Five years ago, before Curbside Classic existed, and before I knew that other people enjoyed finding old and interesting cars just as much as I did, I came across this 1967 Imperial Crown Coupe. It was located at an auto repair shop that housed a number of cars I’d later come to know as “Curbside Classics.” I rarely drove by this site, located in Quincy, MA, a neighboring town to Milton, where I was living in 2009, but one sunny August day, this big ’67 Imperial caught my eye and I pulled over for a closer look.
It was a rare occasion when I had my digital camera on me (this was before I owned an iPhone), and I snapped up a few quick pictures before going on my way. I was so proud of my find that I even uploaded one of the photos to Wikipedia as a way to share it with the world. Thankfully, we now have a dedicated place to share our finds with Curbside Classic.
This Imperial will always hold a special place in my heart as the car that kicked off my search for curbside classics and is especially befitting of this distinction. 1967 was my favorite model year, and despite only 3,235 examples produced, the Crown Coupe was the second-most popular Imperial of that year. I’ve been into cars my whole life, but as for curbside classics, here’s to the car that started it all!
Elwood Engel’s Mopar masterpiece!I think it looks nicer than his more well known Lincoln.
Glass half full – glass half empty. The Crown Coupe was actually the second best-selling Imperial that year, after the Crown Southampton (4-door hardtop).
The 67 Imperials are among my favorites (and I have a lot of favorite Imperials). A girl I went all through public school with had a mother with great taste in cars. She had a 64 LeBaron, black with red leather, and traded it for a 67 LeBaron, dark gray with red leather. She must have loved that car because she drove it for 20 years, before trading for a dark blue Grand Marquis. Oddly enough, she didn’t trade in the Imperial but kept it in her garage for many more years. I wish I knew what happened to it.
Thanks for the correction. I honestly have no idea why I did that, as the source I used (Online Imperial Club) clearly shows what you said. Guess that’s what I get for writing when tired.
Thanks for the write-up! Isn’t it great to have a camera around at all times to document these finds? Wish this had always been true; there are cars I owned for years without any proper photos, just memories. Your post inspired me to finally upload some photos to the Cohort page. Hopefully more to come!
When I was 24 I bought a 64 Crown sedan. White with the powder blue pearlescent leather. The same combo that was featured in the Incomparable Imperial magazine ads. I bought it from two spinster sisters- the one never drove, and the other lost her eyesight and could no longer drive. I loved that car. We’d pile 4 people on each bench seat and cruise Laguna Beach, with a cooler in the trunk, take the ferry to Balboa Island in Newport, pop the trunk and enjoy a beverage during our brief crossing. That car always stood out against the 450 SLs that populated the area.
As for the ’67. I love the pontoon rear quarter panels with their separate bumper blades, I prefer the ’68 grille. My father always spoke of once seeing the Mobile Director option on a ’67- he thought is was the greatest thing he’d ever seen.
What became of your Imperial, and do you own any “curbside classics” today?
I sold it to my father in Long Beach California in 1985. His widow drove it for several decades, but I lost track of both her and the car. Last I saw it was 2011. Beginning in 1975, I’ve had the extreme good fortune to own Curbside Classics for my entire motoring life. Of course, at first most of them were just used cars. In order: 71 Mustang Sportsroof, 69 Camaro Convertible, 77 Triumph Spitfire, 1973 Volkswagen Thing, the 1964 Imperial Crown hardtop,77 Honda Civic Wagon, 69 Barracuda Formula S 340 Convertible!, 1989 Ford Festiva L, 1966 Dodge Charger, 1967 Mustang GTA 390, 2001 Audi TT Roadster and my current future CC: a 2003 Mercury Marauder. Thanks for asking.
I come from a Chrysler family, though. Love BIgOldChryslers- as you must.
This Imperial is as appropriate a car as any to kick off an interest in classic survivors. I often get to enjoy this view from the passenger seat, and infrequently the driver’s seat, of a 1966 Imperial convertible owned by the family of a friend. It is a magnificent car that is rarely seen, not having been popular when new.
Now this is a coincidence! Tomorrow I’m flying out to visit my brother… and meet his new 1967 Imperial! I’ve been dying to get some seat time in it. I have a ’67 Dodge Monaco myself, so obviously I’m about to become very jealous….
