Junkyard Find: 1992 Chrysler Imperial

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

The most luxurious member of all the extended Chrysler K-Car family had to have been the K-based (actually Y-based, the Y being yet another variety of stretched K chassis) 1990-1993 Imperial. We’ve seen some serious Whorehouse Red interiors in this series— this ’80 Skylark, for example, or this ’83 Pulsar, or this 1993 Dynasty— but no vehicle interior this side of a Acapulco Gold-scented custom van ever came with as much screamin’ red velour as this Imperial.

It’s hard to believe that this octogenarian-targeted dreadnaught is the descendent of the tiny, sensible Aries and Reliant K-Cars of a decade earlier.

Chrysler went through periods during which the Imperial was a separate marque, but this generation was badged as a Chrysler.

Eagle medallions are all over this car.

It’s in very nice condition, as befits a 120,457-mile California car. No rust, interior in great shape, body straight. The only blemishes are some spots with peeling paint.

No Mitsubishi engine for this car— you’re looking at a Chrysler-designed, 3.8 liter 60-degree V6 here. 150 horsepower wasn’t anything special, but the car was pure Detroit.

Padded landau roof, of course!

ABS was still something special in the early 1990s.

List price on this car was $29,381, which was about $49,000 in inflation-adjusted 2013 dollars. That’s about the same price as a base 1993 Acura Legend, or a ’93 BMW 325i. Not that Imperial shoppers would have considered those cars.

There is no luxury… without engineering.

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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  • EspritdeFacelVega EspritdeFacelVega on Jul 10, 2013

    I recall seeing one of these at the 1991 Montreal auto show, where we joked about the krepitude of it and were shocked to see it listed for something like C$ 42,000. I lived in Ottawa at the time & never did see one on the roads in Canada, even though earlier Imperials, esp. the Windsor-made 80-82s, were certainly still floating around (C-bodies had all rusted away by that point). The K-Car Imperial was probably the apogee of Iacocca "these people will buy anything" cynicism about the North American market. Having said that, no one really remembers these and I would love to see the Imperial name come back someday after an appropriate statute of limitation on its exile expires....

  • Tanya Tanya on Aug 11, 2023

    I bought a 92 chrysler imperial. Only bad thing bout this car is the abs motor goin out. They no longer make this part.

    Dies anybody know where I can find 1