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.
Here’s a nice time capsule to prove Dodge did sell vehicles other than loud, brash muscle cars in the ’60s.
While the most famous Monaco is a certain black and white 1974 model, the nameplate initially appeared in 1965 as a special top of the line two door hardtop with bucket seats, console and wicker door panel trim, meant to compete with the Pontiac Grand Prix.
For Chrysler, just getting up off the canvas after the “plucked chicken” fiasco of 1962 was hard enough without Ford doing something crazy by dropping its Mustang bombshell on the market. What’s more, the personal-luxury coupe market was heating up by the day. So what was a beleaguered Chrysler to do? Fake it, that’s what. And do so with a memorable and venerable name.
The earliest Charger I remember (at least referring to something other than a hay-consuming equine) is this car, which a sporting band of Chrysler engineers campaigned on the drag strip. This car was the “High and Mighty” (actually a ’49 Plymouth). According to Alpar, it existed as seen above into late 1958. The original 354 truck engine, fitted with 392 heads, eventually gave way to an all-392 Hemi. Obviously, the car sacrificed aerodynamics on the altar of weight transfer and traction.
The VIP displaced the Sport Fury as the top big Plymouth in 1966, one year after the LTD and Caprice. And just like its competition, the VIP had the soon-to-be-typical chrome additions, plusher interior, vinyl roof and wood-grained dash and door panels. Although clearly a member of the Fury line, the VIP received its own special brochure apart from the Sport Fury and Furys III, II and I. Initially available only as a four-door hardtop (a hardtop coupe came later), it was marketed as a Plymouth for folks who wanted the finer things in life. Despite gilding the lily of the already well-equipped Sport Fury, the VIP looked as good as any of the other 1966 Mopar full-sizers, thanks to design chief Elwood Engel’s attractive square-rigged styling.
But only about 12,000 were built, compared to over 100,000 LTDs and 181,000 Caprices. And while it was, in your author’s opinion, as attractive and well-appointed as its cross-town rivals, it never broke 20,000 units during its existence from 1966 to 1969. A shame.
But new plans were afoot for the ’67 model year. While the ’66 Plymouths were most attractive in your author’s opinion, their squared-off styling was a little out of style with the advent of GM’s swoopy 1965 Chevrolets.
We are now rapidly approaching the end of summer. You know what that means: car shows are dwindling. And soon, will be gone altogether-until next April. And so it was that I attended the cruise night yesterday evening with a friend of mine. Sadly, no Broughams were in evidence. In fact, the show itself was kind of small.
Part of it was the heat-it was about 88 degrees out-but as we heard from fellow attendees, there had been a big show at Green Chevrolet that morning. Apparently most of the usual suspects went to that show instead, leaving North Park Mall in Davenport with relatively slim pickings, car-wise