The Imperial was the top-of-the-line brand from Chrysler Corporation. From 1955 to 1975 the Imperial was a stand alone brand in the Chrysler portfolio. From 1957 to 1968, the Imperial would not share a platform with any of the other Chrysler products. The Imperial was Chrysler Corporations best attempt at competing with Cadillac and Lincoln.
A new Imperial arrived in 1964. It would be the first Imperial to be designed by Elwood Engel, who had previously designed the 1961 Lincoln Continental. The new design featured a slab-sided traditional three-box design similar to the 1961-1969 Lincoln Continental. This was a marked change from the previous Imperial which had the famous Chrysler tailfins. The new Imperial was available as a four-door hardtop in the Crown or LeBaron trim, and as a two-door hardtop or convertible in the Crown trim.
On the interior, the the squared-off steering wheel and electroluminescent dash lighting of the 1963 Imperial were removed. The split grille returned to the front fascia. The rear fascia removed the fake spare tire bulge atop the trunk lid to make way for a squared-off protrusion that carried downward into the rear bumper. Heat, defrost, power windows, a padded dash, power seats, power steering, power brakes, and head rests were standard equipment. Vinyl roofs and an adjustable steering wheel were optional. Imperial Crown coupes adopted the small LeBaron “formal rear window” that had been introduced in 1960.
Changes for 1965 included a revised front fascia, trim changes, and replacement of the push-button automatic transmission with a steering column-mounted shift lever. The split grille was replaced by a chromed crossbar and surround with the headlights inset into the grill behind glass covers. 100-year-old Claro Walnut trim was added to the interior.
The 1966 Imperial received a revised egg-crate grille. The glass headlight covers added twin 24k gold bands around the perimeter. The trunk tire bulge was made more square. The back-up lights were moved to the rear bumper. The Claro Walnut trim was used more extensively throughout the interior. The standard 413 cubic inch engine was replaced with a 440 cubic inch 350 horsepower engine.
The Imperial would be replaced by an all new unibody model in 1967. For more on the Chrysler Imperial, see our post on the 1981-1983 Chrysler Imperial. For other classic luxury cars, see our post on the 1963-1965 Buick Riviera or the 1965-1970 Cadillac de Ville.
To find or sell a classic car, see our Classics for Sale listings.