1958 Imperial Crown for sale 101225617
1958 Imperial Crown

1958 Imperial Crown

Car for sale by Hyman LTD in Saint Louis, Missouri 63146

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Classic Car Overview

As Chrysler rolled into the 1950s they were buoyed by a booming economy and strong sales due in part to the arrival of Virgil Exner who joined the advanced styling department signaling Chryslers intention to ditch its stodgy image once and for all. To get Chrysler back at the leading edge of American style Exner first had to wrest control of the design process from the engineering department. But once he did he had free reign over the new design language. Exners appetite for European design led to a fruitful relationship with Luigi Gigi Segre of Carrozzeria Ghia in Italy. The two men worked closely together on a series of spectacular show cars and the Chrysler Ghia Specials finally putting Chryslers styled by engineers reputation to bed once and for all. The international influence spilled over into Chryslers regular production cars which were soon looking leaner more graceful and more cohesive. Exners first entirely new clean-sheet design was the flagship 1955 Imperial; the beginning of the revolutionary Forward Look Chryslers that would define American automobile design for the remainder of the decade.The new Imperial was a part of an ambitious plan to better align the flagship model with its chief rival and industry leader Cadillac. To shake the image of being fluffed-up Chryslers Imperial transitioned into a standalone division at the pinnacle of the companys line with unique styling and equipment. Vital to Imperials image-boost was the inclusion of a factory-built limousine. Here Chryslers connection with Ghia was put to good use. As a low-volume model Chrysler could not justify the cost of retooling every year but Ghia offered a skilled labor force and small-volume production capabilities.To produce the Imperial Crown Limousines Chrysler shipped partially assembled Imperial hardtop coupes on a reinforced 129-inch chassis complete Hemi drivetrains and pre-wired dashboards. Additional parts shipped alongside included a lengthened driveshaft four sedan doors heavy-duty springs and torsion bars upholstery materials and air conditioning units. Ghia modified the chassis and crafted the beautiful sweeping body by hand. Ghias craftspeople took as many as 17 hours per car just to ensure the doors fit perfectly and each Imperial was beautifully hand finished. Such attention to detail came at a price more than $15000 in 1958 with total production over the nine-year run topping out at just 132 units.This marvelous and stylish 1958 Imperial Crown Limousine is one of just 31 such examples built by Ghia in 1958 and is one of only a few known survivors. This car was delivered on April 21 1958 via Ontario Automobile Co. Limited in Toronto Ontario Canada. According to the original warranty card the first owner was the T. Eaton Co. Limited one of Canadas oldest and largest department store chains. The Eaton family were prominent socialites sometimes referred to as Canadas Royal Family and considering their stature the Imperial Crown was a natural choice of transport. Queen Elizabeth II even stayed with the Eaton family during one of her official visits to the Royal Fair and it is believed that she used this car during her stay.The Eatons owned the Imperial for many years and when their business faltered in the late 1970s the car went into storage at their summer home. The most recent owner a collector from Michigan purchased the Imperial from the Eatons in the late 1990s. After a light refurbishment he occasionally used the car for local shows but it maintained a low profile in his collection. It presents in remarkably well-preserved condition mainly unrestored excepting a respray in the original black and some selective restoration work as needed. The body and paintwork are excellent and the large heavy doors painstakingly fettled by Italian craftsmen shut with a reassuringly solid feel. The rear landau-style upholstered roof section is in excellent condition as are the bumpers and the extensive exterior brightwork.Typical of limousines of the period the drivers compartment is upholstered in leather for durability while the rear compartment features luxurious wool broadcloth fabric. In front the leather-upholstered drivers seat is well-preserved in original condition with an appropriate level of creasing in the upholstery and an attractive sheen to the leather. The elaborate Jet Age style instruments and controls are excellent originals with some light patina on the chrome fittings that are consistent with the cars highly original presentation. In the rear blue-gray fabric covers the rear bench seat door panels and two folding opera seats. Like the drivers compartment it is quite well-preserved and reflective of the cars pampered existence. Along with the jump seats other equipment includes electric windows rear clock powered glass partition and rear-compartment air conditioning.Powering the mighty Ghia-Imperial is Chryslers largest engine offering of the time - the 392 cubic-inch Hemi V8. This car has a correct Imperial-specification engine topped with a single four-barrel carburetor good for 345 horsepower in standard form. It pairs with a robust torque-flite automatic transmission with pushbutton controls for the driver and features power brakes power steering and the factory air conditioning compressor. The engine bay is tidy and well-presented with good quality painted accessories and primarily correct hardware and fittings.Thanks to Virgil Exners Forward Look and the partnership with Ghia Chrysler produced some of the most uniquely stylish and memorable automobiles of the 1950s and 1960s. With its dashing fins gun-sight taillights and sophisticated detailing the 1958 Imperial Crown limousine is the ultimate expression of Exners visionary transatlantic style. This Imperial is a superb example of Chryslers flamboyant and stylish flagship ready for enjoyment and sure to please its next caretaker. Offers welcome and trades consideredFor additional details please view this listing directly on our website https://hymanltd.com/vehicles/6541-1958-imperial-crown-limousine-by-ghia/

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Vehicle Specifications

  • VIN
    LY1 1001
  • Classic Car ID
  • Stock Number
  • Category
    American Classics
  • Body Style
  • New/Used
  • Mileage
  • Engine
  • Drivetrain
  • Transmission
  • Exterior Color
  • Custom Color

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