1932 Chrysler Series CL Imperial news, pictures, specifications, and information
LeBaron Roadster
Coachwork: LeBaron
Chassis Num: 7803368
Sold for $660,000 at 2008 RM Auctions.
Sold for $525,000 at 2013 RM Auctions.
Around 200 Chrysler CLs were created in 1932 and some believe that 28 examples were Convertible Roadsters. It is also believed that less than 10 examples have survived. This LeBaron bodied Convertible Roadster wears chassis number 7803368 and was shipped new to Portland, Oregon and eventually going to North Hollywood, California. It was discovered near the close of the 1950s or early 1960s in CA by an individual living in Denver, Colorado.

The story goes that the individual who found this car was engaged in a wild police chase, missed a turn, and rolled the car into a ditch. It is believed that the individual had just robbed a bank.

Mr. Maynard found the car in a garage and the car was then passed through Omaha, Nebraska and eventually found its way into the collection of Knox Kershaw in 1989. It was acquired by Mr. Joe Martin in 2002. Under Mr. Martin's care, the cars restoration was completed. It is finished in two-tones of green, retains its original engine, and has been properly cared for since the restoration.

In 2008 this 1932 Chrysler CL Imperial Convertible Roadster with coachwork by LeBaron was offered for sale at the Vintage Motor Cars of Meadow Brook presented by RM Auctions. The car was estimated to sell for $550,000 - $650,000. A high bid of $660,000, including buyer's premium, proved those estimates to be accurate.

By Daniel Vaughan | Sep 2008
LeBaron Roadster
Coachwork: LeBaron
The Imperial, as its name implies, was intended to compete in the luxury automobile market with the likes of the Packard Six, and certain Cadillac models. The CL series was introduced in 1932 with a 145-inch wheelbase, a good 10 inches longer than the CH-series also on offer in 1932. The catalog for the CL line listed six body styles, three of which were produced by LeBaron. The convertible roadster body was only offered on the CL Series.

The styling of the CL was enhanced with a more imposing front view and a long de Sakhnoffsky false hood that extended to the base of the windshield. Under the hood, new features included Chrysler's new 'Floating Power,' with engines cradled on strategically placed rubber-lined mounts; 'silent' shifting through a free-wheeling transmission; and 'CentriFuse' brake drums, which gave a longer lining life.

This example is one of only 29 LeBaron-bodied convertible roadsters produced in 1932, only nine of which are believed to exist today. When the current owner first saw this rare and sought-after car in 1991 at the CCCA Grand Classic, he knew he was going to own it someday. 'Someday' turned out to be 2004, and he has since freshened and personalized the car.
Dual Windshield Phaeton
Designer: LeBaron
Chassis Num: 7803456
Chrysler introduced the CL in 1932 which stayed in production until 1933. It was a replacement for the CG which had been introduced in 1931. Prior to this, it was the 'L' that was produced from 1929 through 1930. These were Chrysler's ultra-luxury vehicles. Other American automobile producers at this time that were producing high-end, luxury vehicles were Packard, Auburn, Cadillac, Cord, Duesenberg, to name a few. Many of these vehicles received custom coachwork courtesy of the great coachbuilders of their time. The use of coachbuilders allowed for every detail of the vehicle to be carefully crafted to the owners specifications and desires. The introduction of the CL was met with economic turmoil as the nation was experiencing the Great Depression. Many high-end luxury marque's would go out of business during this period. It is believed that no more than 40 examples of the CL were produced in 1932.

The two-tone cranberry colored Chrysler CL Custom Imperial Dual Windshield Phaeton with chassis number 7803456 was offered for sale at the 2006 Worldwide Group Auction held on Hilton Head Island. This is a very unique vehicle with an interesting history. It was originally delivered to its first owner On Jun 15th of 1932 as a closed coupled coupe. In the late 1940's a barn that housed this vehicle caught fire. In the 1980's it was restored with coachwork in the style of LeBaron. It sits atop a 146 inch wheelbase and is powered by a 384 cubic-inch engine that produces 135 horsepower. A three-speed manual transaxle sends that power to the rear wheels.

