Low Mileage Luxury Locomotive: 1973 Imperial

You cannot explain the seventies.  They had to be lived.  People were so much more easygoing.  24 hour news wasn’t a thing when you had to put aluminum foil on your TV antenna to get a station.  Children went outside.  Avocado Green and Chocolate Brown were popular colors.  For everything.  Topping it all, American auto companies sold enormous luxury automobiles like this 1973 Imperial during an energy crisis.  To be fair, who knew that gas lines would become a thing?  Anyway, this locomotive sized luxury barge is currently for sale on eBay in a rather active auction currently floating around $7,100.  If you win this low mileage leviathan, plan on leaving its current home in Romeo, Michigan with lots of cash to feed it on the trip home.

While there hasn’t been a new Imperial in showrooms since 1993, Chrysler’s luxury brand was in its heyday in the sixties and seventies.  Back then, the size of your vehicle was usually tied to the amount of prestige you had in the community.  People who owned large luxury cars were often the big wigs of a community, such as politicians, owners of large businesses, and, stereotypically, bankers.  To own a Lincoln, Cadillac, or Imperial meant that you had arrived and were a person of substance in your community.  Or so everyone thought.

While the Energy Crisis caught Detroit unaware in a similar fashion to the comet ruining the day for dinosaurs, it took American automakers a long time to turn the ship around.  This rise in price and decline in availability of gasoline gave the Japanese automakers a substantial foothold in the American market that might have otherwise been minimal at best.  As the market corrected for the situation, cars like this enormous Imperial languished on car lots while the Toyota and Datsun dealers were selling cars over sticker price.

This whole turn of events is tragic because Detroit was punching out some really comfortable vehicles.  One long trip in a luxury car from the early seventies will spoil for you all other forms of transportation.  The experience, for those of you who have never indulged, is like floating along on a La Z Boy chair atop a highway of marshmallow cream.  As long as the air conditioning is keeping the interior fit for storing ice cream and the gas stations are close enough together, you are in for a sublime ride.

So if you are intrigued enough to bid on this Imperial, then there are a few facts you need to know before a trip to the bank tomorrow.  The seller is the third owner of this car, which packs a 440 cubic inch V-8 with a four barrel carburetor metering the flood of fuel into the engine.  Painted Chestnut Metallic, this beautiful car has been driven just 61,000 miles since new.  The only obvious flaws are a non-working air conditioning system, some rust above the windshield that is breaking out from the confines of the vinyl top, and a scrape across the passenger rear door.

The white leather interior is in great shape for the car’s age.  There is some cracking and yellowing in the leather on the driver’s side, but some of that might be remedied with leather conditioner.  As befitting a car of this stature, it is loaded with features such as power windows, power door locks, cruise control, and an AM/FM radio with an 8-track tape player.

As previously mentioned, this Imperial is powered by Chrysler’s famous 440 cubic inch V-8.  A car this large obviously needs a big powerplant like a 440.  The whole engine compartment is very clean and looks like it just rolled off the assembly line.  Whoever purchases the car will likely spend some time replacing all of the vacuum lines that seem to be breeding under the air cleaner.  As the seventies wore on, more emissions equipment was added to automobiles.  These additions often managed to make these beasts guzzle more gas than before.  I never understood how burning more fuel made cars pollute less.  Maybe it was a certain type of emissions being eliminated.

Unfortunately, the age of having a dinosaur for a pet passed with the Flintstones.  You can, however, own this running and driving Detroit dinosaur if you hurry.   There just aren’t that many pristine early seventies luxury cars left like this one.  They are expensive to feed, hard to garage, but easy to repair.  The biggest plus is how they drive and ride.  You’ll never be more comfortable on four wheels.

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Comments

  1. Todd Fitch Staff

    Nice one, Jeff! I’ve considered buying one of these! I’d have to have a Sport Fury of the same era first, then the four-door Imperial for long trips. You can moor the Imperial at your hotel and keep a Honda Z600 in the trunk for site-seeing. “It’s good to be The King,” or an Emporer in this case.

    Like 17
  2. Max

    I love these 70s Imperials ! I am based in Beirut Lebanon its small country geographicaly with very bad narrow congested roads I am having very hard time driving my 78 coupe deville & 80 New Yorker which are both smaller in lenght and width than this beautiful Beast!

    Like 15
    • JB1971SX Member

      @Max…I understand there’s a real appetite for classic American luxury cars in Lebanon. A couple years ago I sold my 1963 Cadillac Sedan DeVille (the slightly shorter “Park Avenue” edition) to an exporter who was sending it to Lebanon. It’s black with a red leather interior…you can’t miss it!

      Like 1
  3. Jeff

    Does the gunship come with a dingy and a few life preservers?

    Like 13
  4. Miguel

    Beautiful, just beautiful
    I love the color and the size, and of course the covered headlights.

