Rare Rides Icons: The History of Imperial, More Than Just a Car (Part X)

This 10th installment of our Imperial coverage finds us at a turning point in its styling. Virgil Exner had been fired but was allowed to stay on as a design consultant at Chrysler. Exner’s immediate replacement was Elwood Engel, who’d designed the 1961 Lincoln Continental and then jumped ship when he was not promoted at Ford. Chrysler execs wanted out of Exner’s winged, googly-eyed stylistic cave, and Engel took the aged D-body in a very different direction for 1964.

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Rare Rides Icons: The History of Imperial, More Than Just a Car (Part IX)

Today marks the ninth installment in our history of Imperial, as the calendar flips over to 1961. The second generation Imperial is not quite to the middle of its tenure on its own platform, the D-body. Virgil Exner imposed a wild new styling direction on Imperial for 1960 that was both outlandish visually, and heavy-handed in its execution. “More of that,” said Exner for ’61.

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Rare Rides Icons: The History of Imperial, More Than Just a Car (Part VIII)

We continue our Rare Rides Icons series on Imperial today. Starting in 1957, Chrysler’s then-separate luxury arm spent more and more time on bold styling, and less on the hand-built quality for which the company’s first cars in 1955 and 1956 were known.

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Rare Rides Icons: The History of Imperial, More Than Just a Car (Part VII)

Today’s installment of the Imperial series is our seventh and coincides with the seventh generation Imperial. Officially it was the second-generation car under the new Imperial marque, an independent arm of Chrysler launched in 1955 to compete with the likes of Lincoln and Cadillac. The move to independence brought with it a resurgence of interest in the brand, as the Exner styled ’55 and ’56 Imperials stood out from the rest of Chrysler’s offerings visually, and in terms of quality and luxury. We pick up in 1957 when it was time for another new Imperial.

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Rare Rides Icons: The History of Imperial, More Than Just a Car (Part VI)

Our Rare Rides Icons series on the Chrysler Imperial picks up today at perhaps the most pivotal time in Imperial’s history. As the model’s fifth generation concluded in 1954, Chrysler was also concluding development of its big secret plans for Imperial: A new luxury brand of exclusivity and prestige.

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Rare Rides Icons: The History of Imperial, More Than Just a Car (Part V)

Our history of the Imperial series continues today, as Part V coincides with the dawn of the Fifties. Imperial wasn’t in the best place after its long-lived fourth-generation model was parted by the cruel reality of World War II.

But Chrysler was determined to launch the Imperial of the Fifties in a big way, with more body style availability, the return of two wheelbases, and new technology.

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Rare Rides Icons: The History of Imperial, More Than Just a Car (Part IV)

After its successful introduction in the Twenties, an Airflow-shaped misstep in the Thirties, and a return to its earlier formula in the latter part of that decade, big changes were in order for the new Imperial of the 1940s.

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Rare Rides Icons: The History of Imperial, More Than Just a Car (Part III)

Our series on Imperial continues today, after a strong start in the coachbuilt Twenties turned into a big aerodynamic flop in the Thirties with the Airflow Imperial. The error in judgment was immediately apparent; the Imperial with groundbreaking styling lasted only three model years.

Chrysler was determined to start Imperial over, and in its third generation returned to a much more conservative large luxury car template.

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Rare Rides Icons: The History of Imperial, More Than Just a Car (Part II)

Rare Rides Icons continues the history of Imperial today, after Part I left us neatly at what would become an unfortunate aerodynamic turning point. Ready for some Airflow?

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Piston Slap: The Times They Are A-Changin'

TTAC Commentator NoChryslers writes:

Enjoy the website very much… so here are some questions.

  1. Why are interior and exterior color choices so limited right now? You have to pay extra for anything special. (Even then, good luck getting the carpet to match the drapes — SM) Seems to have started in the ’90s and we’ve been grayscale ever since!
  2. What happened to all of the convertibles?
  3. How do we stop the SUV/crossover tsunami?

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  • Cleve Palmer 10 days ago my 2021 Limited Eco Diesel, almost caused me to collide with other veicles as I tried to get to the side of the road as the veicle lost power, engine shut down with no warning, other that sputtering.Vehicle Just turned 13,500 miles. Dealer says Fuel pump failed, metal debris in Fuel System, Oil not yet checked for metal fragmants. Says parts unavailable, could take 2 months to get, only 1.5 days to repair. How can they do a recall with no parts?
  • NormSV650 Everyone is partnering to make batteries in North America today, except the Japanese.
  • Arthur Dailey "A massive chrome bumper" listed on the brochure/ad as a selling/design feature. How I miss 1970s auto design.
  • Master Baiter Taycan a massive success?
  • Robert Levins I love the Stutz lavish luxury designs but this one has a tough time blending “Squared” off 1980’s roof line with previous decades of beautiful sweeping fenders, hoods, and deck lids. I do like this one for what it is, I admire it. I can see this model doing well with the big oil Saudis and such. If I had a lot money and wanted a”Stutz” car I would most likely not be buying this one.