The Chrysler Imperial, introduced in 1926, was the company's top of the range vehicle for much of its history. Models were produced with the Chrysler name until 1954, and again from 1990 to 1993. The company positioned the cars as a prestige marque that would rival Cadillac and Lincoln. According to a feature article in AACA's magazine The adjective ‘imperial’ according to Webster’s Dictionary means sovereign, supreme, superior or of unusual size or excellence. The word imperial thus justly befits Chrysler’s highest priced quality model
In 1955 Chrysler spun off the Imperial as its own separate marque in an attempt to compete directly with the Cadillac and Lincoln luxury marques offered by General Motors and Ford, respectively, rather than the traditional Chrysler competitors Buick and Oldsmobile. Chrysler introduced Forward Look Styling by Virgil Exner, who would define Imperial's look (and the look of cars from the other four Chrysler divisions) from 1955 to 1963.The 1955 models are said to be inspired by Exner's own 1952 Chrysler Imperial Parade Phaeton show cars. The bodyshell was shared with that year's big Chryslers, but the Imperial had a wide-spaced split eggcrate grille (also used on the Chrysler 300 "executive hot rod") and "gunsight" taillights mounted above the rear quarters. Models included a two-door Newport hardtop coupe (3,418 built) and a four-door sedan (7,840 built). The engine was Chrysler's first-generation Hemi V8 with a displacement of 331 cu in (5.4 L) and developing 250 brake horsepower (186 kW). The only major option on the 1955 and 1956 Imperials was air conditioning, at a cost of $535. Production totaled 11,430, more than twice the 1954 figure, but far below Lincoln and Cadillac.
This extremely rare and desirable Southhampton Coupe is one of just over 1,000 produced in 1962. Sporting the highly desirable Exposed Headlights and Bombsite tailights, this car oozes the late 50's/early 60's flamboyance like few other cars can. Finished in a very nice Gold with matching interior, the car was held in a very nice large collection here in the area for many years. The car appears largely original and has a few bumps and bruises but is overall quite solid with only minor rust noted. The car is fully loaded with Air Conditioning, power windows, 6 way power seats, and more. The car runs and shifts well but will need the brake system overhauled. The interior, particularly the drivers side arm rest bolster will need some work although the material is there.
Priced and sold as a project, this car would be relatively easy to get back on the road and improve over time.