By on November 14, 2008

I signaled to the engine room to increase power as I hefted the helm over to full starboard to clear the iceberg curb. Just like the ill-fated Titanic, I failed; however, unlike the ill-fated luxury liner, my interstate bound ship of dreams shrugged off the concrete obstacle with only a slight disturbance of the ever present floating waft. Never had I piloted a vehicle so large and vast feeling as my Avocado Green Metallic 1967 Imperial, made by Chrysler. At 224in long, and over 5600lbs of pure American uni-bodied steel, puts the similar sized Hummer H2 to shame in its ability to show of its largess. At least the Hummer has a modicum of efficient design, not so the Imperial, one of the shining examples of the de facto “Detroit Schoolhouse of Design.”

Back then, just like now, Chrysler trailed the offerings from the other two large American automakers. It didn’t have the cache, build quality, nor sales numbers enjoyed by Cadillac and Lincoln. It didn’t matter that in 1955 Chrysler spun off the Imperial into its own brand in an attempt to persuade wealthy bankers of Dallas to part with their money. However, unlike today, the interior fittings were still stunning in their execution, especially to a teenager of the 1990’s who grew up with European sports sedans before they embraced high quality plastics. The dashboard stretched so far out to the horizon that the air vents grew hazy in the distance. Toggle switches complemented chrome plated wheels to lend an air of sophistication to someone used to the click-n-crunch buttons of a Chrysler LeBaron. If you could tear your eyes away from the tape-measure style speedo, you would find the turn-signal indicator placed way out on the front fender tips; cool, but not functional when you could barely see them in the daylight.

But who cared? This car was built for ultimate cruising, right down to the bench seats covered in leather dyed in such hideous shades it would make Baby Jesus cry. The 440 V-8 pushed out an impressive 350bhp and 480ftlbs of torque, and returned a miserable 12mpg overall. While that sounds impressive, it really wasn’t as the 0-60 times of 10 seconds are matched by a modern Prius. What the Prius doesn’t match is the ride. Oh to feel the waft of the Imperial, the sheer isolation and solitude of a big lazy car riding on whitewalls stirs nostalgic feelings of a decade I never saw. At least I was able to pretend in the big Imperial in my polyester tuxedo on the way to my Senior Prom.

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41 Comments on “Capsule Review: 1967 Chrysler Imperial...”


  • avatar
    relton

    Actually, the curb weight is closer to 4600 lbs, not 5600. About the same as a 7 series BMW or an S class MB sedan.

    The unit body of these cars was quite an enginering achievement, for the time.

    I had a number of Imperials of the 60s. Liked most of them, too.

    Bob

  • avatar

    Wonderful review of a wonderful piece of commercial art, from a decade I remember very well. The only thing that I think you got wrong had to do with quality: Chrysler Corp in those days was far more reliable than GM or Ford, to the great chagrin of a kid who worshipped GM as the One True Car Company, and suffered grievously from cognitive dissonance every time an issue of Consumer Reports came out with comparisons from the big 3, and because my powers of denial could not quite dismiss the obviousness of the quality of Chrysler products whenever I rode in them. Plus, some of them were incredibly cool-looking, especially the 1960 Valiant. By far the highest quality car my parents ever had was the 1970 Valiant (which I advised them to get, after I’d had enough cognitive dissonance and renounced my religion)–except perhaps for their last car, the 1995 Volvo 940 wagon.

    I think my favorite of the Imperials was the ’59. The guy who was responsible for bringing jazz musicians to the Kennedy Center in the ’90s (and may still be now, but I dn’ t live in DC anymore) had one, which I thought was very appropriate. Big fins, yet very graceful car.

  • avatar
    forditude

    Great review of an awful vehicle. The following review pretty much sums it up perfectly:

    http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1658498_1658026,00.html

    However, the 2009 version could potentially be compelling if Chrysler decides to go out in a blaze of glory and revives it.

    http://www.automobilemag.com/future_cars/2008/0604_2009_chrysler_imperial/index.html

  • avatar
    rpol35

    I agree with David Holzman, it’s a great review. One has to have perspective and these were great cars at the time, especially compared to what else existed and what was known about automobile technology. It’s easy to deride such vehicles when compared to today’s cars but that’s really not right. I guess you had to be there to appreciate them.

