Rebuilt Hemi V8 Project: 1955 Imperial

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The Imperial had been a Chrysler Corp. product since 1926, established as the most luxurious automobile to come out of Highland Park, Michigan. To improve the car’s competitive position against Cadillac and Lincoln, Chrysler spun off the Imperial as a separate make in 1955. They no longer wore Chrysler badging, yet were still sold at Chrysler dealerships, but perhaps the marketing decision worked as sales doubled in 1955 compared to 1954. This 2-door hardtop is said to have been treated to a rebuild of its Hemi V8, so it runs and drives around the lot.

One of Chrysler’s biggest challenges in differentiating the Imperial was that the machine had a lot in common with the New Yorker, before and after the makes were separated. They were built on the same platform and shared much of the same engineering, so the 1955 cars were sometimes referred to as “Imperials by Chrysler”. This had to be a confusing time for dealers, and they still had trouble competing with GM and Ford.

The seller refers to this car as a 300 Imperial, but there was no such thing. There was the Imperial and there also was the Chrysler 300, which was a New Yorker decked out to be a luxurious performance vehicle. Under the hood resides a rebuilt 331 cubic inch Hemi V8, so the car does move around under its own power. More work is likely needed, particularly when it comes to the body as there is rust in some of the lower extremities.

A spare front clip from another Imperial is provided to help sweeten the deal for a car that’s been inside for some time. Located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, it’s had two owners and has become available here on Facebook Marketplace as part of an estate sale. At just shy of 94,000 miles, the asking price for this running project is $8,495 (as a tip brought to us by “Ted”). When restored, this should be an awesome automobile. Any takers?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Sam61

    This era of Imperial has a “brutish, gentleman’s hot rod” vibe. It is much more stylish than the $500 1952 4dr Imperial I drove through high school and into college. It had the 331 hemi, fluid drive (slush-o-matic) transmission, power steering, 6 volt, power windows, tube AM radio and tube speaker chassis. I remember the 50 footer dark green respray and the new 4″ white wall tires I ordered from Sears Auto. Great memories. Great find!

    Like 5
  2. St.Michael

    I luv these ol IMPERIALS !

    Like 4
  3. guggie13

    My Uncle Frank had one of these back in the day , loved it , drove it right into the ground 100k+ , traded it in for a Jeep pick up !! go figure

    Like 1
  4. GitterDunn

    Sadly, it appears to be a victim of the Northeastern Tinworm. Could be a parts car, though.

    Like 0
  5. Tony

    Did this car come with dual quads as an optional thing?

    Like 0
    • Wayne Graefen

      No, only the Letter Cars are 4 x 2.

      Like 0

    My first car in 69 I got from my buddies old man for $50.. It was one step below the Imperial. It had no reverse so I had to make sure I had a big enough crew on board to get out and push if need be. It had a 331 poly mill, not a big motor but ate gas like it was. It bet the hemi has even a bigger appetite. This one’s a head turner done or not, good luck to the new owner and expect lots of attention. One thing I remember is looking down on other cars that got next to me because it was like driving a semi truck with a 2 dago trunk!

    Like 0
  7. HCMember

    I’ve been having some crushes on some older Mopars lately, and even though I prefer early to mid 1960s, Imperials, this 55 first year Imperial 2 Dr Hardtop is hard to beat. Especially with a freshly rebuilt 331 included. Damn, damn, to have both the funds and the space would be nice.

    Like 1

    HC , you are so spot on, but I am so fickle about so many… With my God book about to become a movie I will have the $$$ but not foolish enough to be even MORE stupid If anything I will go after that 57 Caballero. And sell my 2012 2 door Silverado street rod..

    Like 1
  9. 19sixty5Member

    My neighbor had a 55 Imperial in black, it was an impressive automobile. Seeing that engine with the huge valve covers for the first time made an impression on this young kid! He later traded it in on a 57 Bonneville convertible, white with the red accent on the sides and interior, with the factory fuel injection.

    Like 0
    • UDT FROG

      1965 I just had the Holley EFI2 installed on my 1964 Buick Century, what a huge difference in performance and reliability. Next come a new tranny. and headers. Not for speed but to help those 425 inches flow better.

      Like 1
      • 19sixty5Member

        I installed a Sniper on my 70 El Camino SS396 almost 7 years ago, it has been flawless. It’s hard to believe it has been that long ago. I’m not running timing control, just a simple bullet-proof HEI. Best car mod I have ever done, hands down.

        Like 0
  10. UDT FROG

    1965, GOOD to hear, I’m told the EFI 2 is even better, my buddies who own the speed shop where my work is being dome has a late 50’s ford with the same 425 engine so I simply said Make mine like yours,, That SS396 musta been a bad ass ride.

    Like 0
  11. Dave

    !955 Chrysler products are my favorite due to the impressive front, and especially the Imperial. However, this needs someone that is good at rust repair judging from the few photos, too costly to pay someone to fix. I live at the other side of PA too, but we need someone able to spend hours to replace metal.

    Like 0
  12. UDT FROG

    GUYS, I just drove my Buick home. WOOOOHOOO what a hugs difference. It comes out of the hole like a rocket. even with the 1957 Dynaflo tranny , I may not need to update to the 700r4. But I will for the overdrive. AND I was just told for sure my 2nd book will me a movie. THAT will bring to me the 57 Cabellero.

    Like 0

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