This was the quintessential luxury car
Ward & June Cleaver…Ozzie & Harriet Nelson…for those of you old enough to remember these TV icons, can also remember a REAL automobile. The name “Imperial” was a revered luxury sedan from one of the formidable big three US automakers. Ford had the Lincoln…GM had the Cadillac…and Chrysler had the Imperial. Life was good. These automobiles were a city block long and half a city block wide.
The Imperial was a Flagship positioned as a car of eminent prestige. By the 1967 model year, the Imperial was refined to excellence offering two distinctive trim levels. Imperial Crown was the ultra-luxurious “base” model that was equal in stature to the Lincoln Continental and the Cadillac Fleetwood. However…it was the LeBaron that epitomized the Imperial escalating it to near limousine dignity –
The Imperial Crown was a motorcar of distinction. It was available as a two-door hardtop coupe, an elegant convertible, a four-door pillared sedan, and a four-door hardtop sedan. The 1967 Imperial Crown hardtop sedan synthesized elegance with a contemporary sporting appeal. From its massive front end styling to the custom tailored rear end design, it was totally unique setting the stage for a dramatic entrance on any occasion.
The Imperial by Chrysler was an independent make in 1955 when it was introduced and registered as a separate brand from the Chrysler brand name. The Imperial was the quintessential luxury car built from 1955 until 1975. It was revamped in 1981 and built until 1983.
In 1967, the Chrysler Corporation began using Unibody construction. The 1967 Imperial maintained the styling cues Elwood Engel used to create the 1964-1966 Imperials. It was built on the Unibody “C” platform used by other full-size Mopars. The switch to Unibody construction was a more cost efficient measure than tooling an assembly line dedicated to the Imperial brand solely. This replaced the platform the Imperial had been using since 1957. The new Unibody platform had a significant weight reduction as well as interior and exterior dimensions. The wheelbase was reduced to 127” but the 1967 Imperial was still luxury-length at 224.7”.
The 1967 Imperial’s silhouette was long and authoritative which was a Chrysler hallmark. The Imperial four-door hardtop sedan appeared even longer than it was. Elwood Engle had flair with large luxury cars, as witnessed by his 1964-1966 Imperials with their stunning design. The 1960s TV show “The Green Hornet” used a car called “The Black Beauty” which was based on the 1966 Chrysler Imperial.
The 1967 Imperial was equally impressive bumper to bumper; the design was sweeping without a lot of gaudy trim. Style code #YM43 Imperial Crown hardtop sedan had a base price of $5,836…well, if you think this is obscenely expensive, the Flagship version called the LeBaron had a base price of $6,661…naughty! The 1967 Chrysler Imperial was available in 22 colors, 16 of which were metallic.
The styling retained the sharp knife-blade fenders running the entire length of the architecture. The Imperial now used cornering lamps; they were prominently placed into each front fender giving it a more distinguished air. The ersatz spare tire bulge on the rear deck lid was gone forever. Full width taillamps spanned the rear of this land yacht tastefully. And the finishing touch – fender skirts – added to the car’s poised dignity.
The Imperial shared the Unibody platform with other full-size Chrysler products but retained a unique bodyshell. The design refresh was intended to make the Imperial look more like a Chrysler than a Lincoln. The Imperial was the absolute superlative in luxury sedans. It was made for the aristocratic clientele. There were only 9,415 Imperial Crown hardtop sedans built for the 1967 model year.
The 1967 Imperial Crown four-door hardtop sedan had an interior as elegant and sophisticated as its exterior. Genuine wood accents throughout complimented the opulent fabric and leather selections. It came standard with all of the luxury amenities of the period. An Imperial was so posh and effortlessly automatic that all one had to do was steer and operate the pedals…the car did almost everything else for the driver. Ample head and leg room made long journeys enjoyable allowing the passengers to arrive refreshed. The Imperial’s interior was sumptuously appointed. It was like driving your living room…but then, that was typical of every American car back then – they were all huge!
The elegantly trimmed walnut accents on the dash have doors to conceal radio controls and the ash receptacle. If you have ever been in an Imperial you appreciate the little things such as all of the cigar lighters in the car being canted slightly towards the user to make each more convenient. The deeply cushioned 50/50 twin comfort lounge seats were just that – the foam padding had foam padding on top of it…now, add more foam to that! The front seats reminded me of a sectional (modular) sofa; with them being triple-padded…and the car moving with such imperceptible operation…you gracefully “float” over any road surface…this tank smashed road surfaces flat giving its passengers one of the most luxurious rides ever offered by a full-size traditional automobile.
The front seats could be adjusted into twin armchairs with individual folding armrests. The “sofa” could also be positioned as a recliner for the front seat passenger. Each door has a hinged armrest that concealed a deep storage compartment.
The Imperial Crown four-door hardtop sedan came standard with a luxurious Jacquard cloth with leather interior. An all-leather trim version was available in nine shades. The seats have vinyl bolsters with an engraved Imperial eagle. With either selection…Chrysler remembered why one purchases a luxury car: luxury –
Standard equipment for the 1967 Imperial Crown hardtop sedan includes: power steering & brakes (disc front, drum rear), power windows, heater (remember, this is 1967), automatic transmission, electric clock, 3-speed windshield wipers, genuine walnut trim, and remote control outside rearview mirror.
Popular options for the 1967 model year includes: Tilt-A-Scope steering wheel, vinyl roof treatment, power vent windows, Auto-Pilot Speed Control, AM/FM Stereo radio w/power antenna, floor tuning switch for radio, new front or front and rear air conditioning, automatic headlamp control, rear window defogger, and 3-ribbon white wall tires.
The 1967 Imperials are powered by the formidable 7.2 litre 440 CID 16-valve Wedge-Head OHV V8 engine that cranked 350 hp @ 4,400 rpm with 651 Nm of peak torque @ 2,800 rpm. It is equipped with a Holley R-3667A 4-bbl carburetor; the 2nd barrels were mechanically controlled, automatic choke, and mechanical fuel pump. This normally aspirated engine is mated to a 3-speed TorqueFlite A727 automatic transmission with planetary gearset and torque converter. As you may see, the Imperial is a luxury sedan with the heart of a true MOPAR –
Longitudinal acceleration is rated as 0-60 mph in 9.4 seconds, 0-100 mph in 27.5 seconds, and 0-110 mph in 41 seconds. It can do the ¼ mile @ 84 mph in 16.9 seconds. Its top speed without governor is 121 mph.
Special Thanks to Rodd Sala at Park Ward Motors Museum
A Chrysler at one time was a high-end luxury car. The Imperial was the Flagship model. Available as a coupe, convertible coupe, sedan, and hardtop sedan, the Crown was the base model that was just as elegant as the competition. Its luxury rivaled that of the Lincoln Continental and Cadillac Fleetwood. The Chrysler Imperial was a revered luxury sedan with a poised dignity. Powered by the ferocious 440 CID V8 turned it into an “executive hotrod.”
It had the grace of a luxury sedan with the brute-force of a performance car. The interior offered an elegantly spacious ambience of luxury. The bold & beautiful 1967 Chrysler Imperial was quite impressive from its authoritative front end styling to its custom tailored rear end design. An Imperial reeked dignity; it was a superlative among the world’s finest automobiles. The Chrysler Imperial is highly sought among collectors world-wide.
1967 Chrysler Imperial Crown 4-door hardtop sedan