Crown Jewel: 1966 Chrysler Imperial Convertible

1966 Chrysler Imperial Convertible

Now this is one classy Mopar! It almost looks Lincoln-esque, doesn’t it? Well, that could be because Chrysler was battling with Lincoln for second place in the American luxury car market. Cadillac was on top, but second wasn’t a bad place to be either. From the looks of this Imperial Crown Convertible, they were putting up a pretty good fight too. This car is part of one of our reader’s large collections and you can get more details here on their website.

Wood Paneling

Put the top down and you’ll feel like you are sailing around inside a luxurious sailboat! The creative use of wood grain and leather help with that sensation, but this thing has more details than I’ve ever seen inside any boat. Chrysler used top notch materials in these cars and they really were amazing. The air conditioning blew cold and the ride was smooth. Well, this one still does all that because it has been restored.

440 V8

That big four hundred and forty cubic inch V8 should have no problem dragging this land yacht around! This was the last of the body on frame luxury cruisers as Chrysler’s competitors had already moved to unibody construction. That made these less popular at the time and many sold at bargain prices. They are still a relative bargains today and the separate frame makes restorations easier. That process has already started here, but it looks like the engine bay could still use some detailing.

Crown Jewel

Checkout that rear! What a great design. I love the big Roman fasces emblem right in the middle with all that chrome folding around it. The bird on the Imperial logo represented power and it was only fitting on such an impressive automobile. Chrysler may have never arrived on top, but they should been very proud of this crown jewel!

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Comments

  1. Kevin

    I never cared for the styling of these cars, or the majority of Chrysler products in the early-mid 60s. I think the Imperials from the late 50s were very good looking cars, but some time during the early- mid 60s Chrysler lost its touch with luxury cars. I know many will disagree but in my opinion, but the styling of these cars just never appealed to me. It doesn’t look “special” enough, I guess.

  2. Hank

    If you’re including GM, I don’t think having a frame had anything to do with their popularity. GM used frames on their luxury cars for many years past this.

    Like 1
  3. Roselandpete

    Love these old Imperials but for $29k, everything should be working.

    Like 1
  4. Mimo

    I always think of My Drysdale on the Beverley Hillbillies when I saw an Imperial.

    Like 1
  5. Mike G

    Really quite a beautiful car. They did this series right in my opinion!

    Like 2
  6. Elliott Member

    Absolutely beautiful car, but wide whitewalls were passe by 1966 (and I LIKE WW’s!). I’d like to see some maybe 3/4″ wide ones. IMO I think they’d look better. :-)

  7. gear head engineer

    I love these, but then I own a slabside Lincoln so that shouldn’t be a surprise. They look similar because both were designed by Elwood Engel. He joined Chrysler shortly after designing the ’61 Continental.

    Nice looking car here, although for the asking price I’d expect the engine compartment to be much nicer.

    – John

    Like 1
  8. Mike G

    I really like these cars. The rear chrome is timeless and sleek. One thing that concerns me is for a re-paint the trunk has minimal shine. Is there pearl in ther or just single stage plain? Agree engine area should be nicer for the price.

  9. DRV

    Chrysler was struggling with the slab side designs in my opinion.
    An uncle had a fully loaded one in black over white and it looked so much better than this one because of colors. $29k if it was gold plated…..

  10. Ed P

    How many of these can still exist? This big Imperial needs a new home and someone to appreciate it.

    Like 3
  11. Chuck

    Nice car; the red top has got to go & install a set of Vogue gold stripe white walls.

    Like 2
    • boxdin

      Yes I see brightly colored top these days and they look out of place to me.

      Like 1
    • M B

      Back then, Vogue tires were usually sold by CADILLAC dealers, as an add-on sale item. GM used USRoyal/Uniroyal and Chrysler used Goodyears, back then, as OEM. To me, the worst things about the car are the white paint, red top, and WideWhitewall tires (.75″ or so was the norm at that point in time). $29K is about “ball park”, but some detailing can make it nicer under the hood.

      The convertible top colors usually mirrored (“Color Keyed”, as they said) the interior color. Don’t recall red being an option, though, usually black or white.

      1966 was the first year for the 440 and last year for the body-on-frame Imperials. 1967 saw them move to a longer wheelbase C-body platform . . . BUT with some design items unique to Imperials that didn’t show up in normal production Chrysler products until the middle 1970s and later. Mechanically, 1966 was probably the best year of that particular platform version.

      • Hector

        You are correct sir. Imperial convertible tops were only available in Formal Black, Persian White and Crystal Blue vinyl in 1966

        Like 1
  12. Edd Jelinek

    My father in law had a ’64 sedan with whale skin seats. Dad went to buy a station wagon but fell in love with the Imperial. Sold it to Mohammad Ali’s manager in the late seventies.

  13. jack Taggart

    I love the big boats and styling of the huge Chrysler lines of this ear especially the imperial they are timeless and gorgous

    Like 1
  14. Dave Wright

    I owned 10 at one time, 1955-1965 and am doing a powder blue 1966 convertible right now. Wonderful world class cars. I belive they are undervalued on the market right now. With a common 66 440 Mopar hotrod selling for over 100K these are a bargain. They are much higher quality than any comperable Mopar and most other cars of there time. I am keeping mine bone stock in every way, the 350HP 440 is adaquate for about anything. I expect to have close to 30K invested by the time it is done next year and I consider it a bargan.

  15. M B

    The late “Uncle” Tom McCahill of “Popular Mechanix” magazine fame (their vehicle road tester) preferred Chrysler Imperials for his cross-country travels. Comfort and their better roadability than other brands of cars (the dynamics of the Torsion Bar/leaf spring suspension was a key factor . . . from my own experiences with our ’66 Chrysler Newport Town Sedan).

    “Motor Trend” magazine did a road test of a ’64 Crown Coupe They have one shot of it with all four wheels off of the ground, in the CA desert. Their caption for that picture was “She flies through the air with the greatest of ease, and doesn’t bottom out when she lands”.

    Great cars. STOUT cars. Beatuiful cars, especially in some colors!

    Like 1
    • Dave Wright

      They are so stout that most demolition derbys banned them.

      • boxdin

        Especially the large body station wagons, they tore up competition literally.

      • J. Crumpler

        True…built like a tank. Our 1966 Belvedere was too. The 727 torqueflite was bulletproof.

  16. Big Andy

    Nice Car a little pricey but I think this compete’s with Cadillac all day long.

    Like 1
  17. wuzjeepnowsaab

    Say what you will, but nobody did luxury interiors like Chrysler in the 50’s and 60’s No.Body.

    • Ed P

      Not to knock Cadillac, but Imperials cost more. That probably worked against Chrysler.

  18. Marty Member

    Love, love, love the gorgeous red interior. The red convertible top…not so much.

    Like 2
  19. Prowler

    Lose the gangster white walls and make it triple black

  20. ken owens

    Anyone know who stocks the red Convt top for this car?
    I have a 66 white Convt and making it stand out more might be something I want to do.
    Thanks,
    Ken

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