the epitome of Virgil Exner's 'Forward Look.' It had helped Chrysler become a styling leader in the industry.

The Chrysler name was dropped on the Imperial for the 1957 model year, making the Imperial its own brand name. It had distinct roof treatments and a bodyside that was unlike any other Chrysler product. In the back were gun-sight taillights which were introduced in 1955 and continue as an Imperial trademark into the 1960s.

Chrysler described the car as 'The World's Most Magnificent Limousine' and few would argue with that statement. Price tag of this elite edition motorcar was $15,075 in 1958. Only 31 were built in 1958. Total limousine production between 1957 and 1965 was only 132.

The cost of tooling for a limousine for Chrysler on its own was too cost-prohibitive, so it partnered with Ghia. Thus, the hand-crafted coachwork could be done at a lower price. The design was courtesy of Exner and his personal staff, Cliff Voss and Bill Brownlie.

The chassis was sent to Ghia, where it was stretched by an additional 20-inches making it 149.5-inches. New body panels and interiors were hand-fabricated and installed. After a month of assembly at Ghia, it would spend an additional two weeks being hand-rubbed and painted to perfection. Upon completion, the Imperial Crown Limousine was sent to the United States.

In 2009, this example was offered for sale at the Vintage Motor Cars of Hershey presented by RM Auctions. It was estimated to sell for $25,000 - $40,000 and offered without reserve.

By Daniel Vaughan | Sep 2011
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 | Mar 2008
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