1967 Imperial Crown Coupe: For Pete’s Sake, Don’t Call It A Chrysler!

I attend a lot of car shows, and cruise nights, and national marque meets-as proven by my recent post on the 2022 CLC Grand National meet in Lombard, IL. This is nothing new. Way back in early autumn of 2012, I took several dozen photos at a car show held at Dahl Ford of Davenport-said dealer run by my buddy and fellow Brougham aficionado KV Dahl. So let’s look at one of my favorite marques: Imperial. And that’s an Imperial, buster! Dagnabit, consarn it and gods cuss it! It is not, I repeat, NOT, a Chrysler. To understand why it bugs Imperial connoisseurs when someone calls one of these majestic luxury cars a Chrysler, imagine how weird it would sound for someone to call your Eldo a “GM Cadillac” or your Mark III a “Ford Lincoln.” Mmm-kay? Good. So let’s move on to the star attraction: This ’67 Crown Coupe.

The 1967 Imperial was all-new. It was also the first model to share the Chrysler’s unibody chassis. And the circa-1957 wraparound windshield was at long last consigned to the dustbin. Yes, despite several redesigns over the years, the 1957-66 Imperials were largely unchanged beneath the sheetmetal!

Yes, that windshield will interchange with a giant-finned, Exner-tastic 1957-59 Imperial. 1964 Crown Coupe at the 2014 Galesburg, IL car show.

It was a handsome car, though it was clear that it was not as unique as it had been in prior years. It all came down to dollars and cents: The Imperial had been stalling in the luxury car sales race, and Chrysler was getting tired of putting so much money and effort into a special car that typically sold 15-18,000 units–if they were lucky. It had been a long time since the Imperial’s last big sales year, 1957, when 35,734 units found buyers. In fact, ’57 was the high-water mark for the classy but unsuccessful Imperial marque, which finally fizzled after the ’75 model year.

That said, the ’67 Imperial was still very handsome and luxurious–and so were the competing Cadillac and Lincoln Continental. Could 1967 have been the pinnacle of the big, blowsy American luxury car? If not the best year, it’s certainly in the top three.

There’s no denying that the Imperial was sumptuous, with its plush seating, Danish-modern instrument panel with full instrumentation (sans tach), and an intriguing new option–the Mobile Director. Though rarely ordered, this neat option, available only on the Crown Coupe, comprised a front passenger seat that swiveled 180 degrees and a three-position folding table–the perfect setup for dictating a letter to your comely secretary while sipping a martini as you’re being whisked to an important meeting on the brand-spanking-new Interstate. Alas, this unique option was infrequently ordered (its $597.40 price tag on a $6,000 car might have had something to do with that), and Mobile Director Crown Coupes are prized by collectors today.

Our featured Imperial does not have the Mobile Director option, but nonetheless is quite lush with its blue leather seating. This has to be one of the sleekest instrument panels of the late ’60s. I especially like how the ends “waterfall” down into the power window controls on the door panel. And no, that is not a radio blanking plate; it is hinged and conceals the radio when it’s not in use, all in the name of aesthetics. And what’s that below the dash?

Yes, it is a vintage mobile phone. These had to be scarce in the ’60s and early ’70s. Reminds me of the phone Frank Cannon had in his silver Mark III, and later on, Mark IV (both with red leather and black vinyl top) on the classic ’70s detective show, Cannon-one of my favorites! Perfect for Maxwell Smart to phone the Chief when his shoe phone was busted.

Even the door panels are luxurious. Look at all the buttons and controls. Maybe one of them launches the Saturn IB rocket! Each door had a built-in glove compartment, carpeted lower panel and courtesy light.

Befitting an Imperial, there was much standard equipment, including power front disc brakes, power steering, power windows, fender skirts, and several yards of chrome and polished stainless steel trim.

All Imperials received a four-barrel 440 cu in V8 that produced 350 horsepower at 4,400 rpm. Naturally, it was backed by Chrysler’s excellent Torqueflite automatic transmission. The Crown Coupe cost a princely $6,011 before options; adding the most popular options was likely to bump up the tally by a grand or two. Any 1967 Imperial is rare–only 17,614 were built–but the Crown Coupe take rate was even less, with only 3,235 made. Only the Crown four-door hardtop beat it in the lineup, with 9,415 built.