    I favored GM cars back in those days (late 60′s through late 70′s) but always had a begrudging admiration for Mopars because they were tough and no-nonsense vehicles.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    Not cache, cachet.

    BTW. Did it have any rear seat leg room? My father had a Cadillac Eldorado of about the same size and vintage, and it didn’t have any rear seat leg room. An astounding engineering achievement in my estimation.

  • avatar
    Pig_Iron

    Don’t forget that nice Torsion-Aire t-bar front suspension, and power steering effort that was so light you can just about spin the wheel lock to lock by blowing on it.

  • avatar
    Dr Lemming

    This design was effectively Imperial’s last stand. For 1967 Imperial lost its unique platform but still had distinct sheetmetal. Even though the Imperial was nicely appointed, sales still didn’t crawl out of the cellar. So with the next restyling in 1969, Imperial was forced to share a goodly portion of Chrysler sheetmetal . . . and soon became “Imperial by Chrysler.” And then disappeared with the first oil crisis of the mid-1970s.

    Imperials had their moments design-wise, but all in all Chrysler overreached by trying to compete directly against Cadillac and Lincoln. They would have been much better off trying something different, e.g., the T-Bird of that era handily outsold the Imperial despite its then-premium price.

    Ford learned a similar lesson with the Edsel. Despite spending an extraordinary amount of money to launch what was supposed to be a full-line brand, the new four-seater T-Bird actually gave the Edsel a run for its money sales-wise in 1958-59.

    The T-Bird was one of the first post-war American cars to show the potential of pioneering new market niches rather than playing follow the leader. Alas, Chrysler was so consumed with GM envy that it didn’t attempt to pioneer new markets of its own until the 1980s, when the minivan was launched.

  • avatar
    willbodine

    Chrysler never quite knew what to do about the Imperial. Like Ford, they were trying to compete with the GM 5 in every price segment in the 50s. So we had Ford vs Chevy vs Plymouth, Mercury vs Pontiac vs Dodge, Olds vs Edsel vs Desoto (boy, talk about an unnecessary niche!) Buick vs Lincoln vs Chrysler, and Cadillac vs Continental vs Imperial. With 50 – 60% market share, a little overlap wasn’t a huge problem. Fast forward to today and we see how GMs 8 brands are way too many with a 20% share.
    But I thought the 67 Imperial was seriously cool. The one pictured looks like an entry level Crown (a post sedan, yet!) but they drove mighty sweet with that 440. Incidentally, the Imperial had been body-on-frame through the 66 model year. For 67 they went unibody like the rest of the Mopar lineup. Thanks to a front sub-frame and heavily rubberized rear suspension, they were as quiet as the older ones. But apart from 57, they rarely sold more than 20K a year. (Cadillac usually sold over 100K / year.) I’m amazed that Imperial lasted as long as it did.

  • avatar

    Not only did Chrysler try to chase Cadillac and Lincoln, when they canned Virgil Exner (who styled the late-50s Chryslers) in ’61, they hired Elwood P. Engle from Ford, who’d led the design of the ’61 Lincoln Continental. Starting in ’64, the Imperial started looking an awful lot like the Continental of three years earlier, which would become a Chrysler trend — looking like a couple-year-old Ford or GM product.

  • avatar
    Axel

    Unibody?!?!?! A 1967 barge?!?!?!

  • avatar
    The_Imperialist

    The Imperialist is pleased! I remember watching “The Beverly Hillbillies” as a kid mostly to get a glimpse of Mr. Drysdale’s LeBaron (remember when car companies sponsored TV programs and EVERY car on screen — even those “extras” parked along the street — came from that manufacturer? In my opinion, the 1967-1968 Imperials were the last truly handsome models, a last gasp of elegance before 1969′s ungainly fuselage look. My own prom queen would be a 1961 LeBaron, with its stainless steel roof edges and sail panel crest made with real gold — which, BTW, obligated Chrysler to pay a federal excise tax on jewelry on every 1961 Imperial sold!