    Like 21
  5. SC/RAMBLER

    If it were mine I would get rid of the carburetor and replace with stand-alone fuel injection and spark control bound to pickup mileage, beautiful boat hope who ever buys this treats it right

    Like 12
  6. Coventrycat

    Yaba Daba Doo! I love it.

    Like 5
  7. Nick

    Nice car!!!

    Like 5
  8. Lroy

    Big as a whale, dont forget your juke box money.
    These cars a great, hard pressed to park in some communities in California with all the Compact parking spaces.

    Like 10
    • Miguel

      Just take two or three compact spaces.

      Always worked for me.

      Like 9
    • Thomas Parker

      Not to mention the 10 mile F 16 turning radius.

  9. Rich

    Now THAT was a great engaging, descriptive write up! Good job! And I’d love to have this car if I could afford to drive it from one gas station to the next…

    Like 17
  10. Cliffyc

    Here in the UK ,we would rent that out as an Air B&B !!!. Not a car as such,more like real-estate !!.😀

    Like 11
    • TC Oztralia

      Cliffyc, I wouldn’t like to attempt to drive this on some of your country roads ‘(lanes as most are)’, considering your roads were designed by the Romans, they’re only chariot wheel base width, this thing sure isn’t that narrow.
      The standard British railway gauge is based on the width of the Roman chariot wheelbase as well. Fact, look it up.

      Like 1
  11. half cab

    Almost went an bid on it after reading all that.

    Like 6
  12. Jerry Long

    Great read excellently written!

    Like 8
  13. Dovi65

    Elegance at it’s finest. I love the big luxo land yachts of the 1970s, and would love to have this beauty. She’d feel right at home here in sunny FL; sure to evoke fond memories from the retirees around town.
    My Pops owned a 70 New Yorker, it was big, beautiful, and had power to go with it. I can still hear the telltale whine of the Chrysler starter motors. Good times. Good times.

    Like 12
    • Thomas Parker

      Yes. I do miss my 70 Fury. Best riding, handling, looking big car I ever owned. My 1st one I bought for $1500. in 1976. Kept it 7 years and sold it with a new paint job. Blue 2 door optioned nicely. Then one was given to me in 86 by my brother in law. It was the identical model I had before. My friends all asked if it was the same car and couldn’t believe it wasn’t. Then sold it cheap had no room for it. Dang it. Want it back

  14. 4 Barrel

    My parents bought a brand new 75 Imperial. It was red with all the options and a lean burn system. It got 16 mpg and it ran ok. My brother ended up with it and he trashed it out. Mom went back with a gold 78 Fleetwood that was twice the car the Imperial was. My point is that Chrysler never could really compete with GM on luxury autos maybe on anything.

    Like 2
    • W9BAG

      I drove a ’77 New Yorker Brougham for a while. It was a dream to drive. Fully loaded. It even had a button, just above the floor mounted dimmer switch that would change the radio station ! VERY smooth. The lead sled Chrysler’s couldn’t be beat. I find that their fit & finish surpassed GM & Ford in all aspects.

      Like 3
      • Wrong Way

        They didn’t beat my dad’s Caddy I can assure you of that his Caddy was just a very awesome car all caddys were awesome cars back then! I can’t remember but I do remember that something about Chrysler was turning alot of people off back then! Wished I could remember what that was but I just don’t remember!

        Like 2
      • Miguel

        Wrong way, what year was your father’s Cadillac.

        Cadillac has a habit of putting the worst engines in their cars.

        When a Chevy Caprice has the 305 or the 350, Cadillac had the 4.1 liter aluminum engine that was garbage.

        Like 3
    • Bryan

      Couldn’t compete with GM luxury cars or almost anything? No, I don’t get your point. Actually, Chrysler Corp competed with GM since 1924. Chrysler even passed Ford Motor Company during the depression and remained there until 1953. Imperial was a formidable luxury competitor though not sales wise….Cadillacs were commonly seen. A non-event in the town I grew up in.

      Like 2
    • Thomas Parker

      Um. You obviously never looked at the over engineered Chryslers from 1955 to 1972. Yes they rusted out sooner in the 70s using thinner sheet metal even on their trucks. But they made some really tough quality cars. Show me a slant 6 that wasn’t as endurable as a stove bolt 6. A 273, 318, 340, 360 that was outlasted by a 283,327,350 Chevy or Pontiac V8. The Chevys had oil seal leaks. Or even later Ford small blocks or big blocks that were better than Chrysler?. A torqueflight transmission was bulletproof. Not to mention the Chevys got chrome plastic interior bits like most modern cars have today.

  15. P Wentzell

    Wonderful car. Get the air conditioning operational and bids will increase. Too far in distance, too wary of rust for me to consider.

    Like 2
  16. Ed P

    Good point

    Like 6
  17. James A. Mogey

    For ride comfort, a Citroen DS of the same era was even better.