Since then it has been shown at many events. It was awarded an AACA 1st place award in 1991. It is recognized as a Full Classic by the CCCA.

At auction, this vehicle was expected to fetch between $200,000-$250,000. At the conclusion of the auction, the vehicle had been left unsold.

By Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2006
LeBaron Convertible Sedan
Coachwork: LeBaron
Chassis Num: 7803426
Sold for $396,000 at 2007 RM Auctions.
The Chrysler CL Imperial Series were given large wheelbases and adequate powerplants. They were outfitted with luxurious amenities and beautiful styling. They are considered among the best looking classics of the era.

Mounted on the long and flowing bonnet was a 384 cubic-inch, nine-main bearing eight-cylinder engine that produced 135 horsepower. The engine was mounted to a four-speed synchromesh gearbox and vacuum clutch. There were four-wheel hydraulic brakes.

The car was introduced in a devastating point in history, 1932, during the Great Depression. The luxury car market disappeared and production of the CL lasted until 1933, with many left unsold even as production ceased.

This 1932 Chrysler CL Imperial Convertible Sedan with coachwork by LeBaron was offered for sale at the 2007 RM Auctions held in Amelia Island, Florida. It was offered without reserve and estimated to sell between $300,000 - $400,000. When the car was new, back in 1932, it set the buyer back $3,595. The Convertible Sedan was the most expensive CL Imperial body-style offered.

The history of LeBaron Carrossiers Inc. dates back to 1920. It was founded by two prominent and well known coachbuilders, Thomas L. Hibbard and Raymond Dietrich. The duo established their business at 2 Columbus Circle in New York City. The location was expensive but it did provide the image and prestige they were hoping to ascertain. The name, LeBaron, was chosen because it sounded French and sophisticated.

The New York City office was just that, an office where the design work was done. There were no coachbuilding facilities at this location. This allowed them to segregate their talents from the manufacturer of the chassis and the actual coachbuilding firms.

Soon after the Design Studio opened their doors for business, they were approached by Ralph Roberts from Brewster who was looking for work. Dietrich and Hibbard appreciated his talents and offered him a one-third partnership in the business. In the years to come, both Dietrich and Hibbard left the company they formed to for other opportunities. This left Roberts in charge of the company.

A Detroit based firm named Briggs acquired the LeBaron Company in 1927. Briggs had a well established list of clientele that included marques such as Ford, Chrysler, Hudson and Overland. These connections allowed LeBaron's business to flourish and prosper. Soon, they had attracted work from Cadillac, Pierce Arrow, and Lincoln.

Many of the designs for the CL and CG Imperials were done by the LeBaron Design firm. This example is one of the surviving examples of their work. The car has been treated to a comprehensive restoration that was completed in the early 2000s. After the completion of the two year restoration job, the car was shown at the AACA Hershey Fall Meet where it was awarded its First Junior, followed by a First Senior Award. In 2006 it was awarded a Grand National Award.

At auction, the excellent restoration and rarity of the car helped drive the selling price near the top of the estimated value. The vehicle was sold for $396,000.

By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2007
This automobile is a one-of-a-kind custom specifically built to the individual standards of Chrysler Corporation founder Walter P. Chrysler. Mr. Chrysler chose the special exterior burgundy paint, along wîth many other special features. Some of these special features are listed below:

This 1932 Imperial features a custom body built by Chrysler. It has a lengthened hood fitted wîth door type side hood ventilators. The car also has early bowl type headlights, and a special fabric covered arched hardtop roofline. Skirted fenders wîth storage compartments, wire-spoke wheels and 4-wheel hydraulic brakes were also fitted. The interior is abundantly endowed wîth exotic wood trim and has full instrumentation for both the driver and rear seat passengers.

The Chrysler Corporation has manufactured automobiles continuously from 1924 to the present date, excluding the WWI war years.