    • 0 avatar
      oldconvertiblesedans@yahoo.com

      I believe that the federal excise tax on jewelry for Imperials was
      only on LeBarons, not all Imperials of the early 1961. Sorry to
      be a nitpicker: just a passion for accuracy.

  • avatar
    Mike66Chryslers

    Toggle switches complemented chrome plated wheels to lend an air of sophistication to someone used to the click-n-crunch buttons of a Chrysler LeBaron.

    Ironically, LeBaron started out as a model of Imperial. The one pictured is a Sedan, however, not a LeBaron. It’s shameful that the Imperial and LeBaron (and Chrysler New Yorker, for that matter) names all later wound-up on K-car variants.

    @fortitude: The Time article that you pointed to is for a 1971 Imperial. Chrysler products didn’t adopt the “fuselage” styling til 1969, which is also when quality started to suffer. The ’67 looks much better, in my unabashedly biased opinion. Actually I prefer the pre-67 Imps even more.

    Regarding quality of Chrysler in the mid-60s, I think some commenters have it confused with Chrysler quality in the mid 1950′s or the 1970′s. Imperials were advertised as “the world’s most carefully built car”. The lower half of the body was also galvanized to resist corrosion.

    @Robert Schwartz: After Imperial went unibody in ’67, they were based on the Chrysler C-body fullsize platform. You could put all your hitmen in the back seat and pile all the bodies in the trunk of an Imperial. The Cadillac Eldorado was strictly a 2-door coupe based on the Oldsmobile Toronado. Those were considered “personal luxury cars”, along with the Thunderbird, Riviera and Avanti to name a few.

  • avatar
    Johnster

    Even before the Imperial lost its own unique chassis beginning with the 1967 model year, most of the people I knew just considered it to be a fancy and very expensive Chrysler that wasn’t worth the extra money. Although it had its own unique sheet metal, it still had a close family resemblance to the cheaper Chrysler New Yorkers and Newports with which it shared showroom space.

  • avatar
    Gottleib

    Cars of the 50′s and for most of the 60′s really displayed a lot of differentiation between makes and their models. Few cars actually shared engine blocks as they began doing in the 70′s and even more so now. The Imperials, Continentals and Cadillacs really did have quite individual styling as well as extras that were rarely found on any other makes. Most of them had automatic headlight dimmers, automatic climate control,am/fm radios with stereo and cruise control which didn’t really get to be popular options until the 70′s. Being larger, heavier cars than their corporate siblings these top of line cars would provide a much more comfortable ride for their occupants. Most all of the things these cars had are now common among all cars with the possible exception of the smooth ride. My favorite was the 61-65 Continentals. Very comfortable and very stylish.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    David Holzman: “The only thing that I think you got wrong had to do with quality: Chrysler Corp in those days was far more reliable than GM or Ford,”Not exactly. While Mopar drivetrains were bullet-proof in comparison, the body integrity wasn’t nearly as good and had an alarming tendancy to deteriorate much faster than the competition, particularly in the rust-belt.

  • avatar
    geeber

    1960s Mopars had uneven build quality. It got better after 1962, but then began sliding again after 1965.

    The build quality of the full-size cars really fell off with the 1969 fuselage models.

    Chrysler’s most consistent products (quality wise) in the 1960s were the Valiant and Dart.

    And the Imperial was a depreciation queen in the 1960s. Chrysler was charging Cadillac prices for the Imperial, but the public didn’t view it as being equal to a Cadillac…or even a Lincoln Continental.

    A 1960s Imperial was a better value as a used car.

  • avatar
    tced2

    I had the privilege of driving a 1967 Imperial Sedan that belonged to my grandfather. I also drove GM mid and luxury cars of that era (Buick/Olds/Caddy). My recollection was that the Imperial handled better than the GM cars of the era.

    I also remember the interior was very much prior to the “plastic” era. Real metal door pulls. A metal door covered with real wood veneer that would close over the radio. A floor-mounted pushbutton that could be used to tune the radio. A full set of gauges with sort of a master-idiot-light that would warn you if any gauge was not normal.

