Cheap Hemi: 1952 Chrysler Imperial

Brian BirknerBy Brian Birkner

It is not all that often that you find a solid, ready to drive classic, with a Hemi for cheap. This ’52 Imperial looks clean enough and has received some recent maintenance. The seller claims you can drive it anywhere and that it runs like new. For just $2,500 you can hit this streets in this sweet Hemi powered Mopar. Check it out here on craigslist out of Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Thanks to reader Peter Rettig for this great submission!

Beneath the hood is a 331 Hemi V8 mated to a fluid torque drive automatic transmission. Perhaps not the prettiest engine, this Hemi apparently runs very well and is in good health. A new dual exhaust has been fitted, likely making the 331 a little throatier. A new battery and rebuilt generator have been fitted as well making sure all charging issues have been resolved.

There are no photos of the interior, but hopefully the interior shares a similar patina to the rest of the car. Mostly straight with a few blemishes, this Mopar looks like a great deal for the $2,500 asking price. There are a few small areas of surface rust present, and there is a small area of rust around the driver rear wheel arch. Beyond those concerns, there are a few minor dents and dings, but overall this Chrysler looks very nice. The chrome isn’t too shabby either, but a few chrome pieces could use some elbow grease to really make the car shine. Packing a Hemi, a cheap, price, and ready to drive “anywhere” would you pick up this $2,500 Mopar?


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  1. Howard A Member

    Man, what a tank. There’s your 5 ( or 10) mph bumpers for ya’. What a neat find, but again, crummy ad. ( I know, it is CL) These had such a nice dash.
    Keeping in mind, just because it’s a hemi, you won’t be putting down any impressive times at the track, they were pretty much on par with any other V8 at the time. This was one heavy car. I’ll bet it STILL floats down the road.

    • Gasser Mike

      Very nice well ornamented dash for that era

    • Michael

      And thanks to Chrysler Chairman, K.T. Keller, you can wear your top hat while driving, pardon me, floating down the road. All driving decisions must be made at least one block in advance too.

  2. rustylink

    Get yourself a 47 Lincoln, a Alfa 6C and this one and you can tour the country with the cars of The Godfather…

  3. flmikey

    I used to think of 4 door cars as parts cars for 2 doors, but this car is a keeper…very nice find….

    • blasphemy

      Funny: I used to think the 2 doors were good donors for the 4 doors!

  4. stumptowngeo

    What a steal! If this was in the NW instead of NE, i would be on my way to it.
    It almost seems like to good of a deal. The old saying “what sounds to go to be true, usually is” keeps coming to mind. It does kinda make me wonder why they are giving it up so cheap.
    Beautiful cruiser if you can afford to feed it. I certainly would when i could.
    The more i look, the wetter my desk is getting. So i will let it go now, and clean up my desk.

  5. John M.

    The gangster white walls look right at home on the old Imperial.

  6. doug6423

    Sounds more than fair for $2500, but I would like a shot of the interior.

  7. Ben T. Spanner

    This may be fluid drive or may be the semi-automatic called gyromatic in Dodges. I have driven comtemporary Mopars with Hemi’s and semi-automatics. Those transmissions really suck up the power. I often wondered, in my mis-spent youth, if a later Torqueflight would be a somewhat easy conversion.

  8. Sam

    I wish I had my old registration to compare. VINs.

    I had this same car between 1977 and 1981. Bought for $500 and sold for $900. Dark green, mohair interior, wide whites from Sears. My big expenses were tires and a 20 foot paint job.

    The suspension must be good on this one…stance looks even. The engine/trans are very heavy…front suspension on mine was pretty bad.

    You could dump the clutch on the “slush o matic” and squeal the tires.

    Amazing that the tube radio and speaker chassis work in this one.

    Great memories…..

  9. Al

    I kind of like this stogy old beast. An elderly (then) family friend had the real cheap version of this (a Dodge, bought new) and he drove it everywhere (ie to Alaska, Florida, California as well as Newfoundland in Canada). He finally stopped driving at age 97 in 2002 and sold it for $25.00. I think it had something like almost 1 million miles.


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