Luxury Barn Find: 1960 Imperial Crown Sedan

This 1960 Imperial Crown Sedan was found sitting in this barn, a spot that it had apparently occupied since 1988. It has now been dragged out of hiding and has revealed a few pleasant surprises. It is structurally sound and has some pretty insignificant rust to be addressed. These are a relatively rare luxury car, and this one could prove to be a rewarding restoration project. The Imperial is located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and has been listed for sale here on Facebook. If you feel like taking on this gentle giant, then all you need to do is to hand the owner $2,900, and it’s all yours.

When the Formal Black Imperial was dragged out of hiding, the biggest surprise that it had to spring was the fact that it has been afflicted with only some fairly minor rust. The floors and frame carry a dusting of surface corrosion but are as solid as a rock. Externally, rust seems to be confined to the lower rear quarter panels, along with a few spots in the bottom corners of the doors. None of these spots would require the replacement of panels, as they are small enough to be addressed with patches. The paint is definitely showing its age, and while the majority of the tinted glass looks quite good, the windshield does sport a crack that will necessitate replacement. Contrary to initial appearance, all of the external trim and chrome would seem to be present, although some of it is no longer attached to the car. One of the most interesting exterior features of a 1960 Imperial was the tail-lights. The lenses aren’t quite as distinctive as the iconic Cadillac “bullets,” but the chrome rings that surround them almost seem to float, and they have a real “science fiction” feel about them.

The interior of the Imperial is trimmed in a combination of Blue vertical-thread nylon, with metallic Blue bolsters. The nylon cloth is showing signs of rot, and I think that it is beyond salvation. The leather, on the other hand, looks to be in remarkable condition. There are some seam separations present, but I think that this could be saved. It is possible to source the correct cloth to restore the seats, and this could be an option that would be worth examining from a cost perspective. While I do know that entire interior trim kits are available, nailing down a price is quite difficult. That’s usually a fair indication that a trim kit is not going to be particularly cheap. The door trims are exhibiting the same sorts of issues as the seats, so they will either need to be restored or replaced. We can’t see the state of the headliner, but a new carpet set will definitely be on the shopping list. The dash itself appears to be quite good, and I think that a thorough clean will have it looking its best once again. It isn’t clear just what has been fitted to the Imperial in the way of optional equipment, but we do know that it comes with air conditioning, power windows, and the Touch-Tuner radio.

The news with the Imperial isn’t so good once we delve under the hood. Standard equipment is the 413ci “Wedge” V8, while the vehicle also scores a 3-speed TorqueFlite transmission, power steering, and power brakes. With 350hp available, this was actually a surprisingly potent combination. When you consider that what we’re talking about here is a luxury car weighing-in at a not inconsiderable 4,940lbs, that it could cover the ¼ mile in 16.5 seconds is actually pretty respectable. Unfortunately, those days are a long way behind this car, because the engine doesn’t run. In fact, it doesn’t even turn, with the owner stating that it is stuck and that its condition is unknown. Given the list of parts that have been removed from the motor, you have to wonder whether the engine is now stuck from sitting for so long, or whether a seized motor may have been the reason that the car was parked in the first place. With those details in mind, it is a virtual certainty that a rebuild will be on the cards for the 413. It is also an inevitability that there will be plenty of other mechanical work required before the vehicle moves under its own power once again.

When you consider that a mere 1,594 examples of the Imperial Crown 4-Door Sedan rolled off the production line in 1960 and that at a sale price of $5,645, they cost around ½ the price of the average American home at the time, this is a car that has a pretty ordinary retained value. Today, it is possible to find the occasional nice example kicking about in the market for around $22,000. If the next owner is willing and able to undertake the majority of the restoration work for themselves, then they should be able to complete the project well under that sort of figure. A lot of the car’s viability is going to hinge on the cost of the upholstery, and the cost of reviving the engine. Would you take it on, or is it just a bit too much for you?

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  1. Rex Kahrs Member

    Here’s yet another permutation of the finned Chryslers from the forward look era. Two doors, four doors, Chryslers, Plymouths, Dodges, DeSotos, Imperials. The sheer number of different models from that ’57 through ’60 era is pretty mind-boggling.

    I saw an awesome ’60 Fury at a show today that was super cool…it’s what Perry Mason would have driven if he’d had a family. Just fantastic.

    Like 15
  2. Fred W

    I was all in right up until the “stuck motor” part….

    Like 4
  3. Ken Carney

    Mafia motoring at its finest. As for the stuck engine, my BIL in
    Illinois has a complete running 413 that’ll bolt right in! But I’d
    wanna play hot rod and add the dual quad setup and the high
    output can from a 300F along with the low restriction exhaust
    system from the same car. After the heavy work”s done, you can restore while you drive it. Oh my God! I can see this thing
    floating down I-4 doing over 80 MPH and scaring the crap out
    anyone driving an econobox who’ll try to cut you off! That look
    of sheer terror on their faces would be priceless! All I can say is
    I WANT IT!

    Like 20
    • Poppapork

      Cocaine is a hell of a drug!

      Like 4
    • moosie moosie

      @ Ken Carney, 2 X 4’s just as long its the set-up with the carbs sitting at the ends of the long manifolds tubes above the valve covers. BOOGITY-BOOGITY.

      Like 1
  4. Dual Jetfire

    With a stuck engine, the risk is too great. 413s are very expensive to rebuild, even when unstuck. Better to find a 63 or 64 door New Yorker that runs, pull the engine, paint it, and toss it in.