    Even though it was diminished by previous Imperial standards – still a special large car. It was Haze Green Metallic with a green cloth interior.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    The 1955 Imperial is my favorite. It was based on three ceremonial Virgil Exner styled 1952 Chrysler Imperial Parade Phaetons. Chrysler styling went nuts after that with quad headlights and mile-high fins.

    http://rde.me/BO

    http://rde.me/BP

  • avatar
    menno

    I had a 1967 Chrysler Newport Custom bought for $700, in 1981. The 1965-1968 Chryslers, particularly, seemed to last forever even up here in northern Michigan with the salted roads (unlike the 1957 Chrysler products which evaporated before the car payments had finished – i.e. 24 months).

    The car (similar to the 4 door sedan Imperial above) had a 383 and was HUGE, comfortable, but could only get about 16 mpg (maybe 13 in town, no more than 18 on the highway at 55mph).

    It had so much character, we came to call it “Martha”. Traded it off in 1982, more fool me, and in fact still saw it driving around the area as late as 5-6 years ago! In daily use!

    Should have kept it.

  • avatar
    Johnster

    The ’57 through ’66 Imperials that had their own unique chassis must have had something going for them because for many years they were banned from competing in demolition derbies. I guess they were so well-built that they could were not significantly damaged by other cars, yet they could inflict a lot of damage to the competition.

    Maybe this is indicative of nothing in particular, but I don’t recall ever hearing of any other makes of cars being banned.

  • avatar
    DIYer

    My first car was a 1967 Imperial Lebaron which I bought used for $600 in 1973. It was black with a black vinyl top, and it had an dark olive green leather interior. It had a 383 2 barrel and got about 10 mpg. The car looked good, but I discovered it had lots of rust which had been filled with bondo and painted, and the rear floorboards were also rusted through and water would come up when it rained. The rear wheel wells had skirt covers which were fastened with hooked rods that held them in place. The transmission went out on it in 1975 and the vehicle went to the junkyard. I currently have a 1967 Cadillac Eldorado in good condition, and it is superior to the Imperial in ride quality and driveability, but it is not as big nor does it have 4 doors.

    • 0 avatar
      oldconvertiblesedans@yahoo.com

      The engine that was installed by the factory in your ’67 Imperial was a 440. From ’59 to ’65, they were 413s. Prior to that were the
      Hemis.

  • avatar
    1998S90

    How many bodies will fit in that trunk… I mean, if you had to go to the mattresses.

  • avatar
    Mike66Chryslers

    My first car was a 1967 Imperial Lebaron …. It had a 383 2 barrel

    If that is true, then it was NOT the original drivetrain. ALL Imperials at that time came with a 440 4-bbl, and Chrysler never put a 2-bbl intake manifold on the 440 either.*

    * I think there were some earlier 413 and 383 “RB” engines that came with a 2-bbl carb. Those rare intakes are the only ones available that would allow one to mount a 2-bbl onto a 440.

  • avatar
    f1guyus

    Glad to see someone mention the 59 Imperial. Great car once you got over the sheer size of the thing.

    One of my buddies had one and due to a late night encounter with the Highway Patrol his DL was suspended, shredded and incinerated. Result being I spent a lot of time behind the wheel of this tank.

    Used to make it from San Jose to where I lived in the Central Valley going through two towns and one small city in about 20 minutes more than the same trip takes me now 100% on freeways.

    Amazing how much ground you can cover at 110mph or so.

  • avatar
    John B

    Jay Leno has a video and test drive of a ’67 Imperial in his garage.
    http://www.jaylenosgarage.com/video/video_player.shtml?vid=218789

    The best cars my parents had back in the 60′s were the Dodge Dart and Plymouth Belvedere convertible- and he used to be a Ford guy.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    Johnster: “The ‘57 through ‘66 Imperials that had their own unique chassis must have had something going for them because for many years they were banned from competing in demolition derbies. I guess they were so well-built that they could were not significantly damaged by other cars, yet they could inflict a lot of damage to the competition.”A fascinating bit of trivia and, evidently, quite true. Up thru 1966, while the rest of Chrysler’s autos had been switched over to unibody construction, the Imperial got to retain its full perimeter frame with cross members forming a large ‘x’ in the middle. I guess this was the primary reason they were nearly impossible to kill of in the derbys and why they were ultimately banned.

