1963 Imperial Crown Convertible
Chassis no. 9233195906
Although Chrysler Corporation introduced a prestige model, the Imperial, in 1926, its third year of production, it was nearly three decades before it became a marquee in its own right. What had long been the most expensive Chrysler model became, for model year 1955, simply "Imperial," and offered three body styles in two series. This separate branding was a direct challenge to Lincoln and Cadillac.
For the next two years, Imperial was largely a long-wheelbase Chrysler with a bolder grille, the latter appropriated for Chrysler's performance model, the 300. In 1957, however, Imperial was reinvented with a new personality, its gun-sight taillights incorporated into growing tailfins and curved side glass foretelling an industry trend. This year also marked the appearance of a faux spare tire embellishment on the decklid, a device first seen on the Exner-designed and Ghia-built concept cars of 1952-53.
For 1961, Exner conceived another retro feature, free-standing headlamps, ensconced in alcoves beside the grille. Denigrated by some as "difficult to wash," they gave the car a unique cachet, a classic touch never emulated in any other automobile.
This 1963 Imperial Crown convertible, one of 531 built, is, except for the exclusive long-wheelbase limousine, the rarest of the breed. Originally a Florida car, it was purchased from a longtime owner in 1998 and given a complete restoration over the next two years. Paint was by RT's Auto Body in Gridley, California, and the leather interior was done by Higbert in Chico. It is striking in Claret metallic with beige upholstery and door panels. The instrument panel is semi-gloss Jewel Black, with matching carpets and door scuff panels.
Like all 1963 Imperials, it is powered by a 340bhp, single-quad version of Chysler's 413 cubic inch "wedge" engine. The transmission is the bulletproof Torqueflite three-speed automatic; it has been overhauled and the vendor states that car runs and drives well. In addition to power steering, brakes and windows, the car has optional air conditioning. Acquired by the current owner in 2006, it presently shows just over 10,000 miles, believed to be accurate. It comes with service records for the last four years and a collection of technical information and memorabilia.
Following its most recent sale, Hemmings Motor News, in their auction reporting, enthused over the car's superb condition and incredible value. One of the last Imperials with iconic free-standing headlamps, this Imperial Crown convertible makes a clear fashion statement: this is no ordinary Chrysler. As the name implies, it is fit for a king. Sold on a Certificate of Title.
- The mileage on this vehicle is unknown. The 10,000 miles stated is purely the odometer reading which cannot be verified.