Big Beauty: 1964 Imperial

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The seller of this 1964 Imperial four door calls it “beautiful” and I have to agree with him. It’s for sale here on craigslist in Tucson, Arizona.

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I believe this is a Crown Imperial (not the more upscale LeBaron), of which 14,181 were made that year.

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This car is said to have only 88,000 miles, is rust free and drives “like a dream.” Equipped with Chrysler’s 413 cubic inch power plant, it has plenty of power, and will easily keep up with modern traffic. Just don’t expect much in the way of gas mileage.

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The interior is exceptionally clean and shows almost no wear.

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The violet color of this car shows off the lines of the Elwood Engel designed Imperial really nicely. 1964 was the first year that Engel had complete design control over Chrysler cars, and this car’s design shows a clear resemblance to his earlier, similarly beautiful 1961 Lincoln.

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While the seller calls this car a “Chrysler Imperial,” Imperial had been a standalone division of the Chrysler Corporation since 1955 and you will not see Chrysler badging on this car. The rear view makes this car look really wide.

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According to the seller, this Imperial “is 50 years old and like all of us has a few aches and pains. It needs work on a couple gauges and the AC/Heating and radio.” Fixing air conditioning seems to be a common need on survivors from the sixties, and in Arizona, you’d think it would be a necessity.

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I think the $10,000 asking price is not too far off the mark, given the car’s originality and condition, even though it’s a four door, making it less desirable than the convertible and two door versions. But the values of those more desirable models are also higher. I think this seller might be a member of the Imperial Club, as his asking price looks like it might be drawn straight from the club’s price guide. (It’s a great club – I have been a member off and on).

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If you want a great cruising car that will fit your entire family, a dry, rust-free Imperial like this one could be a great choice.

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Comments

  1. Jeff V

    Just beautiful, my dad had a ’62 300H & a ’63 Impala SS283 and the neighbor this one. My life-long car nut run started at age 6 then. I wonder if it had dual 4’s?

  2. dirtyharry

    Chrysler Corporation advised state licensing bureaus that beginning in 1955, the Imperial was to be registered as a separate make. It was an attempt to compete directly with GM’s Cadillac and Ford’s Lincoln distinct luxury-focused marques. Frequently and erroneously referred to as the “Chrysler Imperial”, the cars had no “Chrysler” badging anywhere on them, and were a separate, distinct marque, just as Lincoln and Cadillac were for GM and Ford. So nice to see these old sedans that few seem to care about today. A wonderful highway car. I went cross country with my dad in a 1959 in the 60’s. Sure felt modern at the time.

  3. Fred W.

    Didn’t know it was designed by the early 60’s Lincoln designer, but you can certainly see the similarities in the beltline and slab sides. In the mid to late 60’s, this was the car of choice for TV producers who needed an intimidating ride in their show, such as for the mob boss. It was also the basis for the Green Hornet car.

    • Tim

      The late great Dean Jeffries did the two Black Beauty Green Hornet cars, under extremely tight deadlines, from a pair of barely used 1966 Imperial Crown sedans. To the uninitiated, the two looked the same, but since they were hand-fabbed, there are distinctions. I believe Dean was, in his wonderful modesty, in the top echelon of customizer/painters, and he was always upset that George Barris claimed credit for some of Dean’s work. Anyway, it is quite likely that this ’64, first of the mid-year Imperials, is worth every cent of the asking price. Major differences of the ’64 are the top body moldings, front styling, different trunk lid, and this was the last of the Chrysler pushbutton Torqueflites with the cable-drive case.
      My late Aunt Evelyn was personal secretary to the creator of The Green Hornet, George W. Trendle, Sr. He also created The Lone Ranger and two other characters. Wonderful times.

  4. Mike

    Beautiful old car, nice to see the owner in a few of the pictures, you can tell he has taken pride in keeping this car in good shape. I remember my Mom’s Dad had an Imperial but I can not remember the year of it.
    Again beautiful car well taken care of.

