Presidential Limo! 1964 Imperial Crown Ghia

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The Chrysler Imperial was the automaker’s flagship car for much of its life, but in 1955 the Imperial gained a step in the luxury market by becoming its own brand, mainly to try and compete with offerings such as Cadillac and Lincoln.  Fast-forward nearly a decade, and the Imperial proved its ultimate worthiness in the elegance department when this 1964 Imperial Crown Ghia Limousine here on eBay found its way into the White House Motor Pool and hauled around the likes of Jacqueline Kennedy and President Lyndon Johnson.  If you’re a huge history buff or own an auto museum, maybe this limo would be of interest to you, but it comes with a hefty asking price of $300,000.  This heavy hitter is out in Phoenix, Arizona if you want to go check it out in person.

Jonny, thanks a lot for the tip on this one!  Usually one of the first things that come to my mind when such an offering enters the market is the question of where’s the proof.  That doesn’t seem to be too much of an issue here, as the seller located several photos of the limo in action with prominent Washington figures such as the First Lady nearby.  The story goes that Chrysler sent the vehicle off to Ghia in Italy for some custom crafting to turn it into one of the White House motor cars for use by The Kennedy administration.  After that stint, it was subsequently sold and has been under the care of about 3 different individuals since those presidential days.

In nearly 60 years, the Imperial has only traveled a total of 15,000 miles and is said to be a stunning survivor.  The black paint is thought to be the same finish applied by Ghia, and although it has had several small touched-up areas, the body itself is claimed to be very straight and the black landau roof is stated to be in excellent condition.  We don’t get to see under the hood, but power is provided by a 413 wedge V8 producing 340 horsepower, paired with a push-button automatic.  There’s some light surface rust reported in the engine compartment, but it was left so the vehicle could retain its near-survivor status.  Another interesting feature is the tires, which are thought to be the originals.

Sure, limos got longer and more shabby chic as time went on, but for ’64 this one looks like comfortable and luxurious transportation for the elite.  The hand-crafted interior is also said to be original, and although there are some minor defects stated such as soiling, the inside remains in very nice shape.  Cool as it is, I’m guessing there’s quite a limited audience in the marketplace, and while I’m not arguing it’s an important piece of history this one’s way out of my league.  But if you’re feeling differently, there’s also the opportunity to submit an offer for consideration, should you find the $300k asking price a bit much.  What are your thoughts on this 1964 Imperial Crown Ghia limousine?

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Comments

  1. Rex Kahrs Rex KahrsMember

    Considering what some cars on BaT go for, 300K for this car seems reasonable, given it’s history. I’d like to take it for a spin.

    Like 14
  2. Fahrvergnugen FahrvergnugenMember

    Just glorious. Such a different statement than an MB 600 or Maybach! Though I wouldn’t store it in a Barn, but rather the carriage house…

    Like 15
    • J P

      Plenty of room inside for snacking on sparehoovin krispies

      Like 0
  3. 370zpp 370zppMember

    ✔✔✔

    Like 3
  4. ClassicCarFan

    Quite a stunning car, though as the author notes – probably really only of use to a museum or specialist promotions or exclusive limo rental company – not sure what a private owner or driver would actually do with it?

    I always have a soft-spot for the Imperials of this era as the underdog in competition with Cadillac and Lincoln.

    …but is that carpet genuine “mouse fur” ?

    Like 7
    • Edward McIlwain

      Lambskin, my Bentley has overlays like this

      Like 2
  5. JimA

    If this is one of a kind, one would think Chrysler would buy it for their vehicle collection. The Henry Ford Museum has the President Kennedy Lincoln limo in their collection

    Like 11
    • Will Fox

      Jim, When FIAT took over Chrysler, they did away with the Museum and the MoPar heritage collection. The Italians see no value in ‘an old Chrysler’ and are more interested in production capacity of their plants. We will soon see the complete demise of the Chrysler name altogether; surprised it hasn’t happened already.

      Like 23
  6. Jeff

    If 10 of these were built (as is stated in the auction text), then how do they know this one is THE one that toted Jackie and LBJ around? Finding pictures of an identical car proves nothing if there were 9 other identical cars built … They need to find something tying this VIN to the license plates shown in the pictures.