The vehicle is on loan to the Canton Classic Automobile Museum courtesy of the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village Dearborn, Michigan

Source - Canton Classic Museum
This one-off roadster body by LeBaron on a Chrysler Imperial chassis with an eight-cylinder engine has had just four owners, and it has been maintained in original condition by each of them. Mark Smith acquired it in 2001. Just nine Chrysler Imperial LeBaron Roadsters were created out of a total of nearly 32,000 Chrysler cars built in 1932, and each one is different. It is a very refined vehicle with well tuned suspension, giving rise to the famous 'fluid-ride' boasted about in the companies advertising slogan. LeBaron designed some of the most attractive bodies during the early thirties and this was one of the most exciting cars of its time.
LeBaron Convertible Coupe
Coachwork: LeBaron
A hearty 385 cubic-inch straight-eight engine coupled to a four-speed transmission gave this Imperial, Chrysler's top-of-the-line model, performance to match its racy good looks. Coachwork by LeBaron is mounted on a 146-inch wheelbase model CL chassis, with the total package tipping the scale at 4,930 pounds.
Coachwork: Bohman & Schwartz
Chrysler introduced the Imperial in 1926 to challenge Cadillac and the other domestic luxury cars. Intermittently throughout the company's history Imperial has been the company's top-of-the-line offering, represented by many elegant and stylish automobiles.

In 1930 the Imperial was fully redesigned with a new 3833 cubic-inch inline 8-cylinder engine, a 4-speed synchromesh transmission, and 4-wheel hydraulic brakes. The Imperial was replaced in 1934 with the famous 'Airflow.'

Christian Bohman, originally from Sweden, and Maurice Schwartz of Austria partnered to build custom bodies for luxury cars in 1932 after each had learned the craft at the most prestigious coach building firms of the time. Both had worked for the famed Walter M. Murphy of Pasadena, California, who built custom-bodied cars for the rich and famous, and carried on Murphy's skills when Murphy decided to get out of the business. Bohman & Schwartz went on to become a great company in its own right taking over the Murphy clientele and making beautiful, distinguished bodies for luxury cars for many years.

This Chrysler Imperial is the first car to be bodied by Bohman & Schwartz after the company was formed. It was built on speculation and is one-of-a-kind. Restored in 1993, it won Best in Class at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in 1995. The car is authentic with known history since new and it is a CCCA 'Full Classic.'
Coachwork: LeBaron
This is a rare example of a 1932 Custom CL Imperial Partitioned Close Coupled Sedan. A mere 374 of these cars were produced in 1932 and 1933 on the 146-inch wheelbase Custom CL chassis.

This car left the Kercheval Avenue plant in Detroit, Michigan on August 18, 1932 wearing a semi-custom Close Coupled Sedan body, bound for a Long Island, New York distributor. At some point shortly thereafter, the partition was installed, as per an internal confidential Chrysler memo. There are currently only two examples of the Partitioned Closed Coupled Sedan Imperials known to exist, in addition to Walter P. Chryslers personal car which was custom built by LeBaron.

This car surfaced in Flushing, New York in the possession of Joe Maculoso, a Past President of the Classic Car Club of America New York region in the early 1950's. He later sold the car to a fellow CCCA member in Pennsylvania. it would change hands several more times and was at one point used as a parts car in support of three separate CL restorations. In the late 1980's, it would again change hands and the current owner would spend nearly 18 years gathering parts for the extensive restoration. This would include the owners' reproduction of over 800 part numbers. The extensive attention to detail would include both stamping and hand engraving 'DB' head bolts and conserving the original printed wood-grain blended with newly applied ink on the dash.
The work of LeBaron is considered to be the most remarkable styling of the CG Series Imperials. LeBaron was one of the greatest design firms of the classic era, and was established as innovative, creative and completely responsive. LeBaron was founded by Wand Ray Dietrich and was later joined by Ralph Roberts, and though Dietrich eventually left the firm to pursue other interests, the company continued to flourish at the hands of Roberts.