Our sleek blue featured example is a local car, and unrestored to boot. It was sold brand-new at Learner’s Sales & Service, right here in Rock Island. Although Learner’s was bought out by a Moline, IL C-P dealer in the late ’90s, this car still stands as a testament to just how good Chrysler made the Imperial back then. Too bad most folks wanted Cadillacs.

13 Replies to “1967 Imperial Crown Coupe: For Pete’s Sake, Don’t Call It A Chrysler!”

  1. toly arutunoff

    somehow in the late ’50s we had an encyclopedia brittanica salesman come by our house. we already had a ’27 edition which is a stupefying read full of geopolitical info. i must’ve sent in a coupon or something. anyway i mentioned his chrysler a couple times and he corrected me both times: ‘imperial!’ dad raked him over the coals when he’d promote the research done by the university of chicago; dad pointed out the administration’s leftist philosophies. dad finally said my son wants your books so we’ll get them but everything you thought was an asset i see as a liability. the poor guy was glad to get the signature and scram. i wondered with an imperial if he took the job just to have something to do

  2. Lynn

    Tom, you may want to check your data base, the blue Crown Coupe appears to be a 1968 or 1969. Notice the square side marker lights on the front fenders. 1967’s did not have side marker lights as noted in the brochure photo in your article. They did not become a federal requirement until the 1968 model year. Most Chrysler and Dodge products used round side markers in 1968 and did not go to square or rectangular until 1969 but Imperial used square starting in1968.

    • Tom Klockau Post author

      She’s a ’67, I am guessing someone added the side marker lights at a later date. Clearly a 67 grille and front end.

      • LynnG

        Never thought of some adding them at a later date, good point. Did a good job getting them in the stock location both front and rear.

  3. John C.

    I had forgotten how well styled the first unit Imperials were pre fuselage. I wonder though if you were giving up even more than before to Cadillac in terms of NVH?

    That mobile director option sends the Imperial into another realm. Finally allows a two door without the period stigma of coming across as unserious.

  4. Paul E

    That’s a stunning Imp! The ‘phone’ under the dash isn’t a phone–it’s an EF Johnson “Messenger” 23-channel CB radio, with the push-to-talk button located in the handset. Period VHF mobile phones would have buttons to choose channels on top of the unit, and either a rotary dial, or later, a Touch-Tone keypad.

  5. George Droubie

    Jay Leno has a beautiful 67 Imperial Crown Coupe. Every so often I love to watch the video of him telling the story of finding the car and meeting the original owner. He also has a 57 Imperial. Both are impressive automobiles.

  6. Carmine

    If they could have found a way to fit the Mobile Director option to the sedans they probably would have sold me, it just seems to be a way out of place feature on a 2 door car and ideally more suited to a sedan. Similar to how Cadillac added footrests and tray tables to the Fleetwood Broughams.

      • John C.

        I am wondering if Mr. Engel, understanding that our friend the fat cat, needed to retain his dignity upon .entering, considered a passenger side third door, in the style of the second gen Saturn SC. How to do it with minimal cut lines would seem a worthy design challenge.

  7. Compaq Deskpro

    I recall Imperials had an optional record player mounted under the dashboard. Googling further, turns out it used propreitary disks that ran at an extreme slow speed and sounded terrible. I can’t imagine it would barely function, regardless of how much tracking force you dial in. Look at all the period photos of people touching the grooves. Gah!

    The curved windshield was a unique obstacle to styling that forced to them to not just copy Lincoln’s slab sides, and it defines them today.

    Bastardizing the name is an unfortunate necessity, Google didn’t know what I was talking about until I specified “Chrysler Imperial Record Player”

    • Carmine

      It was available across all Chrysler makes, it was called Hi Way Hi Fi, from 1955-1959, it wasn’t very popular, Later in the late 60’s though the early 70’s Chrysler offered a recorder with a mic as part of the tape deck.


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