1 Of 2: 1963 Crown Imperial Ghia Limousine

Sometimes claims of rarity for certain cars don’t stand up to close scrutiny, but the claims about this Crown Imperial do, and that makes it a very rare car indeed. Ownership of one of these limousines was the exclusive domain of royalty, heads-of-state, and the very wealthy. If you would like to become a member of that club, you will find this Crown Imperial listed for sale here on eBay. It is located in Westminster, Colorado, and is being offered for sale with a clear title. It appears that there are a few people who want to join the club, because after bidding opened at $100, a total of 7 bidders have pushed the bidding to $50,101, and the reserve has not been met.

Unlike today’s stretched limousines where the body is cut in half and a new section is then added. The Crown Imperial Ghia Limousine possesses a significant number of handmade panels, and none of these were pressed from molds. The panels were made by the craftsmen at the Ghia works in Turin. The top was handmade, the original doors were extended and enlarged, and the frame was cut and extended by 20.5 inches. The welding work for the frame was so precise and perfect that it is difficult to locate the welds, even with a close inspection. Once the bodywork was completed, the workers then spent 17 hours precision aligning the doors and fenders in order to achieve uniform 1/6″ panel gaps. The whole body was then coated with 165lbs of solder, given a bath in dilute acid to remove any contaminants, and then given a coat of primer, and a guide coat of black paint to help identify any minor imperfections. Once satisfied with the panel quality, the car received several coats of lacquer, with the paint polished between each coat. The final step was to coat the car with a sepia and water mix to harden the finish to a mirror shine. The cars were then fitted with a landau-style top, not in vinyl, but in leather. As for the owner’s claims regarding exclusivity? I can confirm from research that over the entire production run of the car from 1957 to 1965, a total of 132 cars were produced. In the 1963 model year, only 13 cars were built, and of these 13 cars, only 2 cars were built with the oval-shaped rear window and “blind” quarter window.

While this vehicle looks good, the owner states that it is not perfect. He believes that the lower half of the car has undergone a restoration at some stage, but he believes that this could be finished better to return the car completely to its original state. The trunk lid that is fitted to the car is also incorrect, so he is including a correct replacement lid with the car. The owner is also including a number of parts with the car to ensure that it can remain pristine well into the future. While the chrome and trim on the car are in good condition, he is including a fair selection of NOS trim pieces with the car, along with a set of 8 reproduction side glasses for the car. Also included in the sale is a rust-free 1963 parts car.

The driver’s compartment is traditional Crown Imperial territory, albeit slightly more cramped than in the original car. The seat is upholstered in leather, and this section of the car appears to be in pretty reasonable condition. I did notice a crack in the dash pad, so it looks like you will be raiding the parts car for the replacement. This part of the car is not going to hold any real surprises for the new owner, as it is the only part of the car that didn’t receive any real upgrades from standard.

As with most limousines, it is in the rear that all of the magic happened. All of the additional length welded into the car was devoted to the rear passenger area. Every upholstered surface is covered in leather, which was supplied to Ghia by Chrysler. Those timber trims that you see in there aren’t veneers but are solid pieces of hand-crafted walnut. The rear compartment also gets its own separate heating and air conditioning unit, and there are two jump-seats for further passenger accommodation. I have to say that this section of the Limousine does look to be in really good condition, and doesn’t appear to require any restoration work.

Powering the Limousine is the standard Crown Imperial 413ci V8 engine and automatic transmission. This combination will provide adequate, although not startling, performance. The modifications to the Crown Imperial push the curb weight well past 6,000lbs, so performance is never going to be a focus for this car. The owner has performed a significant amount of maintenance and refurbishment on the mechanical components of the car, including rebuilding the suspension, replacing the exhaust with a genuine exhaust for the car, rebuilding or servicing the engine, transmission, and rear end, and getting both air conditioning systems to blow cold.