Hired to style the CG Imperial, Al Leamy was held in great regard for the L29 Cord, which was considered to be the most striking design in existence. The CG was long and low, much like the L29, and featured gracefully swept fenders along with a v-shaped radiator. The CG's design was improved by LeBaron with a swept-back grille, a much more elegant body-side treatment and a longer hood.

A variety of L29 Cord styling designs were incorporated into the design of the CG Imperial, and since the CG had a larger platform on which to display the styling, it was considered even more aesthetically successful than the Cord. Chryslers have held a reputation for performance the CG Imperial was no exception with 125 horsepower, along with a four-speed transmission. Along with a well-tuned suspension and Chrysler's 'floating power', the Imperial was a refined vehicle to drive. The Imperial was the first vehicle in the country that employed fluid coupling. This was also offered as optional equipment on the 1939 model.

Considered by many to be the most beautiful Imperial ever, the CG series was biggest change in 1931. The CG came with the new corporate work-horse, the Flathead Eight as Chrysler was in the process of narrowing engine production. Much advertising for the Imperial references the '8' in regards to the new engine. Becoming the standard wheel treatment until the 1940's, new tire wheels for the Chrysler Imperial were introduced with the Imperial CG.

In 1927, the first Imperials began appearing on the market utilizing a 92-horsepower flathead-six. Imperials would continue to be powered by the same engine until 1931 when the CG series was introduced in 1931. A Imperial was driven on a double cross-country run from San Francisco to New York, to Los Angeles, a total of 6,726-mile trek, at which the Imperial average 40.2 miles per hour to introduce the new line of luxury Chryslers.

Unfortunately, since the Great Depression was in full swing at the time of introduction, sales of the 1931 and 1932 Imperial were not as high as hoped. At an original list price of $3,575, only a total of 339 custom and semi-custom CG's were sold, making these vehicles even rarer than the Model J and SJ Duesenbergs.

Continuing to be produced until 1933, the Imperial CG's were updated with styling and even smaller semi-custom and custom sales, before eventually being replaced by the radical Airflow Imperials in 1934. These new radical airflow vehicles sold an amazing 2,000-plus models in that year.

Many enthusiasts consider the CG Imperial dual cowl phaeton to be among the best driving vehicle of the era along with one of the finest looking cars. Today this vehicle is extremely rare as only a handful of these vehicles are known to exist. At RM Classic Cars' Novi sale held on November 15, 2002, the CG Imperial dual cowl phaeton was sold at $214,500 that included buyer's premium.

Until 1954 the Imperial was produced with the Chrysler name before retiring until 1990. Wanting to rival Cadillac and Lincoln, the luxurious Imperial moniker stood 'supreme', 'superior' and 'sovereign, which aptly describes Chrysler's most expensive quality model. The first generation Imperial debuted in 1926 riding on a 120-inch, 127-inch, 133-inch and 136-inch wheelbase. Available in a variety of body styles that included a roadster, coupe, 5-passenger sedan and phaeton, the Imperial was also offered as a 7-passenger top-of-the-line limousine with a glass partition.

Powering the Imperial was a 288.6 cu inch (4.7 L) six-cylinder engine with seven bearing blocks and pressure lubrication of 92 brake horsepower (69 kW). At the front were semi-elliptic springs. The Customer Imperial convertible sedan was picked as the official pace car for the 1926 Indianapolis 500. Designated E-80, the name was chosen after the 'guaranteed' 80mph all-day cruising speed.

In 1930 the Imperial received four-speed transmission. The following year the second generation of the Chrysler Imperial was introduced. The Imperial model rode on a 124-inch wheelbase, while the Custom Imperial rode on 146 inches. 1931 brought with it many changes including a new engine, a 384.84 cubic inch I8. This generation was marketed as the 'Imperial 8', in reference to the new in-line 8-cylinder engine, which would also be found in many other Chrysler cars.

Other updates for 1931 included safety glass, automatic heater controls and rust-proof fenders. The limousine even offered a Dictaphone. New wire wheels also became a standard wheel treatment until the 1940s. Harry Hartz, stock car drive, set many speed records behind the wheel of an Imperial sedan at Daytona Beach, Florida.