    Like 3
    • Gerard Frederick

      Absolutely- Not only was the Citroen a smooth ride, it was technically the most advanced car of its day, on every level. Despite its comparatively small engine, it performed admirably. ONE hitch however, the quality of the materials and the workmanship stunk to high heaven.

      Like 1
  18. Tort Member

    Wonderful car and a great opportunity for someone to buy one in this condition. Hard to imagine the cost of restoring one to this shape.

    Like 4
  19. ChevyTruckGuy

    “Avocado Green and Chocolate Brown were popular colors. For everything.”

    Let’s not forget Harvest Gold and Flame Orange!! LOL!!!

    Like 5
  20. David Miraglia

    Back then I had just entered public school. Kindergarten time. But I miss those big boats.

    Like 2
  21. Wrong Way

    The 70’s were a great time to experience great times! This is when real cars were built! I remember every family on our street had a huge barge to drive the family around then! However I also remember the gas wars when normal price gas was 25 cents a gallon then a gas war would often drop the price to 17 cents per gallon! Those were the good old days! Never again tho!

    Like 2
  22. Mark D Smith

    I had an uncle that had one he had purchased new. He also used it to pull a mid 20′ cuddy cabin. It was big enough to have it’s own zip code.

    Like 1
  23. Robert White

    These cars are great on the highway and were built for the drive-in theaters of North America. It was the legal way to drive around on your living room couch in the 70s without actually strapping your couch to a flatbed 5-ton truck.

    Bob

    Like 2
  24. ICEMAN from Winnipeg

    Yes, the reason Americans ( and us Canadians) love pickups and full size SUVs is that they want large vehicles, and if traditional full sized cars sized like the 70s yachts were available, we would buy them.

    Like 3
  25. glenn

    Today my friend and I are off on a road trip to Mopar show in Michigan in his new 75 Imp and looking forward to the adventure, doing what this great road car was ment to do,!!

    Like 4
  26. TNCspecial

    Poor Ma working hard in the background while Pa is busy snapping the pics lol

    Like 1
  27. Randy

    A Chrysler LeBehemoth.

    Like 2
  28. Miguel

    This is my response when people tell me my 1972 Ford LTD 2 door hardtop is a big car.

    They never say that about the 4 door pick ups.

    As for the size of cars, if you will notice cars have grown quite a bit lately.

    The new Honda Civic is much bigger than the 1997 model I bought new.

    How big is the new S Class Mercedes?

    Like 2
  29. Wrong Way

    Miguel, it was a 64! I am sure that it wasn’t the aluminum engine I and my brothers had to detail it every weekend for him! I think that he either thought that it would keep us out of trouble or away from the girls one of the two! LOL

    Like 1
    • Miguel

      The ’64 was definately a good car. The 429 was a strong engine.

      The other poster was talking about a ’77 Chrysler. When you start getting into the ’80s is when Cadillac started putting bad engines in the cars.

      Like 3
  30. r s

    A future Duesenberg, if minted out.

    Like 1
  31. Gerard Frederick

    In 1969 I worked as a finance mgr for Ralph Williams´ Gulfgate Chrysler-Plymouth in Houston. The problem with the cars was a missfitted windshield which was leaking buckets of water during the rain. We could never fix that problem correctly and had more customer complaints than can be imagined. As far as the comfort of those behemoths go, truly they could not be beat.My Plymouth Gran Fury was more comfy to drive than my previous Buick Riv.

    • Thomas Parker

      None of the Chrysler products I owned had leaky windshields. However some 69-76 full size Chrysler products were fitted with vinyl tops for the simple reason to cover up sheet metal flaws around the rear window trunk area. Could not figure out after a few years why my trunk started taking in water. Replaced the seal twice no change. Then the vinyl started to peel off there and as I pulled it off there were several spots that weren’t from frost that had irregular large and small holes. What else to do but slap on a vinyl top.

    • Thomas Parker

      Ralph Williams! He had dealerships all over SoCal. Many tv commercials with Chick Lambert. His biggest competitor was Cal Worthington and his dog Spot.

  32. Bryan

    These are really great cars; solid and well-built. I have a 73 Burnished Red LeBaron coupe with black vinyl top and a black leather bucket seat interior. Imperial still retained it’s own wheelbase and wheel bolt pattern to help differentiate it from lesser Chrysler products (that changed in 74).

    Like 1
  33. Edward Naughton

    I bought this car and it is a joy I have 3 Imperials and. this being my favorite one!

  34. Gerard Frederick

    Ralph Williams was an amazing man. Despite his owning a myriad of dealerships with hundreds of employees, he remembered EVERYONE by their name and greeted all and sundry in the same jovial fashion. In those pre-computer days, we would call the Encino, Ca. Ford store every evening at around 11 to report the daily sales results. I don´t think anyone ever worked harder or more hours than we did – got extremely well paid for it though.

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