    I am a big fan and collector of survivor cars, and there is one frustrating thing stated in the auction. They say they left the engine compartment as-is, with surface rust and valve covers needing painting, to preserve originality. That is great (but notice they give us no pictures of the engine compartment to let us see what the condition really is). But then they say the exact opposite for the undercarriage — that they removed all surface rust and repainted everything. What happened to the goal to preserve originality?? Not to mention the statement that they added gold pinstriping to the car !?!?!?!?!

    The condition of a survivor car needs to be assessed as to whether it can or cannot be left alone with only things necessary to make it safe and driveable being altered. Then make a decision on what to do, and then be CONSISTENT on the entire car. Pressure washing and spray-bombing the chassis is too often the very first thing someone wants to do to an original car, and it unfortunately wipes out all the “archaeological” information (stickers, tags, ink stamps, inspection marks, plating finishes, etc.) on the originality of the chassis. Hopefully on this one they made an effort to preserve those sorts of things.

    Like 18
    • Will Fox

      Jeff, they stated only this car served the WH–not a whole fleet of `64 limos. The red high beams are an indicator of this car’s caliber of service. (Are there flag mounts on the front bumper too?) I myself can’t question this car’s authenticity. It’s history sounds easily traceable.

      Like 3
      • Jeff

        Sure, they “stated” it was this car. But they offer absolutely no proof of that statement, nor any proof that this is not one of the other 9 cars built.

        As to the red headlights, please read the auction text again — they indicate they were recently added. And none of the vintage pics show the Imperial in processional use with red lights. To the contrary, both the vintage pics that show the front of the car (the one with it way back in the background, and the one with it turning on the street) very obvioulsy show that it had four clear headlights. You should read more carefully and look more closely before jumping to conclusions, as inattention to details like that is how people get duped into over paying for a car based on a “story”.

        And if the history is “easily traceable”, then they would have traced it and offerred up the documentation of that trail. They have not done that.

        It might be the car, it might not. But not one thing in that auction or any of those pics proves it either way.

        Like 0
  7. RalphP

    This is a good candidate for inclusion in the Presidential Car collection at the Henry Ford Museum.

    Like 11
  8. wuzjeepnowsaab

    Having gone through the hoops and motions of submitting BaT listings I’m usually “that guy” that defends the reasoning for vehicles of note ending up on eBay or craigslist…but I gotta say, this Imperial with its provenance seems like it should be on Mecums or the like.

    Like 6
  9. Solosolo UK Solosolo UKMember

    Definitely not the best looking Imperial I have ever seen.

    Like 1
    • Old Man

      I respectfully disagree.

      Like 14
      • 370zpp 370zppMember

        As do I.

        Like 4
      • William Maceri

        Me too. The 64 through 66 are the most beautiful and elegant Imperials of all time. I had a 66 4 door hardtop. Silver over silver cloth seats trimmed with black leather. Mine had the 440 in it but not the push button drive. That left in 65. Admittedly these Imperials mezmoriz me. Yes they do resemble the 60s Lincoln Continentals but they are all Chrysler. And this limo is just beautiful

        Like 0
  10. Francis Gerard Fay

    I don’t understand the comment, ” Fast-forward nearly a decade, and the Imperial proved its ultimate worthiness in the elegance department when this 1964 Imperial Crown Ghia Limousine”. Jackie Kennedy was known to prefer Imperials and had several Imperials before Kennedy’s death? What do you mean? “Worthlessness”? I’m thinking it’s pretty damn impressive that Imperial was being driven by the elites of the USA establishment? Are you saying any brand that’s not in existence anymore is also proving it’s worthlessness? Pontiac, Saab, Saturn, Mercury, Oldsmobile????? Just honestly not understanding why or what the point or comment means?? BTW, in 1964, 24,000 Imperials were sold to the public, 36,000 Lincolns were sold…Caddy was kicking both their Asses……Lincoln didn’t make big sales increases until 1968 when it launched the Mark III to compete with the Eldorado….which is really why Imperial vanished…they didn’t have a car to compete head to head with every Cadillac and every Lincoln by 1970

    Like 5
    • Solosolo UK Solosolo UKMember

      The word they used is Worthiness, not Worthlesness.

