Live Auctions

Gold Standard: 1966 Imperial Crown Coupe

Top drawer is how I’d describe this 1966 Imperial Crown Coupe. It is resplendent in its gold finish and off-white vinyl top. This vintage Imperial makes a refined, subtle visual statement that a Cadillac doesn’t, at least to my eyes.  And the fact that it’s a two-door hardtop, as opposed to a four-door sedan or hardtop, just adds to its allure. Bill F. found the Round Lake, Illinois listing for this big Mopar and it’s available, here on Facebook Marketplace for $18,500.

In looking at the images of this Crown Coupe I see much more ’66 Lincoln than I do ’66 Cadillac probably because this vintage Imperial was penned by Elwood Engel, the same designer who did such beautiful work on the ’61 Lincoln Continental. Unfortunately, by ’66 Imperial was putting up only modest production numbers with just 13K  automobiles (13th place) finding first-time owners. Lincoln rang up 54K units (12th place) and Cadillac assembled 196K copies putting them in 11th place – they’re all one behind the other in the standings but a mile, or miles, apart in volume. For a fairer comparison, one would probably have to include some piece of number 10 Chrysler (264K vehicles) in with the Imperial numbers but the decision as to what to include (New Yorker?) and what to exclude (Newport?) makes things subjective and muddy. One thing for certain is that the Crown Coupe is not that common a piece with less than 2,400 built in ’66.

The seller describes this Imperial by stating, “Body is incredibly straight and has only a few door dings (pictured). Chrome and trim are nearly perfect and shine like new“. He further states that it’s a rust-free car and the gold (Spice Gold maybe?) finish is original. It really makes for a magnificent presentation!

OK, one big demerit for no image of the 350-gross HP, 440 CI V8 engine. New for ’66, it certainly warrants at least a quick glimpse. The mileage recording is 80K miles but that’s not an inordinate amount for an RB engine that has been maintained and not abused. The seller does state, “Engine is clean, runs great, and does not leak or burn oil“. He also indicates that the carburetor has been swapped for an Edelbrock component but the original is included in the sale. A TorqueFlite three-speed automatic transmission was the only game in town.

The interior of this big coupe is a true standout and the listing suggests, “Interior is in amazing condition and nearly flawless. Leather seats look and feel like new“. Chrome trim tastefully adorns the front split bench seat and adds perfect highlights to the instrument panel and dash. Note the unique lever-style door handles and hinged door armrest covers. This interior truly needs nothing!

OK, I’m sold! The fact that it’s not a Cadillac or a Lincoln makes it that much more attractive and as I have opined before, you won’t see a return of large two-door hardtops like this again. If you’ve ever fancied such a car, here you go, it has to be one of the best. What’s not to like?

Comments

  1. Cadmanls Member

    Back in the day these were finally banned from the Demolition Derbys. They wouldn’t bend enough to die and stop moving, also the Chrysler big block wouldn’t fail to restart. Seriously this one should be maintained and enjoyed as is, even with that floor mounted tape deck.

    Like 20
    • Will Fox

      I remember those days! In my area about `71-`72 they banned `64-`66 Imperials for that reason. A testimonial to how they were built!

      Like 5
    • DON

      They still run them in the derbies today in the modified divisions where the cars are completely welded and pre bent , as opposed to the stock derby classes . And yes, even against other highly modified cars, they still can hold their own

  2. Rex Kahrs Member

    This Imperial is exactly the car I’m aspiring to own some day. But my ’65 New Yorker is pretty close.

    Like 26
  3. 370zpp 370zpp Member

    Even nicer than my father’s white 66 4 door.

    Like 4
  4. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    Very, very nice. That lead photo clearly shows the Elwood Engle slab-sided influence, at least from the C-pillar forward. I agree, that it is not a Cadillac or Lincoln is a bonus; certainly little chance of seeing yourself at Cars & Coffee.

    Like 15
  5. Greg B Greg B Member

    That’s a beauty!

    Like 8
    • Stan

      Sure is, great stance and lines.

      Like 2
  6. Dusty Rider

    My dad had that same color ’66 Newport two door.

    Like 2
  7. That AMC Guy

    Just the thing for Mr. Drysdale to drive while visiting the Clampetts! Was this the last U.S. car to still sport a 1950s-style wraparound windshield?

    Like 13
    • Howard A Member

      Ha! Mr. Who? Dates you, my friend. Milburn Drysdale, in case some lived under a rock, or born after 1985, was the Clampetts banker when they moved to L.A. in the incredibly popular TV series, The Beverly Hillbillies,1962-1971,( I believe they want to be called Mountain Williams now) and he drove Imperials. Fact is, Chrysler supplied all the cars, remember Miss Hathaways red Dodge convertibles? While they featured Drysdales Imperials heavily in the early shows, they were shown less and less, and the last one was a 1971.

      Like 13
      • 370zpp 370zpp Member

        Pretty sure the actual “Clampettmobile”, usually driven by “double-naught spy” Jethro was not a Chrysler, but I could be wrong.