    The only problem with those old cars and their stout body-on-frame construction is that with the lack of modern crumple zones that unibody construction affords, the shock of any impact is not absorbed but transmitted straight into the passenger compartment to the occupants. IOW, the cars would survive low speed impacts relatively unscathed, but the passengers might not.

    On an unrelated note, as someone else mentioned Mr. Drysdale’s LeBaron from The Beverly Hillbillies, does anyone remember the car known as The Black Beauty that the Green Hornet was chauffered around in by a young Bruce Lee as Kato in the television series? Now that was a cool 1966 Imperial.

    • 0 avatar
      Grey13Shadow

      Except if your driving a 1967 Imperial today and hit some modern car with a “crumple zone” you can just buff out the scrap on the chrome bumper of the Imperial with some rubbing compound, whereas, the modern car will probably be a write off.

  • avatar
    ihatetrees

    1998S90 :
    How many bodies will fit in that trunk… I mean, if you had to go to the mattresses.

    +1. I flashed between visuals of Sonny & Stringer Bell.

  • avatar
    pb35

    I grew up in a Chrysler family. My mom had a 62 Imperial coupe with the 413. Pushbutton trans that was always breaking. I remember my Dad ripped the horn off of the huge oval steering wheel one day. Good times. Later, my older brother had a 73 Imp that would overheat constantly; every body panel was dented. My first car was a 68 Belvedere.

    Thanks for your review, Mike. I enjoyed it.

  • avatar
    NickR

    For those of you feeling nostalgic there’s a nice example of a 68 two door for sale locally (toronto) for a paltry $3,700 Canadian. Go for it Mike.

  • avatar
    DIYer

    It is very possible that my 1967 Imperial did not have the original motor – the title for the vehicle was very dubious. The garage that had the title was located in the Cass Corridor of Detroit (a very bad area) and was called “Dirty Red’s Used Car Emporium” – for a sign a it had a piece of old cardboard in the window that had “Dirty Red’s” written in pencil. The fellow who sold me the car also had a second vehicle for sale – a Plymouth Fury painted orange with a black vinyl top for $800. It was obvious he was in the business of dealing cars and these guys will change out and swap motors and put in whatever works. I recall spraying out the carburetor and it only had 2 barrels.

  • avatar
    impcrown

    This is obviously written by someone who has a substantial anti-Imperial bias- maybe even an anti-Chrysler Corporation bias.
    Thanks to the very impressive Torsion-Aire front suspension, Imperial did NOT “float”, nor “waft”.It was well known for almost sports-car like handling, unlike the wallowing of both Cadillac and Lincoln. “Uncle Tom” McCahill, the legendary tester for Mechanix Illustrated, said, among other positive things, that the Imperial “cornered at speed flatter than a tournament billiard-table”, and he knew better than other testers, since he drove Imperials from coast-to-coast most, if not ALL years, and chose to own and drive them himself.
    Someone already mentioned the correct spelling of “cachet”- also, “largess” has nothing to do with “large”; Largess refers to generous or liberal giving, as in “charity”.
    Efficient design? Hummer?!? That is not design- that’s an ugly square truck that looks like it was welded [badly] together out of leftover appliance parts. Efficient design should include some small bow to aerodynamics- at least when pushing something with motor and wheels through the air.
    At least in the mid-fifties to mid/late sixties, Detroit offered DESIGN- some good, some not so good (witness the ’57 and ’59 Chevys). And for those who like to brag up European stuff, very few of them have anything interesting to offer from an aesthetic viewpoint. Mercedes obviously hasn’t even HAD a body-design department for many years; the last good-looking Mercedes was the late sixties to ’71 two-seater, and before that, the early forties models. Virgil Exner’s offerings were sometimes outlandish, but NEVER boring nor un-interesting.
    Some of us LIKE fins and sparrow-strainer taillights- they, along with rectangular steering-wheels, push-button transmission-controls, free-standing headlights, and hidden door-compartments are loved by Imperial owners. I would rather drive my ’63 Imperial with the cornered wheel and push-buttons for hours at a time than anything with a miniature round wheel and the conventional lever. And I’ve never had a problem with the push-buttons on ANY of the fifteen-plus ’57 to ’64 Imps I’ve owned and driven hundreds of thousands of miles.
    Yes, Imperial trailed Cadillac and Lincoln in sales (they did pass Lincoln once or twice, I believe), but they were also more exclusive and better cars- you can’t build 130,000 Cadillacs Chevy assembly-line style and come out with the same sort of car as one that is turned out in much smaller quantity and with greater attention to detail. My fifties and early sixties Imps have filled, leaded seams and thicker metal, and more impressive details in countless other areas.
    The quality of interior fittings is also much more impressive than same-year Cadillacs (and most Lincolns after ’69)
    Ugly coloured interiors? No car from any of the Big Three was exempt from the horrors of various shades of olive green in the late sixties and early seventies.
    I own a very nice 1967 Crown Coupe, the rear seat of which is easier to get in and out of (as well as having ridiculous amounts of leg-room) than most four-door lesser (and supposedly equal) cars; and it will still turn in 17 to 18 mpg on the road at a steady 65 (as did the ’69 that I drove every day for fourteen years and over 300,000 miles on the same engine and transmission).
    As for 0 to 60 acceleration- the Imperial’s performance out of the blocks is quite impressive for a nearly two-and-three-quarter-ton luxury car, and it will cruise all day at most ANY speed you choose without feeling it- all while actually being FUN to drive on twisty roads, thanks to the afor-mentioned suspension. In a car of this type, designed to move the discriminating owner from place to place with efficiency and comfort, Imperials have always been MORE than up to the task- all without spilling the tea!