The third generation of the Chrysler Imperial arrived in 1934 and lasted until 1936. The new 'Airflow' design was introduced with this generation along with the catchy slogan ' The car of tomorrow is here today.' With room for eight, the Imperial was incredibly roomy and was once again powered by an eight-cylinder engine. The first car to be designed in a wind tunnel, the Imperial's engine and passenger compartments were moved forward which gave better balance, ride and road handle. Exceptionally modern and advanced, the Airflow was 'an unparalleled engineering success'. Extremely strong, the Imperial employed an early form of unibody construction. It was also one of the first vehicles with fender skirts.

Unfortunately the public wasn't quite ready for the modern styling and the Airflow cars weren't a big seller at first. The lack of this success caused Chrysler to become overly conservative in there styling for the next two decades. Proving this point, the standard styling on the lower-end Chryslers outsold the Airflow by 3 to 1.

Riding on a 144-inch wheelbase the fourth generation Chrylser Imperial arrived in 1937. It featured innovative features like flexible door handles, recessed controls on the dash, seat back padding, built-in defroster vents and fully insulated engine mounts. Until 1939 the brakes were 13' drums, but then grew to 14' before shrinking once again to 12' drums the following year in 1940. The front suspension on the Imperial was independent.

This fourth generation offered three Imperial models, the C-14, which was the standard eight, the C-15 and the C-17. The C-14 looked very similar to the Chrysler Royal C-18 but featured a longer hood and cowl. The C-15 was only available by special order, had blind rear quarter panels and was the Imperial Custom and the Town Sedan Limousine. The C-17 was the Airflow model and it featured a hidden crank that raised the windshield and had a hood that was hinged at the cowl and opened from the front. The side hood panels were released by catches on the inside. An armored Chrysler Imperial was bought by the Prime Minister of Portugal in, António de Oliveira Salazar following as assassination attempt in 1937.

In 1940 the fifth generation of the Imperial was introduced. Now riding on a 145.5-inch wheelbase, the Imperial received a new designation, the Crown Imperial. This generation was available in two different body styles; an eight-seater four-door sedan and an eight-passenger four-door limousine. The two models had about 10 pounds different between them, and around $100 price difference. At the front and rear were hydraulic telescopic shock absorbers. Standard were two-speed electric windshield wipers.

In 1949 the sixth generation Imperial was introduced, this time in three available body styles. The short-wheelbase model was offered only as a four-door six-passenger sedan, while the 4-door 8-passenger Crown Imperial was offered as a sedan or a limo with a division window.

Taking its cues from the luxurious Chrysler New Yorker, the new custom-built Imperial sedan shared the same trim but came with a canvas-covered roof and leather and broadcloth Imperial upholstery. Derham installed these features on the all-new postwar Chrysler sheetmetal. Actually leftover 1948 models, early 1949 Crown Imperials filled the gap until the new models arrived in March of 1949. These newest models were much sleeker than before, but also conservative and featured fewer bars, used in the cross-hatched grille. Wrapping around the front fenders were upper and center horizontal pieces. Decorating the side body of the Imperial sedan were rear fender stoneguards, rocker panel moldings, full-length lower window trim and horizontal chrome strips on the rear fenders, and from the headlights almost to halfway across the front doors.

The Chrysler Crown Imperial was the first model to have production disc brakes as standard, beginning in the 1949 model year. The Crosley Hot Shot featured disc brakes, a Goodyear development that was a caliper type with ventilated rotor, which had been originally designed for aircraft applications. The Hot Shot was the only one to feature it. Unfortunately the brakes suffered with reliability issues, especially where salt was heavily used on winter roads and caused corrosion. Converting to drum brakes was a very popular option for the Hot Shot. Chrysler's 4-wheel disc brakes were much more expensive and complex than Crosleys, but definitely more reliable and efficient. First tested on a 1939 Plymouth, the 4-wheel disc brakes were built by Auto Specialties Manufacturing Company (Ausco) of St. Joseph, Michigan under patents of inventor H.L. Lambert. The Ausco-Lambert used twin-expanding discs that rubbed against the inner surface of a cast iron brake drum, which pulled double duty as the brake housing. Through the action of standard wheel cylinders the discs spread apart to create friction against the inner drum surface.