      Like 4
      • Francis Gerard Fay

        lol I went to the eye docs today and they dilated my eyes, and I’m having
        difficulty seeing! lol no lie……it made no sense to me….

        Like 2
    • angel santiago saltamontes

      I am lost. I wish, long as i’m lost, i could be found in this Imperial.

      Like 0
  11. Walt

    I once owned a black 1964 Continental. I purchased it in 1987 in Michigan. After I handed over the money, the owner told me the car had a history in D.C. Long story short, after extensive research and phone discussions with 2 widows, I was able to prove that car had originally been owned by an LBJ appointed U.S. Federal Attorney and that the car had been at the Whitehouse on many occasions. Not to the Imperial level of historic significance, but special to me nonetheless. I sold the car in 1998. It still exists, last I could find out, in New York state.

    Like 8
  12. Beignet at the Beach

    Representing this as a White House car without the provenance to back it up should make any buyer CAUTIOUS. Mrs. Kennedy was not at the White House when this car was built. The Secret Service would not have these on any vehicle used by her after she was no longer in that public eye as First Lady. In a similar vein, red wig/wag lights were substituted to the high beams of a 1962 Lincoln Limo that was in the FoMoCo PR garage prior to its resale to the third owner to enhance its “official-Kennedy-ness”, even though it never had such modifications while in service. The Secret Service eschewed the use of these lamps on all Lincolns in the White House Garage, and the ones they borrowed from Ford in NYC, EXCEPT the Presidential Limos and the two Secret Service follow-up convertibles.
    I can find no photographic proof of a Chrysler limo of this vintage with the light mods.

    Like 3
    • Francis Gerard Fay

      I have to agree with you. I know on the Inauguration. They used a Crown Imperial Ghia build car, but this car is too new to be from the White House Years. November 1963 was when Kennedy was assassinator, but this car has 1964 Styling. The 1964 Styled cars were only introduced in October of 1963 and there is no way a Ghia example would have been built in time and delivered to the white house. It’s well documented that Jackie Kennedy like Imperials and this could be her car, but I highly doubt it’s from the Presidential years. The Secret Service would have provided her with Security for her whole life……so I’m sure the photo of her with the car in NYC with the Secret Service is real. And as I said, it could be her car, she lived in NYC so it would make sense she had a car for her use stored there.

      Like 4
      • Solosolo UK Solosolo UKMember

        I don’t car who rode or owned it, whether it was a Jackie O car or not, I just think it is a beautiful, American land yacht and wish I could own it. Pity most of our B grade UK roads are not as wide as this Limo!

        Like 3
    • Francis Gerard Fay

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0N2sN7E_C_c this does show Kennedy and LBJ with a 1964 Crown Imperial Ghia. Johnson might be at the White House with it….

      Like 1
  13. Allen L

    If you ever want to travel in the “Time Tunnel,” that would be your vehicle of choice to first enter the secret Project Tic-Toc underground complex in Arizona. Trivial recollection of that TV series.

    Like 1
  14. Grandpa

    I would trade my firstborn for this Imperial. (not really)

    Like 2
    • Grandpa

      …but I’d be tempted.

      Like 3
  15. Steve

    I just noticed the script on the side reads “LeBaron”.

    Like 1
  16. Edward McIlwain

    Lambskin, my Bentley has overlays like this

    Like 0
  17. Solosolo UK Solosolo UKMember

    I just noticed that the Imperial shown in the photo, where the car is surrounded by security guards with the Cadillac following a little way behind, is not the same car as is for sale here.

    Like 1
  18. HoA Howard AMember

    I think we can all agree, this car probably has nothing to do with JFK, or Mrs. Kennedy. I think what this car may be, is a Hollywood vehicle for movies. After JFK got shot, Mrs. Kennedy wasn’t seen much, and this car would have been brand new. All I’ve ever seen were Lincolns. To take this up a notch, can you imagine how different the world might be today if President Kennedy WAS riding in this car instead of a sitting duck in a convertible on that fateful November 23rd 1963 day? It was a Friday afternoon, we were on our way to grandmas for supper, like every Friday. I remember my old man was really pissed. Aside from my shenanigans, I don’t think I ever saw him so upset before. I was 8 years old.