    • 0 avatar
      oldconvertiblesedans@yahoo.com

      “impcrown” wrote well here; but I cannot bring myself to believe
      after owning 5 or 6 Imperials that ANY Imperial EVER got more than
      15.4 mpg, unless it was cruising at a constant 54 mph max.

      While I liked my Imperials, I didn’t get much longevity from the
      wedge-block engines. [The 413s are a bit smoother than the 440s,
      in my opinion.] And while the Imps handled better than Brand X
      and Brand Y competition, they were not in the class of real good-
      handling, smaller vehicles.

      Interestingly, the Imps were more like the Cads than the Lincolns,
      which were much more expensive to maintain: water pumps, fuel
      pumps, ball joints, etc.. The Lincolns DID have the best power
      steering system, though not the best steering of the vehicle.

      I concur that the styling of the ’67s (& ’68s) were “nothing to
      write home about”, at least they didn’t have those #%&*@ water
      leaks between the back window and the panel between in and the
      trunk. Every one that I had leaked there, except maybe the
      one from North Carolina.

    • 0 avatar
      oldconvertiblesedans@yahoo.com

      “impcrown” wrote well here; but I cannot bring myself to believe
      after owning 5 or 6 Imperials that ANY Imperial EVER got more than
      15.4 mpg, unless it was cruising at a constant 54 mph max.

      While I liked my Imperials, I didn’t get much longevity from the
      wedge-block engines. [The 413s are a bit smoother than the 440s,
      in my opinion.] And while the Imps handled better than Brand X
      and Brand Y competition, they were not in the class of real good-
      handling, smaller vehicles (like the small BMW 1600 or 2002).

      Interestingly, the Imps were more like the Cads than the Lincolns,
      which were much more expensive to maintain: water pumps, fuel
      pumps, ball joints, etc.. The Lincolns DID have the best power
      steering system, though not the best steering of the vehicle.

      I concur that the styling of the ’67s (& ’68s) were “nothing to
      write home about”, at least they didn’t have those #%&*@ water
      leaks between the back window and the panel between it and the
      trunk on the ’64 – ’66 ones. Every one that I had leaked there, except maybe the one from North Carolina.

  • avatar
    Imperialist67

    Your review is entertaining, but (among other things) your color descriptions, and culture references are from the 70′s, not 1967, and don’t seem specific to an Imperial.

    The pictured car is haze green, not avocado. That wasn’t available until (I think) 1972. Polyester tuxedos became prevalent in the mid-70′s, and weren’t around in much 1967. Your handling/driving impressions would be said about ANY full-size 60′s, or even 70′s full size car, but are actually LESS true about the Imperial than comparable Lincolns or Cadillacs.