This is quite a car, and ownership of it will place someone in pretty exclusive company. The car appears to be solid and could be used as it is. The new owner may also choose to undertake a full restoration of the car in a bid to return it to the standard that it was when new. When these were new, they cost almost exactly twice as much as the equivalent Cadillac Limousine, and that was the price to pay for exclusivity. This one might need some restoration work, but what do you think that it will sell for?

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Comments

  1. Shaun Dymond

    Utterly fabulous in every way. That luxury liner is bigger than my home! A patriotic choice over the Grosser/Pullman Mercedes Benz.

    29
  2. Jay Champigny

    So a baller shows up at an event in his Roller,or Benz limo .He spots the guy getting out of this beauty,and immediately orders his driver to drop him at the next block and walks back-BOOM !
    Unbelievable presence here.

    21
  3. mainlymuscle

    So,a baller shows up at the big event in his Benz or Roller limo,and spots the guy getting out of this.He immediately orders his driver to drop him at the next block,so he can walk back-BOOM !
    Unbelievable presence !

    6
  4. Falstaff TR

    Check out the other sleds this cat has on eBay. He’s got the market cornered on Imperial limos

    14
    • jdjonesdr

      Ya gotta wonder how a guy can collect so many of these cars over the years. A pretty amazing collection.

      9
    • DayDreamBeliever Member

      Just—-WOW. The black ’58 is an incredible example!

      I was thinking that the valet crew at a high-end establishment would probably go rock-paper-scissors to see who got to motor this across the lot. Likely that they see many expensive cars, but something like this has that extra margin of COOL.

      7
  5. mlm

    This baby will turn some heads and it is sweet!

    2
  6. 68custom

    Beautiful limo! I remember the first time i saw an imperial with its iconic headlights and beautiful curves. I was blown away! So nice!!

    2
    • Tony, Australia.

      This makes my 62 Imperial 2 door hardtop look like a Mini Minor as far as size goes, and I thought mine was ‘BIG’, geez it’d take a day to dry it with a chamois after washing it, there’s so much sheet metal. I think it could have done with the ‘stand alone’ bullet style tail lamps the 62 had on top of the fins.

      3
  7. Nick

    WOW! What a car! They don’t make ’em like that anymore!!!

    8
  8. D Phillip Chndler

    When Jacqueline Kennedy was First Lady, her “official” government limousine was an earlier version (late fifties?) of the Ghia limousine. You can see pictures of it in the motorcade for JFK’s funeral procession.

    This example is truly a beautiful car and deserves a complete restoration.

    6
  9. Coventrycat

    Back when you didn’t have to stretch a car an additional 25 feet to have a presence. Love it.

    13
  10. Juan Manuel Rotulo

    Man, what a statement of a car. I’d drive that anywhere (anywhere with ample parking).

    6
  11. Sam61

    Fantastic limo…made me think of the one in Godfather

    2
  12. grant

    View limit? Barnfinds is a pay site now? That’s disappointing.

    16
    • DayDreamBeliever Member

      And, I noted that too, before I signed in to my (newly acquired) membership name…

      FWIW Barn Finds Big Shots: I perused the sight for many years before plunking down the cash to become a member. And I never got a message that I had reached some kind of browsing or commenting limit. That would likely have put me off enough that I’d not have stuck around long enough to plunk down the cash to become a member. As I said, FWIW.

      6
    • SumtingWong

      @grant. Yeah,same thing happened to me yesterday. Kinda holding you up ?

  13. Mountainwoodie

    Man an oh man theres not much I want but this might be one of those times. I think I first saw one of these associated with Gov. Edmund “Pat” Brown of California….unless my memory fails me……a black one has occupied a niche in my memory as long as I can remember. What a Car!

    1
  14. cyclemikey

    Wow. THAT, my friends, is what’s known as ‘presence’.

