Imperial Crown
Imperial Crown Series
Imperial Crown Imperial
Imperial Crown
Imperial Crown
Imperial Crown
Imperial Crown Series RY1-M
Imperial Crown
Imperial Crown Series MY1-M
Imperial Custom Series
Imperial Crown Imperial
Imperial Crown Series
Imperial Crown
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 Chrysler's first vehicle to have a wraparound windshield. Produced in limited numbers, only 11,430 examples were created in 1955. This was Chrysler's 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 was 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 hardtop 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 was not only creative, but they were also 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 occurring 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. The better power-to-weight ratio improved 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 Imperials were produced.
By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2008
Imperial Crown Imperial Series
Chrysler Crown Imperial

Total Production: 1,400
Chrysler Custom Imperial
Chrysler Custom Imperial
Chrysler Imperial Series C-14
Chrysler CQ Series Imperial
The name Imperial had been used by Chrysler since 1924 representing their top models. These models were more expensive, larger, faster, and more elaborate than the base model Chryslers. Two years later the Imperial became its own series. The 1926 version, dubbed the E-80, was powered by a 288.7 cubic-inch six-cylinder engine capable of producing an astonishing 92 horsepower. Its impressive looks matched its 80 mph top speed.

In 1928, the L-80 series was introduced. With a 309.3 cubic-inch engine and more than 100 horsepower on tap, the Chrysler L-80 was faster and more powerful than its predecessor, raising the luxury performance bar even higher.

The early 1930 Imperial's continued the tradition of beauty, luxury, and impressive performance. They offered a gentle ride that was soft yet able to keep the car level in turns. The 51 percent front and 49 percent rear weight distribution amplifies Chryslers advanced engineering genius of its time. Under the hood was an enormous 384.8 cubic-inch straight-eight cylinder powerplant. The 'vee' shape radiator grill and fenders were courtesy of Chryslers Art and Color staff employee Herb Weissinger, patterned and inspired after the front-wheel-drive Cord L-29. The windshield was split and slanted. Spare tires were mounted in the traditional location, on the side close to the engine.

The early 1930's were tough times. Unemployment was at an all-time high. The stock market crash and the onset of the Great Depression meant the shortlist of individuals capable of purchasing a luxury automobile was dwindling. The competition was stiff, filled with famous marque's such as Cadillac, Marmon, Auburn, Packard, and more. To stay in business, manufacturers need to remain competitive. Chrysler responded in 1932 by shortening the wheelbase by ten inches and slashing the price by $800 and offering the Imperial CH. The straight-eight cylinder was retained. The goal was to provide moderately priced cars that could sustain steady cash flow and keep the company in business. The result was a phenomenal car for the money and brilliant manufacturing economy for Chrysler.

The big-image builder automobiles were retained. The 145-inch wheelbase Imperial Custom Eight, Series CL was still available. These machines were identical to the 1931 versions except for the elimination of the traditional cowl. The hood reached from the windshield to the radiator in one unbroken line, a design courtesy of LeBaron. Mechanically, the chassis received modifications that gave it extra strength and lowered its center of gravity. The steering ratio was reduced from three turns lock-to-lock to four. The result was a vehicle that was more stable at speed and easier to park. New for 1932 was the vacuum-operated automatic clutch and vacuum-assisted brakes. The automatic clutch made it possible for the driver to switch gears without de-clutching. Since it was a new system it did not always work properly. The vacuum-assisted brakes were a welcome change and provided superb stopping power. For 1932 only 220 examples were produced.

For 1933 the Imperial was basically just a name slapped on a Series CP Chrysler Eight. The wheelbase was 126 inches and the engine displayed 298.6 cubic-inches and rated at 108 horsepower. The Custom Imperial, however, continued unchanged. The CQ was introduced in 1933 and became apart of the Imperial line-up. Standard equipment included automatic vacuum clutch, Delco Remy ignition, Lockheed hydraulic brakes, free-wheeling, dual wipers, taillights, and external chrome trumpet horns, and a covered rear spare tire. Styling was similar to the 1933 vehicles with sweeping fenders, vee-type radiators, single bumpers, and a slanting windshield. The Imperial CQ convertibles had 'suicide' hinged doors. There were six body styles to select from in the CQ model range. The least expensive was the $1275 two-door roadster with seating for two/four. The most popular was the four-door sedan with seating for five. In total, there were 2,584 examples of this body-style sold. For the 1933 production year, 151 examples of the Customer Imperial models were produced.