'Self energizing,' the Chrysler discs braking energy itself contributed to the braking effort, thanks to small balls set into oval holes leading to the brake surface. After the disc made contact with the friction surface the balls would be pushed through the holes, which forced the discs further apart with augmented the braking energy. This resulted in lighter braking pressure than found with calipers and its also avoided brake fade, provided one-third more friction surface that typical Chrysler 12-inch drums and promoted cooler running. Since they were so expensive the brakes were only standard on the Chrysler Crown Imperial until 1954, and the Town and Country Newport in 1950. On other Chryslers these brakes were optional and cost around $400, meanwhile an ENTIRE Crosley Hot Shot model retailed for $935. The Ausco-Lambert was considered to be extremely reliable with a good dose of power with its downsides being its sensitivity.

The 1950 Imperial was very similar to a New Yorker, with a Cadillac-style grille treatment that featured circular signal lights enclosed in a wraparound ribbed chrome piece. The interior was custom and the side trim was nearly identical to the previous year's model, though the front fender strip ended at the front doors while the rear fender molding at the tire top level and molded into the stone guard. Separating two Crown Imperial from the standard model, the Crown had a side treatment in which the rear fender moldings and stone guard were separate. All Imperials used body sill moldings, but were a smaller type than typically found on big Crown models. The limousine offered a special version this year with unique leather on the inside and a leather-covered top that blacked out the rear quarter windows. The Crown Imperial featured power windows as standard.

Strangely for the chrome era, the 1951 Imperial had much less chrome than the less expensive New Yorker that it was based on. Changes this year included a modified look with three horizontal grille bars with the parking lights nestled between the bars and a chrome vertical centerpiece. The side body trim was limited only to the moldings below the windows, rocker panel moldings, bright metal stone shields and a heavy horizontal molding strip that ran across the fender strips, and the front fender nameplate.

Three 2-door bodies were added to the 1951 Imperial lineup: a Club coupe, a hardtop and a convertible. Discontinued the following year, only 650 convertibles were sold. New for 1951 was Chrysler's 331 cu in (5.4 L) Hemihead V8 engine. For an additional cost of $226 'Hydraguide' power steering, an industry first in production automobiles was available on the Chrysler Imperial. Standard on the Crown Imperial was full-time power steering.

Not many changes differentiated the 1951 and 1952 Imperials. The most accurate way to tell them apart was through reference to serial numbers. The taillights on the Imperial weren't changed, unlike other Chrysler models. Standard this year was power steering and the front tread measurement was reduced one inch. The Crown Imperial didn't receive any changes this year. During the 1951-1952 model run only 338 of these cars were produced.

The Imperial name was changed once again in 1953 and became the Custom Imperial. Though the Custom Imperial still very closely resembled the New Yorker, the Custom rode on a different wheelbase, and had different taillights and side trim. Setting it apart from other 'ordinary' Chryslers were clean front fenders and higher rear fender stone shield. New this year was the stylized eagle hood ornament. Other standard features for 1953 were power windows and brakes, a padded dash and center folding armrests at front and rear. Different from other Chrysler models, Imperials parking lights were positioned between the top and center grille moldings.

Brand new for 1953 was the Custom Imperial limousine with room for six. Standard equipment was electric windows, electric division window, rear compartment heater, fold-up footrests, floor level courtesy lamps, special luxury cloth or leather interiors and a seatback-mounted clock. The Custom Imperial Newport hardtop model was added to the lineup on March 10, 1953. Costing $325 more than the eight-passenger sedan, the Custom Imperial Newport was an ultra exclusive model that brought even more class to the lineup.

