Chrysler Imperial Crown Convertible
In 1924, Walter Chrysler stunned the American public with his Model B-70, a medium-priced six-cylinder car with superb engineering and forward-looking features like hydraulic brakes. Just two years later, he managed another coup, introducing a prestige model, the E-80 Imperial. Thereafter, Imperials would be the mightiest Chryslers, dreadnaughts of the Classic Era right through to 1954.
Then a major marketing change took place. What had long been the most expensive Chrysler model became, for model year 1955, simply “Imperial,” offering three body styles in two series. This separate badging was a direct challenge to Lincoln and Cadillac. For the next two years, Imperial was basically a long-wheelbase Chrysler with a bolder grille, the latter appropriated for Chrysler’s performance model, the 300.
In 1957, however, Imperial was given a completely new personality, its gun-sight tail lamps incorporated into growing tailfins and curved side glass foretelling an industry trend. This year also marked the appearance of a faux spare tyre embellishment on the decklid, a device first seen on the Virgil Exner-designed and Ghia-built concept cars of 1952-53.
For 1961, Exner trotted out another retro feature, free-standing headlamps ensconced in alcoves beside the grille. They gave the car a unique cachet, a classic touch never emulated in any other automobile. The gun-sight tail lamps were retained but lowered into the vee-shaped trailing edge of the fins.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in July of 2010 at the Shotwell Gustafson Pavilion at Meadow Brook Hall, Rochester, Michigan and in October of 2010 at the Battersea Evolution, London.
350 bhp, 413.2 cu. in. OHV V-8 engine, three-speed TorqueFlite automatic gearbox, torsion bar independent front suspension, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 129"
Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Benson Chiu