    The heaviest Imp (fully loaded LeBaron) of 1967 weighed in at around 4900 lbs, not 5600. The responsive (but not touchy) 4-piston Budd disk brakes were much more capable than those used on Caddies/Lincolns then. Torsion bar suspension gave them MUCH tighter cornering, and surer roadabiliy. In 14 years of driving mine, it never felt like it was floating. I can enjoy driving it on both navigate on mountain roads I would NEVER take a comparable Lincoln or Cadillac on, and the responsive steering/suspension make it MUCH less stressful in city traffic.

    Like all 60′s cars, there were some “interesting” colors out there (especially compared to today’s bland offerings) but the “hideous shades that would make baby Jesus cry” were a number of years off, and usually not available on Imperials (outside of avocado and goldenrod) anyway. The 1967 Imperial color chart includes none of them.

    Chrysler’s offerings in that era were often AHEAD of the other companies, not trailing them. While they never quite learned how to market the Imperial, it was nonetheless an excellent car. Their marketing attempts were no less “attempts to persuade bankers in Dallas to party with their money” than those used by the rest of Detroit.

    Chrysler had their build quality issues in the 50′s, but by 1967 they were probably the best built cars in Detroit. The Imperial unibody chassis was tight as a drum. Build quality on these cars was second to none. My ’67 LeBaron is now 43 years old, and has 83K miles, it glides along in bank vault silence. Interior fittings are well designed, elegantly executed, and easy to use. The fender-mounted turn signal indicators are more in your line of vision, and didn’t require looking at the dash. I never have trouble seeing mine.

    Not sure why you’re deriding the gas mileage, fuel economy (especially in the “fine car” class) was not an issue in 1967. Actually, when tuned properly, on the interstate these cars have been known to get up to 16-17 MPG. Not bad for a 440 moving a 4900 lb. car. Mileage was comparable to any fullsize car of its era. Acceleration is quite impressive, I often leave euro-sedans in the dust when exiting the toll plaza.

    As far as the design goes, the elegant, smooth linear design of this car has worn much better than other vintage cars over the years. Here we are writing about it 40-some years later, will we do this with a Hummer?

    This was an entertaining review, THANKS for posting, but aside from a single compliment, it’s unfortunate that you’re (incorrectly) singling out Imperial in what is basically a condescending look at 60′s (or 70′s would be more like it?)luxury cars.

    And when going to the prom in your polyester tuxedo? That would be in an AMC Matador, not a ’67 Imperial.

  • avatar
    mr.auto

    Imperials only came with 440 4 barrel engines from 1966-70′s..
    413 4 barrel from 1959-1965..

    Are you sure the 440 was running on all 8 cyl..? They run smooth andstrong running on 6 cyl..Never timed the 440 Imperial I had on the lot,440,4bbl,3.23 axle,felt stonger than the 2005 Audi A-4 I was driving at the time,felt like a high 6 second-7 second range car..I checked the comp..solid 135 on all 8,not a rebuild either..I am in my 30′s and love old cars..I have bought and sold many cars of all vintage and the old Chrysler cars with a 440 from 1971 and older spin the tires from the start,so it lowers the 0-60 time,once you master it they haul !!

  • avatar
    oldconvertiblesedans@yahoo.com

    Please see my comment(s) toward the end of the review of the 1960
    Imperial on this blog; said submittal addresses some of the things
    discussed here. Perhaps the biggest challenge for an Imperial
    owner is guys trying to sell you parts for a New Yorker: while
    some things are the same, plenty of critical things are NOT. At
    least, parts for a ’67 Imperial are reasonable (though the four-
    piston calipers and rotors are pricey).

    So that all know, I’ve owned five Imperials, including a ’67 LeBaron; so I think that I’m qualified to present some option based upon experience [and similar experience with Brand X and Brand Y American heavyweights from thesame 60s era].

    BTW, I know of a super-nice ’67 Crown 4-dr. hrdtp for sale: e-mail
    me at the above address.