The Custom Imperials were easy to drive, fast, full of style, and superb automobiles that represented styling and mechanical advancements in the automotive community.
By Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2006
Chrysler CL Custom Imperial
Chrysler Series CL Imperial
Chrysler CG Imperial

Total Production: 339
The name Imperial had been used by Chrysler since 1924 representing their top models. These models were more expensive, larger, faster and more elaborate than the base model Chryslers. Two years later the Imperial became its own series. The 1926 version, dubbed the E-80, was powered by a 288.7 cubic-inch six cylinder engine capable of producing an astonishing 92 horsepower. Its impressive looks matched its 80 mph top speed.

In 1928, the L-80 series was introduced. With a 309.3 cubic-inch engine and more than 100 horsepower on tap, the Chrysler L-80 was faster and more powerful than its predecessor, raising the luxury performance bar even higher.

The early 1930 Imperial's continued the tradition of beauty, luxury, and impressive performance. They offered a gentle ride that was soft yet able to keep the car level in turns. The 51 percent front and 49 percent rear weight distribution amplifies Chryslers advanced engineering genius of its time. Under the hood was an enormous 384.8 cubic-inch straight-eight cylinder powerplant. The 'vee' shape radiator grill and fenders were courtesy of Chryslers Art and Color staff employee Herb Weissinger, patterned and inspired after the front-wheel drive Cord L-29. The windshield was split and slanted. Spare tires were mounted in the traditional location, on the side close to the engine.

From 1931 through 1932 the famous coachbuilder LeBaron produced most of Chrysler's custom and semi-custom Imperial bodies. Waterhouse was given six vehicles to create into Convertible Victoria's. Though the CG Imperials were very impressive, they were introduced during the Great Depression which meant only 339 custom and semi-custom CG' vehicles would be created. They were elegant with their sweeping fenders, and a vee-shaped radiator. The long hood hid the 125 horsepower engine which was matted to a four-speed manual transmission.

The early 1930's were tough times. Unemployment was at an all-time high. The stock market crash and the onset of the Great Depression meant the short list of individuals capable of purchasing a luxury automobile was dwindling. The competition was stiff, filled with famous marque's such as Cadillac, Marmon, Auburn, Packard, and more. To stay in business, the manufacturers need to remain competitive. Chrysler responded in 1932 by shortening the wheelbase by ten inches and slashing the price by $800 and offering the Imperial CH. The straight-eight cylinder was retained. The goal was to provide moderately priced cars that could sustain a steady cash flow and keep the company in business. The result was a phenomenal car for the money and brilliant manufacturing economy for Chrysler.

The big-image builder automobiles were retained. The 145-inch wheelbase Imperial Custom Eight, Series CL was still available. These machines were identical to the 1931 versions except for the elimination of the traditional cowl. The hood reached from the windshield to the radiator in one unbroken line, a design courtesy of LeBaron. Mechanically, the chassis received modifications that gave it extra strength and lowered its center of gravity. The steering ratio was reduced from three turns lock-to-lock to four. The result was a vehicle that was more stable at speed and easier to park. New for 1932 was the vacuum-operated automatic clutch and vacuum-assisted brakes. The automatic clutch made it possible for the driver to switch gears without de-clutching. Since it was a new system it did not always work properly. The vacuum-assisted brakes were a welcome change and provided superb stopping power. For 1932 only 220 examples were produced.

For 1933 the Imperial was basically just a name slapped on a Series CP Chrysler Eight. The wheelbase was 126 inches and the engine displayed 298.6 cubic-inches and rated at 108 horsepower. The Custom Imperial, however, continued unchanged. For the 1933 production year, 151 examples of the Customer Imperial models were produced.

The Custom Imperials were easy to drive, fast, full of style, and superb automobiles that represented styling and mechanical advancements in the automotive community.
By Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2006
Chrysler Imperial Series 80L
Chrysler Series 80
Chrysler Model E-80
Model Production *
* Please note, dates are approximate

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