    Like 0
  19. angel santiago saltamontes

    The thought that this ride might contain literal Jackie-dirt (and others’) tantalizes. One wonders how many gropees Lyndon Johnson hosted. Did Nixon use it? I’ve not yet had a car that had a tape RECORDER.
    Seriously, what a prize not just for its provenance and our history, but for its beauty and engineering / mechanical superlativeness. I have always had a thing for limos, my heart quickened by a visually harmonious extension of the bass coach’s lines. In the ’90s, i drove party limos for a guy with a taste for the generally offbeat (privately, i had owned Edsels; he had an Amphicar; we met when he bought a ’56 Hudson Super Wasp i was selling) —Dave found one of the several ’63 Newport limos, which accommodated rear passengers in spacious facing seats; it was pure white, with gold chrome, and he had it refurbished beautifully. I loved that car, still have photos of it, and a decade or so later he offered it to me for a very good price. Other commitments cramped, and i couldn’t take it. Not too long after that, somebody wrecked it.
    If i win a big lottery in the next few days, my Jeeves will be over for the keys.

    Like 0
  20. angel santiago saltamontes

    The thought that this ride might contain literal Jackie-dirt (and others’) tantalizes. One wonders how many gropees Lyndon Johnson hosted. Did Nixon use it? I’ve not yet had a car that had a tape RECORDER.
    Seriously, what a prize not just for its provenance and our history, but for its beauty and engineering / mechanical superlativeness. I have always had a thing for limos, my heart quickened by a visually harmonious extension of the base coach’s lines. In the ’90s, i drove party limos for a guy with a taste for the generally offbeat (privately, i had owned Edsels; he had an Amphicar; we met when he bought a ’56 Hudson Super Wasp i was selling) —Dave found one of the several ’63 Newport limos, which accommodated rear passengers in spacious facing seats; it was pure white, with gold chrome, and he had it refurbished beautifully. I loved that car, still have photos of it, and a decade or so later he offered it to me for a very good price. Other commitments cramped, and i couldn’t take it. Not too long after that, somebody wrecked it.
    If i win a big lottery in the next few days, my Jeeves will be over for the keys.

    Like 0
  21. angel santiago saltamontes

    This is why Chrissie Hynde (in her masterwork “Precious”) “was feeling kind of ethereal / i had my eye on your Imperial”.

    Like 1
  22. Auto Biography

    I agree with the many reasoned thoughtful comments questioning the provenance of this 1964 Imperial. The seller has provided absolutely no documentary evidence to support his claim, aside from attaching stock photos of such a similar car seen in the WH / SS fleet.

    Question: What would this same car be worth in 2023 without the WH / SS fleet connection? Is this a $50,000 car if it were merely 1 of the 9 others built? Interested in reading what others think its value is as a 1964 Imperial Crown Ghia limo alone.

    I think it is telling this is car not in a museum. I also imagine there were many cars in the WH / SS motor pool that are not in museums.

    Reminds me alot of the BF listing for Bob Hope’s 1969 Imperial limo from Aug. 29, 2021.

    Like 2
    • Lowered Expectations

      I remember the 2021 BF article for the 1969 Imperial said to be a limo used by Bob Hope. I followed that car for over 12 years. It was for sale for over a decade from 2009-2021. Asking price ranged from high of $80,000 down to $40,000. BF article appeared when being auctioned at $23,100. Like this 1964 Imperial, the celebrity connection was undetermined due to lack of documentation.

      After 15+ years watching “Pawn Stars” I always shake my head when people make detailed / intricate / specific provenance claims that are not supported or backed up by documents.

      No argument — this 64 Imperial limo is a very nice looking car. But it is not a $300,000 car, nor has the seller presented any document. Worse, seller admits the red headlights were added recently and are not original. Also there does not appear to be flag posts on fenders or bumper. This is a nice $30,000. special interest production car. Would be great for weddings. Check out this link:

      https://www.web.imperialclub.info/Yr/1969/1969HopeLimo/1969BobHopeLimo.htm

      Like 2

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