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.
I’ve always loved Imperials. That finest Mopar of them all, they lived as a separate marque a la Cadillac and Lincoln from 1955 to 1975. Though starting in the early ’70s, Chrysler Corporation started sneaking ‘Chrysler’ onto the cars and into advertising, perhaps to brace loyal customers for the inevitable.
Imperials were always rare, plush, giant cars, but by the early 1970s, they were especially scarce, at least when compared to contemporary Cadillacs and Lincolns. After 1975, the Imperial marque was a done deal (unless you count the bustle-back, rebodied Cordoba or EEK restyled, Fifth Avenue-based 1990-93 model). Perhaps the rarest of the rare was the Fuselage body 1969-73 two-door hardtop. With most likely the biggest quarter panels, ever. They’re just about my favorite Imperial. But I’ve only ever seen one in the metal. This one.
The 1960 Imperial was thoroughly restyled, along with its less prestigious corporate siblings. The 1959’s toothsome front end was replaced in favor of a smoother visage. Overall lines were smoother too, especially on the two-door Southampton and Crown convertible.
Well well ladies and germs, guess what Jason got now! Yep, a mighty 1973 Imperial LeBaron with only 43,000 miles on the clock!
And yes, that’s Imperial, bub! Imperial was a separate make from 1955-1975, But before ’55 and going back to the Thirties, it was the top rung Chrysler. Many, many people never figured out that it was a separate marque for twenty years, even when they were new and sitting in showrooms.
Time for another trip in the Wayback machine to look at the 1981-83 Imperial, courtesy of my friend Jim Smith. He thoughtfully took pictures of brand new luxury cars back when Brougham was still in, the tops were padded and opera lamps were expected!
The 1981 Imperial was Lee Iacocca’s last try at the Continental Mark III formula: Long, low, sleek, with every available convenience, a long hood, a short deck, and Broughamed out to the gills.