  5. 370zpp

    My father had one of these in white. After that a 63 and then a 66. He bought the first one used in 1961 in Panama City and we drove it home all the way back to upstate New York without a hiccup. All three of these were incredible cars.

    Like 7
  6. FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972 Member

    Considering the work needed on this Imperial, you might be better off finding one that’s done if you can indeed find a good one for $22k. An engine re-build, extensive interior work, a windshield, body work and paint will add up to a tidy sum I’d bet. It’s a neat car for sure but it could turn into a money pit. Of course, if you can do a lot of the work yourself, it could work out as the ask seems reasonable.

    Like 3
    • Chris M.

      And it’s a 4 door.

      Like 1
  7. Capt RD

    At $2900 this will end up going to someone with a really rust bucket example who has a good drivetrain and will be a bargain at that price.

    Like 10
    • Ramone Member

      Let’s all hope that happens. Best case scenario. It deserves to be brought back. Great find!

      Like 7
  8. DayDreamBeliever Member

    I have ALWAYS been a fan of these highway cruisers.

    The style is so aggressive fro some angles.

    Would be great to see this one find a place on the road again.

    Like 6
  9. Ron H

    About those taillights, they were called ‘floating taillights’ back in the day. So you weren’t the first to notice the appeal of the design. But I’m guessing you are younger than I. Glad that you pointed that feature out.

    Like 3
  10. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    If you were a stylist for Chrysler back in this era, I bet it was fun going to work every day.

    “Hey Bill, look at this cool idea I have for taillights on the Imperial. Think it will fly?”

    Like 3
  11. John Oliveri

    Jay Leno has a 58 convertible, and if your not aware of it, these push button trani cars have no park, only neutral, so when he first got his he forgot about the emergency brake, and while walking away from the car, felt someone following him, and it was this 5000 lb car,

    Like 3
    • Johnny

      John-On the left of the buttons-Their was one that you pushed down for park. I remeber I went to get this date and pulled in front of her house and when I went to leave–it wouldn,t start. I thought I had a dead battery. I got a ride to take me home about 20 miles away to get a battery. Came back and switched battery–still nothing. Looked at the button on the left–IT WAS UP. Pushed it down and the car started-made me look like a fool . hahaha I,d like either one of the cars. My friends dad has a green and white 60 plymought that had a record player on the right side .Then went into the dash and played 45,s It had to be parked to play it. These were cars–well made and I,d like to tackle that Chrysler.

      Like 2
      • Ed P

        The original cast iron Torqflite was used until 1962. It did not have a park feature. Park was added when the a727 Torqflite was introduced on the 1963 v8 cars. The six cylinder a904 Torqflite had park and was introduced on the 1960 cars.

  12. Mike

    The seller washed the car?! What kind of monster would do that?!

    Like 3
    • Ed P

      Now how are we to believe this is a barn find? 😃

      Like 1
  13. Robbert

    Anyone with a heart would want to wash it! What’s all this crap about having a car look like a third world ox cart! Pretty nice example to start with although engine rebuild will be costly did a similar build on a Chrysler Saratoga. Very rewarding!

    Like 3
  14. Steve Brown

    I think a 383 or a 440 would fit in the engine bay pretty easily and would be cheaper and easier to find/rebuild than the 413. The windshield is the hardest part of this build I think. An upholstery shop should be able to redo the seats close to the original pattern. I would not go for originality here, but make it driveable, looking good as inexpensively as possible.

    Like 2
  15. james burton

    I think the crank flang is different so you would have trouble with getting the flywheel, flexplate swaps

  16. Mark Bertram

    As Jay Leno says, this is a “more money than sense” car. BUT it would have to be a labor of love for a true Mopar fanatic. And the value in this, more than it’s rarity is it’s originality. You’d probably need to drop up to 50 grand in this, just to make it a 25 grand car but for those saying “replace the motor with a 383 or 440”, you could put 100 grand into this just to make it worth $20,000. I know a shop here that would have this car ready for Pebble Beach & Amelia Island, within a year but it’d cost $100,000. From my experience, the windshield would be the most expensive part to replace, not fixing the 413.

  17. Paolo

    $2900.? That’s a deal provided there is no additional hidden rust. It looks straight and complete and unmonkeyed with. Rebuilding the engine is straight forward stuff and who knows, it might respond to careful and gentle efforts to resuscitate it. 413s are sturdy motors with forged nitrided crank shafts. There are some things to keep in mind such as the 8 bolt crank flange used on industrial and some big trucks. Also distance of crank flange to lock is different from 1962-1963 although this may only matter for manual transmissions but not automatics. I’d rebuild the 413 for authenticity sake but if not feasible I would opt for a 440. The 383 just won’t provide the low end grunt that you have every right to expect in an Imperial.
    As mentioned Torque Flites didn’t get the lever activated parking pall until 1962. From 1956-1961 “PARK” was a drum brake bolted to the end of tailshaft housing that clamped the drive shaft when you pulled up the parking brake lever which used a cable to apply the brake.Make sure the driveshaft is installed and the rear wheels are on the ground. Works great!

  18. Cam

    I am the new owner, kind of surprised when I stumbled on this. Car is covered in barn dust and bird stuff, the barn pics were after it was on that trailer. My guess is it was in the barn at least a couple years, but not sure. Have not washed it yet. Carb, generator, air cleaner, and cooling fan were in the trunk.

    Like 2
    • DayDreamBeliever Member


      Let us know with some updates about how well the car responds to a bit of TLC!

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