    To the intial reviewer, Mike S.: your state may assign a weight
    for your car based upon total capacity: weight of car, plus six
    passengers, and a full trunk load. Thus, your registration may
    say 5,600 lbs. or so . . . but that’s for tax purposes OR pricing
    the cost of the plates, which some state did or do according to
    the “GVWR”, as it were, of the car. A ’67 Imperial actually
    weighs about 4875 lbs or so, empty but with full load of fluids:
    it’s not over three tons plus.

    Now, to the discussion as to when was the last real Imperial: I
    believe that it was a gradual thing. I have a friend that thinks,
    as do some, that ’66 was the last year of the real ones. But while said year was the last year of separate-body-and-frame design, does
    that mean that 1959 Mopars in general were that last real Mopars?
    And, yes, even Chrysler Corporation had a designation for the pre-
    ’67 Imperials, calling them the “D” body. {Surprise!]

    Yet may I say that it was not until the ’74 model that Imperial had
    the same wheelbase as the other Chryslers. Then, there’s another
    possible standard: the corporation itself considered the Imperial
    to be a separate make (marque) from ’55 to ’70, both inclusive.

    Then there’s the “styling” argument. Obviously, it was the ’69
    Imperial in which the Imp REALLY began to rememble the regular
    Chryslers. Does this mean that ’68 was the last real Imperial?
    After all, styling and looks are very significant and important.

    Therefore, what is the standard that should be used? I believe
    that there is no consensus on this issue. Personally, I think
    that it should be “extended” at least through ’68; yet I can also
    accept the “wheelbase argument”. But if I do, then I think that
    I’m a bit obligated to accept through the end of the 1975 model
    year. I propose that ’75 IS the last REAL Imperial because the
    early 1980s jobs and the early 90s FWDs are simply so far from the
    CONCEPT of an IMPERIAL that they cannot be regarded as legitimate:
    they are not legitimately Imperials, in my final opinion.

    What say others?

  • avatar
    Grey13Shadow

    I don’t know about all the actual technical and engineering details of what makes the 1967 Imperial truely different from other Chryslers, but I just know that Dad’s 1965 Chrysler Windsor couldn’t hold a candle to his 1967 Imperial Crown four door hardtop. I took my driver’s licence test in the Imperial, and I drove it from time to time from 1971 until 1983 when he sold it (still in excellent mechanical condition with absolutely not the slightest hint of rust and all accesories still working perfectly). I have owned and driven modern luxury sport sedans (Acura, Infiniti, etc. over the past decade, and still, I can’t compare them with the 1967 Imperial. I remember driving this car from Toronto Canada to Conneticutt in 1974 to visit a fairly new girlfriend, and at 90 MPH it held the road perfectly, and gave 100% confidence in terms of handling and performance. I’ve driven this car through secondary “twistys” in northern Ontario (the way they were in the late 1970′s – not like modern straigthened “safe” mandated roads we have today), pushing the limits of its handling, and for such a big, long, heavy car, I never felt any lack of confidence. And that 440, with the 4 barrel carburetor made that car move when you needed it (maybe some moderm cars would beat it from 0 – 60, but with 480 ft/lbs. of torque and 350 hp, above 70 mph, I would like to see some modern day “buzz bombs” keep up with it from 70 – 125 mph (just try that one and see who lags behind). You have to have actually driven this car to understand what it was like – nothing I have driven since can remotely compare – including the Mercedes C350 I rented in Switzerland back in 1986).

  • avatar
    Grey13Shadow

    And just to make another point, you cannot compare a mid-1960s car with a some choked off, pollution controlled car from the early 1970s to the early 1980s when the American car manufacturers finally started to learn how to make engines with power that didn’t pollute. To the point, my 1980 Pontiac Grand Prix with a 4.3 liter V-8 probably barely made 110 hp (maybe less) and my 1978 Chevrolet Malibu with a 3.3 litre V-6 probably barely made 75 hp. My 1981 Mazda RX-7 made more horsepower than either of them with only about 0.95 litre of displacement in a rotary engine. American cars through most of the 1970s and early 1980s can only be described as “pathetic, asthmatic, losers” with the exception of a few early 1970s muscle cars (and even they got choked off in the mid to late 1970s because Detroit just didn’t know how to make a strong engine that didn’t pollute).


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