  5. Cody

    Those interior door handles are something else. They look like something you would pull to eject out of a fighter jet. I can guarantee that my 6 year old would not be able to resist “ejecting”, and would promptly fall out of the car upon doing so. That’s the best thing about this generation of cars. Looks and performance were priority one. Safety……not so much. Cool car.

  6. Kevin

    I usually don’t care for early-mid 60’s Chrysler products, even the Imperials. Their styling was never my favorite, but this care is stunning to me. It must be a combo of the color and the condition, because this is a car I’d be proud to park in my garage! $10k seems high for a 4-door normally, but in this case I can see where it would be justified given the condition and rarity of the car. Somebody will love her!

  7. Ed P

    What a beautiful car. The condition of the interior is worth the price of admission alone. The needed mechanical work does not seem to be excessive. I wish I could put this in my garage.

  8. frank

    This is NOT a “Crown Imperial”. A “Crown Imperial” is the specific name for the Ghia built limousines (usually about a dozen or two a year produced). This is an Imperial Crown. The Brand or Make is Imperial, the model name is Crown.

    • David Wilk Member

      Frank, you are right, good catch. I meant to type “Crown model of the Imperial” but poor editing by me as I did not catch the mistake before posting.

  9. David Frank David Member

    What a beautiful car and it’s great to see it’s appreciated. (And I vow here and now to never ever utter “Chrysler” before Imperial again! I stand educated!)

    • Dave Wright

      Imperial was only a stand alone brand from 55 to 66………it was Chrysler Imperial outside of those dates

  10. Eric Dashman

    Great color and the interior is almost immaculate. Hope that the dashpad cover is just to prevent cracking and not to hide it.

  11. AMCSTEVE

    My neighbors had one and they would pile the whole 8 people in this thing with room to spare! Excellent example and well worth the investment. The quality of workmanship and design is impeccable.

  12. Chebby

    Gorgeous.

  13. tje

    Why have they not brought the Imperial back? They could do well.

    • Dave Wright

      The last imperials were on modified K car chassis…….didn’t make a lot of sense to pay a huge premium for a fancy Reliant. As I remember, they were heavily discounted just to get them off the dealers lots. To make a great imperial today, they would have to start with a pickup chassis………………..

  14. Dave Wright

    These cars are a great buy today……..with nice Chargers pushing 100,000 an Imperial gives you vastly superior quality, similar mechanics, incredible ride and comfort for a small fraction of the cost. My 66 Convertible may be done next year, even with a major restoration I should be in it less than 30,000.

  15. Steve

    What an awesome car in every way. Owner looks like a guy I’d like to have beer with. A cool old car and a swell Hawaiian Aloha shirt.

    Funny, I just realized I used “awesome” and “swell” in the same post. At one time swell meant the same thing!

  16. Allen Member

    Of course it’s a mistake to call these “Chrysler Imperials”, like marque and model. It’s not like saying “Cadillac Eldorado”. But it is like saying “General Motors Cadillac”. Imperials were not altogether that well known outside the “car guy” community. To say that you own an Imperial was not enough for most of the cocktail set. They often would say “oh, is that a Cadillac, or a Lincoln?”. No, it was the one made by the Chrysler Corporation, hence “Chrysler Imperial”. The incorrect name turned out to be more accurate.

    Bringing back another marque in these days seems unlikely. Among the “big three”, gone are the DeSoto and Plymouth, gone is the Mercury, and gone are the Pontiac and Oldsmobile. We’re clearly going the other direction.

    Back around 1980, I had a ’60 Imperial Southampton four-door hardtop. ‘ Bought it for $500 and sold it a couple years later for $800. I was delighted with my profit. But beyond the phenomenal 413 that would really snap your neck in that 19-foot car, I most remember the veritable light show that would greet you from the dash at night. ‘ Used to take a beer out with me at night and just sit in the driveway bedazzled by it all. (And that was a lot cheaper than driving it!) ‘ Wish I had that one back!

  17. Roselandpete

    Ever since I was a kid, correctly or not, we always called them Chrysler Imperials.

  18. bruce

    Dang I love that color!

  19. 68 custom

    looks clean and a nice color combo. plenty of power with the 413 under the hood. nice car.

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