        Like 1
      • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

        370zpp,

        Not sure what you refer to as the Clampettemobile, but there is a guy who built a similar car to the original hillbilly truck that brought the Clampetts to California, he used a ’29 Ford Model A as a start of the project. He calls it the Clampette Mobile [2 words].

        The actual vehicle seen in the beginning credits of the TV show was a 1921 Oldsmobile model 43-A touring car that was cut down into a truck, it was created by George Barris. Another Beverly hillbillies vehicle was Jethro’s Hot Rod. Built by Barris, it was based on a 1925 Oldsmobile, with a modern Olds 442 drive train. The original 1921 Olds truck is in the Ralph Foster Museum near Branson, Miss.

        Like 4
      • Howard A Member

        Good catch, pal, it’s why one has to be so careful on the innernet[sic] today, someone bound to call you out, and that’s okay, if done cordially.
        To Bill, who I must say, am glad to have you aboard, btw, he’s another guy that forgot more than I know, but I said Chrysler provided the cars, obviously EXCEPT Jethros truck, which I always heard was a REO,,an old truck with a 442 drivetrain, Barris was the undisputed KING!!!

        Like 2
    • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

      That AMC Guy,

      Yes, you are correct. This was the last year for a different body compared to the Chrysler line. In 1967 the Imperial shared the same basic body with the other Chryslers.

      The 1964-66 Imperials are one of my all-time favorite 1960s US luxury cars, and back when they were simply “older used cars”, I could pick them up as cheap as $100 for really nice cars, especially after the first gas crisis. I’ve had several Crown Coupes, LeBaron sedans, a couple of convertibles, and even a Ghia limousine. Wonderful highway cars, and nothing in the way of a car-based vehicle comes close to towing a trailer or even flat-towing another big American car at highway speeds.

      Like 4
  8. Mitch

    Sweet. Except the trunk portion who is always too long on this
    cars. A shorter rear shows a more sporty figure or for this one,
    “an Imperial with an attitude”. ‘Grand tourer’ a.e.

    Lack in construction knowledge made this lengthened rear ends,
    the gas tank mounted above the rear axle, deleted rear subframe
    and the result is a more spacious trunk. This flat trunks arent
    very appreciable nor very useful. It had made them more successful.

    That’s a car and coffee cruiser as you say. Sweet machine.

  9. Paterson Guy

    Beautiful and price right; need a bigger garage!

    Like 1
  10. John E. Klintz

    As many of you have noted these were really well-made cars and definitely drove better than either the Cadillac or Lincoln due to superior engineering. By 1966 the Lincoln was really just a Grand Marquis with different sheet metal and interior. Nothing like this will ever be built again; truly sad IMO. Like your New Yorker as well, Rex!

    Like 1
  11. Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

    John E. Klintz,

    I’m pretty sure the Grand Marquis was still built on the full size Ford body. However the Lincolns, starting in 1957, were built on the same Wixom assembly line as the T-bird, just a longer wheelbase and 2 more doors. This commonality was one of the reasons why later in life the T-bird got a 4-door version, and in 1966 Lincoln finally had it’s own Continental 2-door hardtop.

    The only other product built at the Wixom plant were the original GT-40 and the later versions in the 2000s.

    Like 3
    • Jim ODonnell Staff

      However the Lincolns, starting in 1957, were built on the same Wixom assembly line as the T-bird, just a longer wheelbase and 2 more doors. This commonality was one of the reasons why later in life the T-bird got a 4-door version, and in 1966 Lincoln finally had its own Continental 2-door hardtop”

      I did not know that (and probably should have).

      Thx!

      JO.

    • John Klintz

      You are right, Bill, through 1965. In 1966 they went to the body-on-frame platform used by Mercury. The T-Bird went to it (Torino) in 1967. I worked for afore back in the late ‘70’s and we of course had some discussions regarding these topics.

      • John Klintz

        Worked for FORD! Blasted auto-confuse!

      • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

        John, Does that mean they started using the same full-size platform at the Wixom plant too? I worked for a Ford dealership in the 1970s and went to the factory service courses on both the T-bird & Lincoln convertible tops, as well as the major electrical system courses for both cars, and no one mentioned any changes in the assembly lines. Not saying you’re wrong, just never heard of the change.

        Like 2
  12. George Birth

    Comparing this one to the 55 Chevy wagon this one wins hands down

    Like 2
  13. John E. Klintz

    For Bill: yes, they used the 123″ WB Mercury frame there as well, and if memory serves eventually, they built some of the Grand Marquis there. Build of the unibody Lincoln with the “suicide” doors ended with the 1965 models. As I mentioned earlier the T-Bird moved to the Torino/Fairlane frame with the 1967 models, which IMO made it less exclusive and luxurious. That did allow them to redesign it, however, in 1977 and those ‘Birds were the best sellers ever ’77 through ’79.

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