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Garage Find: Little Used 1965 Imperial Crown

The Imperial was Chrysler’s weapon in the luxury car segment dominated by Cadillac and Lincoln. While it once carried Chrysler badging, the Imperial was spun off into its own division in 1955. It would continue in this manner until 1975 and reborn again briefly in the 1980s. This 1965 edition looks to be a clean example, but it clearly has spent quite some time stored away in a garage with a lot of other stuff. The seller’s ad unfortunately doesn’t take advantage to showcase this car in terms of photos and description. This Imperial Crown is in Newark, Ohio and available here on craigslist for $8,500. Thanks, Ikey Heyman, for being on the lookout for us again.

Second generation Imperials were made from 1957-66 and the models at each end of this time period looked virtually nothing alike. The Imperial got a serious facelift in 1964, so the 1965 versions would be little changed (as would the 1966’s as well). The Imperial usually was third in the pecking order with Cadillac and Lincoln, a battle that continued throughout this generation. The ’65 Imperials would be the first time in years that the car’s automatic transmission wouldn’t be operated by push buttons. Imperial went with column-shifted transmissions supposedly to distance itself from the rest of Chrysler’s products. 16,422 Imperial Crowns were made for 1965 (all Imperials were Crowns, too, unless they were the limited-edition limousines). Of that, 11,628 were 4-door hardtops like the seller’s car. Thanks, Automotive Mile Posts, for production data.

The seller’s car looks nice from what we can see, we just don’t see much. He’s owned it for a number of years but has seldom taken it out for a spin. It’s been dressed up a bit, with 18-inch Boss rims and tires all around. We assume the white paint and black vinyl top are all good, but we only get one side view of whole the car (and all the stuff piled on top of it). The interior (light blue in color?) looks nice, but we can’t tell if anything has gone amiss over the years. One part of the ad is confusing, however. The seller says it runs good with a 440 cubic inch V-8 under the hood. But as best as we can tell, the 413 was the only engine available in the Imperial in 1965 and the 440 wouldn’t come out until the following year. So, did the seller simply make an error or has the engine been replaced with a newer one?

Hagerty suggests $25,000 is the most you should spend on a ’65 Imperial Crown, with $10,000 being the average. So the seller’s asking price seems to be in the right territory, but the unknowns about the car make it hard to determine whether this is a good car for the money or not. Thanks to Street Muscle Magazine, here’s a photo of what one of these looks like without the garage trappings.


  1. Rex Kahrs Member

    A nice big luxury 4-door like this needs the factory rims with the hubcaps to look right.

    Cars do rust up there in Nerk, Ahia, so the buyer should look it over carefully.

    Like 12
    • Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

      Good one Rex…. you nailed the local pronunciation (I grew up in the area).

      As for the car, I’m with everyone else…. it is interesting but looks to have had shabby care.

      Like 1
      • Rex Kahrs Member

        Hey Bob, you from Licking County? I grew up on the West side of Columbus, then we moved out to Granville when I was about 8. I lived in Newark that first year of college, attending the branch campus of OSU.

      • Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

        Rex, I grew up in southeastern Fairfield County. Though I haven’t lived in Ahia for…. decades, I still consider it home.

  2. K

    I agree with your valuations. My eyes may be playing tricks with me but that looks like a contrasting blue painted top in the garage. The newer wheels make me a little suspicious

    Like 3
  3. Arby

    “Little used?”
    Looks like it was “used” as a garbage dump.

    Like 12
  4. Miguel

    Why would anybody put those stupid looking rims on an Imperial?

    Like 26
  5. Rodney - GSM

    Personally, I would deduct $8,500 from the price for being disrespectful and treating it like a trash dump.

    Like 19
    • Ike Onick

      And not spending 15 minutes to clean the junk off before taking pictures.

      Like 19
  6. cold340t

    ok, the most valuable part of this car to someone with a better 2door model w/auto. Is the shift linkage. It’s a one year only set up. Bet it’s the first thing a potential buyer will look for. Especially, for restoring a convertible instead of this 4dr barge. Also, the 413 if it’s in there.

    Like 1
  7. 1-MAC

    HAd a 64 LeBaron 4 dr. Widest car I ever had. 4 high school kids could sit in the front or backseat. Of course we were thinner then. Tough car really strong. Many wasted in demolition derbies, until they were banned.

    Like 8
  8. Ike Onick

    Bordering on TMI.

    Like 8
  9. Rodney - GSM

    …your go to guy for stirrups.

    Like 12
  10. Dave

    The junk on the car looks staged.

    Like 6
    • Rodney - GSM

      …that’s just sad.

      Like 1
  11. William Shields

    The wheels give me a bit of a Green Hornet vibe.
    I wonder if he had thoughts of turning it into a tribute car?

    Like 2
    • Dave

      Yeah, how come nobody ever talks about building a Green Hornet car? I remember watching the show on TV when I was a kid.

      Like 1
  12. Tim

    Not a one year only linkage 65 and on pryor to 65 push button

  13. CCFisher

    Two comments:

    1) Push-button transmission controls were eliminated for all Chrysler products after 1964, so it wasn’t about distancing Imperial from the other makes.

    2) All 1965 Imperials were not Crowns. There was a LeBaron series, as well.

    Like 6
    • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member


      The reason for the change away from the push button controls was a US Federal Dept of Transportation mandate that required a standardization of controls for the driver.