Other changes this year included the 2-door Club coupe being deleted and the eagle ornament added to the 1953 Crown Imperial. Custom Imperial sedans grew slightly as they now rode on a 2-inch longer wheelbase than the 2-door hardtops. The limo received moldings on top of the rear fenders, and the nameplate was tweaked slightly. Custom Imperials still featured a 6-volt system, but Crown Imperials came with a 12-volt electrical system. Powerflite, Chrysler's first fully automatic transmission became available late in the model year, it was installed into a very select number of cars for testing and evaluation. Crown Imperials received power steering as standard along with a padded dash. This would also be the final year that the Imperial would have a one-piece windshield rather than a two-piece one.

The first production vehicle in twelve years to feature air conditioning, the 1953 Chrysler Imperial actually beat out Cadillac, Oldsmobile and Buick in offering the innovative feature. Optional Airtemp air conditioning units were much more sophisticated and efficient than rival air conditioners of 1953. Airtemp recirculated the air rather than just cooling the interior of the car. It was also very simple to operation with just the flick of a single switch on the dashboard that marked low, medium and high positions according to the driver's preference. In only two minutes the system could cool a Chrysler down from 120 degrees to 85 degrees. It also completely eliminated pollutants like dust, humidity, pollen and tobacco at the same time. The Airtemp system relied on fresh air and since it drew in 60% more than its competition it avoided the typical staleness compared to other systems at the time. Quiet, but effective, the system had small ducts that directed cool air towards the ceiling before it filtered down to the passengers, rather than blowing directly onto them like other cars.

For 1954 the Custom Imperial received a new grille that was made up of a heavy wraparound horizontal center bar with five ridges on top and integrated circular signal lighting. Spanning the length of the front door to the front of the door opening was a chrome strip below the front fender nameplate. Bigger than the previous year was the rear fender stone guard, though the rocker panel molding and rear fender chrome strip style remained the same. Instead of the lights being divided like in previous years, the back-up lights were now placed directly below the taillights. Basic styling was shared between the Crown Imperial and the Custom Imperial, though the Crown had standard AC, center-opening rear doors and Cadillac-like rear fender taillights.

The Imperial was registered as a separate make, beginning in 1955, in an attempt by Chrysler to compete directly with GM's Cadillac and Ford's Lincoln plush luxury marques, instead of GM's lower-price brands: Oldsmobile and Buick. Continuing to be sold through Chrysler dealerships, the Imperial nameplate became a stand-alone marque since its didn't separate itself enough from other Chrysler models. Through 1976 to 1978 no Imperial's were produced and cars that were previously marketed as an Imperial were rebranded as the Chrysler New Yorker Brougham during this period.

Chrysler and Philco joined together and produced the World's First All-Transistor car radio on April 28, 1955. Mopar model 914HR was a $150 option available on the 1956 Imperial car. Beginning in the fall of 1955, Philco was the company that manufactured the all-transistor car radio at its Sandusky Ohio plant for the Chrysler Company.

The seventh generation of the Chrysler Imperial arrived in 1990. Once again Chrysler's top-of-the-line sedan, the Imperial was no longer it's own marque was once again a model of Chrysler. Representing Chrysler's top full-sill model in the lineup, the Imperial was based on the Y platform and was similar to the New Yorker Fifth Avenue. Directly below that was the entry-level New Yorker. The Imperial was resurrected two years after the Lincoln Continental was Continental changed to a front-wheel drive sedan with a V6 engine.

Though very similar in many ways, the Imperial and the Fifth Avenue differed in various ways. The Fifth Avenue featured a much sharper nose and had a more angular profile while the Imperial led with a more wedge-shaped nose. The back of the two vehicles were very different as well with the Imperial featuring more rounded edges while the Fifth Avenue had more stiff angles. Similar to the taillights on the Chrysler TC, the Imperial had full-width taillights while the Fifth Avenue lit its way with smaller vertical ones. The Fifth Avenue's interior featured plush signature pillow-like button-tufted seats while the Imperial's interior was more streamlined with 'Kimberly Velvet' seats.

