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Colossal Coupe: 1981 Chrysler Imperial

Despite the fact this is now the second time in recent history I’ve covered a “Malaise-era” Chrysler Imperial, I promise I have no particular affinity towards these vehicles. However, there’s no denying that these large Chryslers have a strong sense of character, especially this white-on-red 1981 Chrysler Imperial that Barn Finds reader Pat L. found here on Craigslist.

Even though it wears California plates, this Imperial is available in Titusville, Florida with a clean title. Unfortunately, the advertisement doesn’t provide a ton of information on the vehicle or its history, but it seems like a well-preserved specimen.

The white exterior paint shines luminously, and it doesn’t seem like there are any noteworthy flaws present. Additionally, the seller claims that this Imperial is free from any rust issues.

Inside the cabin, you’ll find an interior that combines red elements with elegant white leather seats. Because this vehicle has spent time in California and Florida, it’s not surprising that it has a functioning air conditioning system that blows cold air. A peak under that dash cover would be nice, just to make sure there aren’t any cracks.

This Imperial uses a 318 cu.-in. V8 engine that received a two-barrel carburetor conversion in 2009. The engine pairs to an automatic transmission to drive the rear wheels, and the drivetrain has 66,500 miles on it. Last but not least, the seller claims that this Imperial runs and drives well.

The seller is asking $6,900 for this Imperial. Do you think you could see yourself cruising around in this large Chrysler coupe?


  1. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Not sure about the rest of the gang here, but it sure is nice to see a clean classic come through here at what seems to be a fair price. No need to swap vins, Just turn the key and cruise!

    Like 30
  2. Bakyrdhero

    I agree leiniedude! I could see myself cruising in this beauty. Reasonably priced, carb converted, and beautifully styled. I would maybe try to source a set of factory aluminum rims though. Nice find!

    Like 13
  3. Rex Kahrs Rex Kahrs Member

    I could absolutely see myself cruising in this car…for 5 grand.

    Like 7
  4. CCFisher

    Most of these were converted to carb intake long before 2009. Too bad the original air cleaner housing was ditched along with the EFI.

    Still, nice car. Once and for all, is it “Chrysler Imperial” or just “Imperial”?

    Like 3
    • grant

      Depends on when it was built. Between 1955 and 1975, Imperial was Chrysler’s luxury brand. Before and after, it was a Chrysler model.

      Like 3
      • CCFisher

        Are you sure? Starting in 1971, Imperials were badged “Imperial by Chrysler” and were shown in the Chrysler Brochure as “Chrysler Imperial.” Also, the 1981 EPA Fuel Economy Guide lists Imperial as a separate make.

        Like 1
      • Bill W

        Yes, the 1981 to 1983 Imperials were just “Imperial”. The second digit in the VIN was for the Car Make –
        B – Dodge
        C – Chrysler
        E – Eagle
        P – Plymouth
        A – Imperial

        The 5th digit of the VIN was for the Car Line, which for Imperial was “Y”.

        I owned a 1983 Imperial, and its VIN was – 2A3BY62N*DR******

        The writers of the various Imperial publications were not consistent. Undoubtedly due to management indecision.
        Couldn’t make up their minds as to what they had.

        Like 0
    • Jim

      I had a 1981 Cordoba with a 318 and the combustion computer. It was a beautiful car and a sweet ride. It just stopped starting one day at about 40K. The dealer fixed it twice to no avail. I even had a jet mechanic work on her. Sold it for 2k and bought a Cadillac. No problems after that:-)

      Like 2
  5. Will Fox

    Now THIS I myself would jump on for a couple reasons: First, it’s a solid example of these last unique Imperials. Second, you NEVER see white ones; a shade that always makes a car look larger than it is. Then there’s the white leather interior. One trim automakers gave up on a LONG time ago that I wish would come back; it’s luxurious and when clean can really compliment a car. Then there’s the 318 2bbl. conversion–no early fuel injection problems these were known for!! To me, there’s more going for this than against it. And $6900 doesn’t sound too bad considering what this is. Just try to find another one like this–the `83 Sinatra Edition is about as close as you’d get, and I hate those.

    Like 5
  6. Kafka Esquire

    The asking price is higher than Haggerty #2 Excellent…

    …and it has a dash pad, a less-than-excellent driver’s seat, and a dirty engine bay with what appears to be rust.

    Just saying.

    Like 2
  7. NovaTom

    Always thought the license plate in the middle of the trunk lid was a styling swing and a miss.

    Like 1
  8. Raymond Smith

    Someone better do something quick with that unfiltered valve cover breather on the right cylinder bank. Factory had a line from it routed to the air cleaner to breathe from the clean side of the air filter. Drive this in a dusty environment and you will toast the engine big time.

    Like 1
  9. Husky

    A car that beggs for a engine upgrade, what about a 5,7 liter Gen 3 Hemi with some 383 Hp?

    Like 1
  10. Del

    Well first wright up says car is large.

    These are not large only mid size.

    2 bbl conversion is good but I would have gone TBI if there is a kit.

    Values of these are all over the place. I would want to test drive first

    Like 1
  11. Russell Ashley

    I have always wanted one of these Imperials but never got one. If I had room for another car I would be interested in this one. Chrysler provided a kit for these to change to carb from FI due to problems with the early FI system. It wasn’t long after this that many, if not most Chrysler vehicles had FI. I always wondered why they couldn’t just fix these instead of converting them.

    Like 0
  12. Leslie Martin Member

    My only question is whether or not this used the same “Fine Corinthian Leather” that the Cordoba had.

    Like 1
    • NovaTom

      Mr. Montalbon will have to get back to you later on that.

      Like 1
  13. Georgr Mattar

    Beautiful. Good they ditched the EFI. Remember Lean Burn? Almost as bad. Yes, I agree. Interior colors today boring, boring and more boring. Love white interior but oh so hard to keep clean. No room in my garage.

    Like 0
  14. Messenger Johnson

    Hello fellow classic owner. I too live in Titusville Florida. I have a 48 Plymouth and an 86 Fleetwood. Wud love to meet with you soon.

    Like 0
  15. glenn

    I have owned seven 81-83 Imperials since 1988 and three were injected as is my current 81 Frank Sinatra with one year only sun roof option. Making it one of approximately 50 produced! There was no Frank addition in 83. Yes I agree on the license plate location. I went so far on my black 81 as to fill the hole, install a Imperial crest in its place and move the plate down to the bumper, Much cleaner and with full length taillights, made by covering the back up lights with red taillight repair tape, leaving a small rectangle for the back ups, I had a could have been 84 Imperial! Sadly its long gone down the road!

    Like 0
  16. PRA4SNW

    Say it ain’t so: A Craigslist ad with the maximum amount of good-quality pictures posted AND a link to many others.

    This thing will sell!

    Like 1

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