      As everyone else had the Column shift automatic, Chrysler had to make the change. This is also why such changes as ignition switches had to be to located to the right of the column [until the mandated ignition interlock put it on the column a few years later], plus the head/park/tail light switch had to be at the far left, and the wiper switch would be to the right of the light switch [unless it was on a column stalk].

      Now about the nameplate “Crown” as it applied to Imperials . . .

      Starting in the 1930s, ALL Imperial LWB limousines & 7-passenger sedans were called Crown Imperials. This nomenclature continued with the Ghia limousines thru 1965. However in 1957 Chrysler introduced a new line of Imperials — the Crown series. Included were the 2 & 4 door hardtops and convertibles. The LeBaron series with it’s smaller rear window was introduced in 1960.

      Basically for 1957 to 1965 there were 3 levels of trim/series for Imperials. At the low end was the “Imperial Crown”, and the upper price range was the “leBaron” series sedans, and at the high end was the “Crown Imperial” series cars.

      This was often confusing to buyers, as MOST of these cars didn’t have a trim label that said “Crown”, physically on the car. It was only in the literature where you found LWB “Crown Imperials” and “Imperial Crown” hardtops, sedans & convertibles.

      Like 2
      • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

        I also should mention that in the pre-WW2 era, There were 2 different American luxury vehicles:

        1. The Chrysler Imperial.

        2. The Cadillac standard 7-passenger sedan & limousine vehicles were listed in the Cadillac literature as the “Imperial Limousine” line of cars.

        Like 1
      • Chuck Dickinson

        Bill, you completely left out one Imperial series. The ‘base’ model which was a competitor to the Cadillac Ser. 62 (PW not standard and vinyl seat bolsters instead of leather). In 57 & 58 it was just the ‘Imperial’ series. In 59, the base series became the ‘Imperial Custom’, and that remained the base series through 63. So, it’s base/Custom, Imperial Crown, and Imperial LeBaron. The Crown Imperial limos are really a ‘non-starter’ as their production was only a handful each year.

      • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

        Chuck Dickinson,

        You’re absolutely correct, and I don’t know how I missed the Custom trim level, I guess it’s because we don’t see them much anymore! Thanks for correcting & reminding me. I can’t remember when I last saw a 1957-63 Imperial post sedan.

        Like 1
  14. tony t

    “Uh-HIYA”, actually .. Jonathon Winters-like

    Like 1
  15. Super Glide Member

    I have sent Kato over to recover my car.

    Like 4
  16. k

    America wants to know more about Dr McB’s daughter……………..

    Like 1
    • Mark

      Alice. She is a retired school teacher. I’m 61 she must be 64 or so.

    • Rodney - GSM

      …all you need to know is that the hay was for the daughter and the horse.

    • Rodney - GSM

      …opps. Sorry Alice.

  17. Jim

    The front fender in the picture looks bright white and the rest of that side stone white. It looks like a nice car but you would have to go look at this one for sure before purchase

    Like 1
  18. John Oliveri

    Those ugly wheels, really now, it’s a Imperial, not a Duster, nothing sporty about it

    Like 3
  19. Pete Phillips

    The pile of garbage on the hood really makes me want to buy the car. (NOT!)

  20. bob

    O-HI-O round on both ends and hi in the middle. Anyone having flashbacks of an old girlfriend ?

    Like 1
  21. Roy L

    If it comes with all the crap on the hood I might be a buyer.

  22. Ed

    Am I the only one that’s thinking Green Hornet?

  23. Steve Bush Member

    Could possibly be a nice car for the asking when cleaned up but who knows as the seller provides virtually no useful info or pics. Embarrassed that the clown selling this is a fellow Ohio resident.

    Like 1
    • John Oliveri

      He’s gotta throw those wheels away

      Like 2
    • Ike Onick

      He needs repaired

  24. Bill Hall

    Once upon a time many moons ago my family inherited a 65 Imperial like this one. Unfortunately at the time we destroyed some nice cars and not by intent.
    This was one, my brother and I both did our share. He started by sideswiping a pole and messing up the right side. I finished the job by somehow screwing a timing chain replacement.

    Like 1
  25. Maestro1 Member

    Well done Ikey, and Barn Finders. Yes, indeed, Imperials or any Chrysler in the Sixties is one of my favorite year/models. I have no room.

    Like 2
  26. K. R. V. Member

    I was blessed with wonderful parents, with a Dad who loved big Chrysler’s. Being born in 55, I remember three big two door MOPARS. The first was a 59 New Yorker Dad owned till he traded for a 62 New Yorker, both were red leather interior and black, I have vauge memories of the 59, but I remember big chrome teeth, a mostly clear rectangular steering wheel and FINS! The 62, was the same colors, had the same steering wheel, but. O teeth an fins. But I have great memories of the next one, matter of fact I was with my Dad when he traded what was his first new Lincoln, a 64 Sedan, but it turned out to be a real lemon. So we were back at his friends full service MOPAR dealer trading the Lincoln in on a new 64 Imperial Crown Coupe! That was a beautiful met turquoise with black top an leather interior, that was the softest leather I’ve ever felt! That was an amazing car!

    Like 3
  27. John Oliveri

    My dad had a 57 Crown Coupe, if I recall, I was a little kid in the mid 60s,Trans blew in 66, he got a 65 Catalina to replace it, I love Pontiac my whole life,but that Imperial was something, luxurious beyond being beautiful in white w a blue interior, miss my dad and that car, he passed away suddenly in 67, I was 6, and my fondest memories are him with those cars

    Like 3

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