During it's four-year production run the seventh generation Imperial remained virtually the same. Powered by the 147 hp (110 kW) 3.3 L EGA V6 engine, the 1990 Imperial rated at 185 lb/ft of torque. The following year the 3.3 L V6 engine was replaced by the larger 3.8 L EGH V6. Horsepower was only bumped up to 150 hp though with the new larger 3.8 L V6, torque increased to 215 lb/ft at 2,750 rpm. Standard with both engines was a four-speed automatic transmission.

With available room for up to six passengers, the Imperial was fitted in either velour or Mark Cross leather. Automatic climate controlled AC, Cruise, ABS brakes, driver's side airbag and its own distinct Landau vinyl roof were standard along with power equipment.
Similar to the LeBaron coupe and convertible, and the New Yorker and Fifth Avenue, the Imperial carried the same distinctive hidden headlamps behind retractable metal covers. Available with the option of several Infinity sound systems, the Imperial also came with a cassette player. Other big ticket options included electronically controlled air suspension system, fully electronic digital instrument cluster with information center and remote keyless entry with a security alarm.

Chrysler's market-leading 'Crystal Key Owner Care Program' covered all seventh generation Imperial models. The program included a 5-year/50,000-mile limited warranty and 7-year/70,000-mile powertrain warranty. The program also included a 24-hour toll-free customer service hotline for clients.

After the 1993 model year Chrysler decided to do away with the Imperial model because of slow sales. Imperial sales in 1991 peaked at 14,968 units produced; fell to 11,601 units in 1991, before dropping drastically to 7,643 in 1992, and 7,063 the following year. Its outdated platform dated back to the original 1981 Chrysler K platform. The popular cab-forward styled Chrysler LHS replaced the Imperial in 1994 as Chrysler's flagship model.

Chrysler debuted the Chrysler Imperial concept car at the 2006 North American International Show. Built on the Chrysler LY platform, an extended LX, the Imperial concept rides a 123-inch wheelbase. Sporting 22-inch wheels, the Imperial was met with rave reviews that appreciated it's 'six-figure image but at a much lower price', according to Tom Tremont, VP of advanced vehicle design for Chrysler. The concept design sported a horizontal themed grille, a long hood and front end and an upright radiator. Evoking memories of the freestanding headlamps of previous models were brushed and polished aluminum pods. Reminiscent of early 1960's Imperials were circular LED taillights with floating outer rings. The concept appeared much longer thanks to a rearward pulled roofline that enlarged the cabin.

By Jessica Donaldson
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The competition showcased 248 cars, including 48 from abroad PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (August 18, 2013) -- A 1934 Packard 1108 Twelve Dietrich Convertible Victoria owned by Joseph and Margie Cassini III of West Orange, New Jersey, was named Best of Show at the 63rd Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, held Sunday on the 18th fairway of Pebble Beach Golf Links at Pebble Beach Resorts. The event showcased 248 cars from 36 states and 12 countries and raised $1,277,007 for charity. 'This Pack...[Read more...]
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Rolls Royce, Bentley, Duesenberg and coachwork of Ray Dietrich to be featured Rancho Palos Verdes, CA - February 14, 2013 - The 21st Palos Verdes Concours d'Elegance at the Trump National Golf Club, Rancho Palos Verdes on September 15 will celebrate the 'Age of Elegance' by showcasing some of the world's most luxurious classic automobiles, according to Chairman Peter Kunoth. The featured classes include Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Duesenberg and the coachwork of Raymond Dietrich. The Conc...[Read more...]
RM Auctions, in association with Sotheby's, is proud to be offering one of the world's finest private museums, the Milhous Collection, during a multi-day sale, February 24 – 25, 2012 in Boca Raton, Florida. The result of over five decades of judicious collecting by brothers Bob and Paul Milhous, the extraordinary collection features an unparalleled series of mechanical musical instruments, automobiles and collectibles, handpicked from around the world and representing the ‘best of the very be...[Read more...]

300 Non-Letter
Fifth Avenue
Idea Cars
New Yorker
PT Cruiser
Series 70
Town & Country
Town & Country Mini Van

1933 CL Custom Imperial Image Right
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