    4
  15. Bob Member

    The seller said “Ghia Limousines will someday be the next Dusenberg for collectability.”
    I find that hard to believe. Few people ever heard of these, and few people have any interest in a limo. (personally, I love this car) So, I really don’t think it will ever be as collectible as a Dusenberg.

    2
  16. Del

    At first I thought thats a ridiculous price but after reading about it. Ok

    This guy has an amazing knowledge of Ghias. 😎

    6
  17. Thomas

    Truly a gem to add to a classic collection, my thoughts on what this will sell for is between 75-100k.

    1
  18. Dave Rhodes

    very nice …very rare but that front end is some kind of ugly

    1
    • Tony, Australia.

      Dave, the front end isn’t ugly, think of all the other brands of the 60’s, same old same old, (yawn), these are ‘DIFFERENT’, it’s the sole reason I bought my ’62 Imperial, it stood apart from the crowd and didn’t blend in, it really gets the ‘wow’ comments now and the photographers and movie guys can’t get enough of it, solely because it’s unique. It’s a matter of taste you either like it or you don’t, no ‘biggy’, I’ve got the same trunk lid as well.

      2
  19. Clipper

    That extra fold out bench seat is a fun bit of kit.

    This car has just the right amount of charisma, and gravitas. Once ounce more and it’d be “bat-mobile kitsch.” Less would be…less(TM).

    But it also needs to be…no, desperately bleeds to be…BLACK. Yeah, it’s a cliche — but that would take it over the top and to the moon for me. It probably doesn’t help that I’m finally catching up on episodes of The Sopranos…and that once I was the lucky steward of a ’61 Continental hardtop.

    2
    • Tony, Australia.

      Clipper, if it was BLACK it would look like a funeral car, NAH, this color sets it apart from all the other ‘black limos’, it’s ah, shall we say ‘elegant’ !

      3
      • Clipper

        I can see a creamy white, too. Dream Cloud Motors. Bet you can’t even tell the car is in motion, it’s so smooth and heavy…

  20. Danl Scully

    The 65 in the bunch for sale is the best looking to me. Buick in 62 contracted with the Flxible corporation to build 2 Limos on the 225 platform. They both survive one on the east coast and this one on the west coast. The Buick to me has similar lines as the 65 Ghia Limo.

    7
    • Derek

      My late friend Paul Nix used to own this 62 Buick Limo. I borrowed it on several occasions and it drove like a dream.

      5
  21. Karguy James

    We had the other oval window version at a shop I worked at in the late 70’s and I got to drive it and sit in the back. It was all black and was owned by some sultan or other royalty and had a light up crown on the roof which would be lit if the member of the royal family was inside. I can’t imagine anyone doing that today and advertising they were in their limo. VERY cool car with tons of road presence.

    6
    • Steven Ligac

      Very Cool, Carguy!

  22. John m leyshon

    Very nice exclusive !
    Disappointed Barn Finds is apparently not sustainable per the powers that be. Daily limit now to view. $30 a month to become a member. Fun while it lasted !

    4
    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

      @John m leyshon – Where did you get $30 per month? $2.50 x 4 weeks = $10. Why not just become a member if you enjoy the site? Surely you waste more on things that provide less entrainment than Barn Finds!

      1
  23. RJK

    @75,000 now. Reserve still not met.

    I like that 65!

    2
    • DayDreamBeliever Member

      Can you say: Green Hornet ???

  24. Gay Car Nut

    Fabulous car! This is probably the rarest of the rare for Imperials.

  25. Derek

    This Imperial is gorgeous. Love everything about it.

    1
  26. bob

    The JFK{jackiie} ghia was actually leased by the federal government for her and when these cars hit the docks in NY city many weeks were spent making the cars deliverable, the Italian craftsmanship was so poor.You ordered one through the president of Chrysler and disposed of the same way.I had the 1965 ghia formerly owned by the slain Saudi Arabian king

    2
    • Steven Ligac

      Wow,Bob. What a great story!

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