30k Mile Survivor: 1957 Imperial Crown Southampton

With Ford and General Motors achieving considerable success with their Lincoln and Cadillac brands, Chrysler saw the benefit in establishing its own prestige marque to compete head-to-head to capture a share of the luxury car market. The Imperial had been the flagship of the Chrysler model range, but the company spun it off as a stand-alone brand in 1955. Our feature car is an Imperial Crown Southampton that rolled off the line in 1957. It presents beautifully, with the seller claiming it is an original survivor that has accumulated a mere 30,000 miles during the past sixty-five years. It is located in Los Angeles, California, and is listed for sale here on eBay. They have set their BIN at $49,000, and ninety-six people are watching the listing.

There’s little doubt that Chrysler established itself as the king of fins during the 1950s, although Cadillac gave the company a run for its money with its 1959 models. However, Chrysler managed to stay one step ahead during that period, with cars that maintained a distinctive company appearance. Our feature car is a three-owner classic that has led a sheltered existence. It presents superbly in Parade Green, with no flaws or defects worth noting. The panels are exceptionally straight for an unrestored vehicle of this vintage, but the best news appears to be its apparent lack of rust problems. No issues are visible in the supplied photos, and the seller indicates it is rust-free. If it has spent its life in its current location, that claim is easy to believe. The chrome and bright trim pieces could be considered relatively restrained compared to many models from the late-1950s, although features like the taillight surrounds look classy and futuristic. The trim is in excellent condition, with no visible damage or corrosion. The glass is flawless, and the whitewall tires are the perfect finishing touch for a car of this caliber.

While the world of aviation focused on the space race during the 1950s, American manufacturers turned their attention to the horsepower race. This Imperial is no exception, with its engine bay housing a 392ci Hemi V8 producing an impressive 325hp. Further reinforcing its luxury leanings, shifting duties fall to a three-speed TorqueFlite transmission, with power steering and power brakes removing the physical effort from the driving experience. Since the company focused more on comfort than outright performance, it is no surprise that this Crown tips the scales at a hefty 4,920lbs. However, its ability to cover the ¼ mile in 17.1 seconds would have caused its original owner no shame. The seller states that the car has a genuine 30,000 miles on the clock. They don’t mention supporting evidence, but the vehicle’s known ownership history suggests they may hold appropriate documentation. The buyer won’t need to spend a dime beyond the purchase price because this classic runs and drives perfectly.

If time is going to catch up with a vehicle of this type and age, it is usually visible when you examine its interior trim and upholstery. Wear, physical damage, and stains are common. However, that isn’t the case with this Imperial. The seats wear Green leather and cloth, and apart from some minor and acceptable stretching on the driver’s side, it looks immaculate. The carpet has no issues, while the two-tone wheel has avoided the cracking that generally plagues cars from this era. Chrysler always seemed to strive to make its interiors stunning, allowing occupants to feel like every trip was a special occasion. This Crown is no exception, with the dash wearing lashings of bright trim and a futuristic appearance. By today’s standards, luxury appointments may seem relatively restrained. However, power windows, a six-way power front seat, and a pushbutton AM radio with a power antenna rated highly in 1957.

The space race and rapid developments in the world of aviation captured the public’s imagination during the 1950s, and these factors may partly explain the vehicle styling of the era. When you examine the appearance of this 1957 Imperial Crown Southampton, it is virtually impossible not to draw comparisons between those fields of endeavor and some of the design features like the enormous fins and taillights. Chrysler’s “forward look” design philosophy gave the world cars that were longer and lower than anything previously seen. This car is a stunning survivor, and while the seller’s price sits at the top end of the market, it is not unprecedented. I don’t think they will have potential buyers beating down their door with a fistful of cash, but I won’t be surprised if one of those watching the listing hits the BIN button. Would you find yourself tempted to beat them to the punch?

Comments

  1. RayT Member

    Adam, I was once allowed to take the controls of the Goodyear Blimp during a flight. I figure that gave me a taste of what it would be like to pilot this beast….

    Being maybe the last person on the planet who needs or wants a car of this mass to get around in, I’ll leave it to those who can make use of all those doors, seats, and that monstrous trunk.

    Which gets me to the point: I purely love this Imperial, and wish I had the wide open spaces to fit it in! I dig it all: the color (inside and out), the chrome, the sweeping lines, the fins…. Especially the fins. The irrational side of me wouldn’t even mind keeping the tank topped off, as I’m sure that 392 has a healthy appetite.

    This is a great find!

    Like 22
  2. GCS Member

    Not my style of car, but love the color and hemi….Hopefully it goes to a safe home.

    Like 5
  3. angliagt angliagt Member

    My Aunt used to drive one of these,but I think that it was
    a lower level model.It was black,& it was HUGE!
    Love the color on this one!

    Like 5
    • Al

      Just looking at the first pic, this is one heavy car.

  4. Rex Kahrs Member

    That interior shot reminds me of the sea of green inside my ’65 New Yorker.

    Like 9
    • Chuck Dickinson

      That interior looks to be turquoise, not green??

      Like 2
      • Rex Kahrs Member

        Green….Turquoise….Blue. Thanks Chuck, I’m already married.

        Like 2
  5. Boatman Member

    Love the C post and back window style.

    Like 5
  6. Will Fox

    A gorgeous `57 Imperial for sure, and yes–very original in it’s overall condition. But please; don’t try to tell me that paint is factory because it isn’t. NO 65 year old factory paint job looks that good. Look at Lauren Becall’s baby blue `57 Imperial featured on Youtube; low-mile and all original, including the paint. You can instantly see the difference.

    Like 4
  7. wuzjeepnowsaab

    Said it before and I’ll say it again…Chrysler owned the luxury interior design of the late 50’s to mid 60’s

    Like 9
    • Chuck Dickinson

      While Chrysler may have “owned the luxury interior design”, their quality did not. Great looking seats, but many of their materials did not hold up near as well as those in GM vehicles.

  8. 19sixty5 Member

    That is one beautiful Imperial, wow! It is a massive car, with likely the most massive air cleaner I have ever seen in a passenger car. Congrats to the owners for keeping this car in such amazing condition.

    Like 5
  9. princeofprussia

    Absolutely STUNNING classic!

    Like 4
    • David

      Stunning indeed! Wish I had won that big lottery and it would def be mine!

      Like 2
  10. Cabob Member

    Love it! This is “stylin”.

    Like 1
  11. Robert White

    Guaranteed that the owner just spent the last two months washing & polishing it. It would take a week to clean this wehicle if you ever got it dirty.

    Bob

    Like 1
  12. John Oliveri

    My dad had a white Coupe, with blue interior, gorgeous car

    Like 1
  13. Chris R. Member

    Omg….I’m drooling looking at this magnificent machine! The owners must have kept this beast in their livingroom to maintain that paint to that level. Absolutely gorgeous!

  14. Mark

    Behold the glory !

    I KNOW.-)

    Like 2
  15. That Guy

    The seller is Charles Phoenix, who you can see in many videos online. He’s huge fun, and knows his vintage American iron as well as anyone out there.

    Like 1

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