Nothing wrong with a ’67 Monaco. I’m jealous!
Wow, make that 2 of us. I very much like the pre-fuselage Monacos.
Thanks… mine is just a hard-top sedan, not one of the fancy 2-doors. But she’s (a little) famous: she was one of the parked “extras” in the movie American Hustle.
Here’s my brother’s Imperial, which I finally got to drive over the weekend. It’s magnificent. The paint is a bit rough, but everything else is a time-warp (even the dual AC–great feature for Texas!). I would happily drive it every day–I don’t care if it drinks like a frat boy, it would still be worth it.
It must be “Generic” week at CC. I used that word earlier in a post on the Acclaim, Perry used it reference to the Fairlane, and even before seeing it in Perry’s entry, the word went through my mind again with this car.
But, in good way.
Beginning in the early sixties, the side profile of this car was the generic American car. Lots of times done in advertising as a silhouette. This car just seems to fill that silhouette perfectly.
The ’67 – ’68 Imperial has always been one of my favorites. In my old car driving days, I test drove a loaded Crown. Just a little too rough and high mileage for me, it didn’t make the cut.
I’m quite defensive of the common remark that the ’67 – ’68 Imperial was just a fancy Chrysler (due to its return to the full-size Chrysler unibody platform). Little more so than the Sedan DeVille was just a fancy Olds 98 or Buick Electra. It was a gallant effort by Chrysler considering the likely volume of these cars. All unique sheet metal below the green house, fully unique interior and dash, very specific equipment levels – just like the Caddy. It only lacks the unique displacement engine that Cadillac had.
I’ve noted before a little irony about these cars. The ’67 was advertised as the “Newest Luxury Car in a Decade.” A direct reference to Imperial’s very successful ’57 car that topped Lincoln. The downside was that the owner experience could be a bit rough in regard to reliability of the accessories (the ’68 in particular had a notoriously bad standard automatic climate control). And build quality was panned, especially regarding wind and water leaks, squeaks and rattles. It was 1957 again – cars also noted for their quality problems.
As generic car shapes go, I vastly prefer the boxy cars of the mid-60s with their large greenhouses to the eggs with gunslit windows of today. 1965-68 was sort of a sweet spot in American car design, in my opinion.
+1. you nailed it on the years IMO.
+2 A great period ushered in by the Lincoln Continental and Buick Riveria
I’ll narrow that. 1965 was the best single year. Ever. In addition to cyclical factors, likely a big part of why it was a great sales year for virtually any car.
Brendan, I am envious! The 1967 Imperial exemplifies the concept of the gods living in the details. That complex, color-keyed grille alone must have been absurdly expensive and time-consuming to finish. The ’68s were nice too, but somehow seemed a bit more ordinary than their immediate predecessors.
Speaking of rarities…where you been hiding, Tony? 🙂
Alan, I’m finally back in the land of the living after a month-long bout with bronchitis that morphed into pneumonia. There’s been an epidemic here in SoCal.
Good man, Brendan – I knew you were one of US! 🙂
As the former owner of a 64 Crown Coupe, I know how rare these are. And I will echo what Imperialist says – these things were almost jewel-like in their ornamentation. Little things that most people would never notice, Chrysler spent great sums of money to do with unique little pieces not found in any other car.
When I was a teen, there were some elderly neighbors who kept a fleet of 2 Imperials. For a long time it was a white 64 Crown, and a gold 67 Crown. They bought used and kept them for a long time. The 64 finally started to get rusty and they replaced it with a dark green 72 LeBaron. He got sick then died and the widow sold off the gold 67. It was beautiful, with that almost metallic gold leather inside. I am not sure how I let that one get away.
A sort of celebrity endorsement in support of what you just said is that the Shah of Iran, who could buy anything that he wanted, purchased numerous Imperials for his official use in Iran and the US. His attachment to Imperials was certainly not from being fooled by the name into thinking that they were fit for an emperor. Imperials for the general public clearly were filled with carefully thought out details, so you can imagine what they put into limousines made for heads of state. Here is an example:
The Shah may have had a thing for Imperials, but he commissioned the company that I worked for in 1974 (the Pimpmobile Factory in S. Norwalk, CT) to build him a replica of Tricky Dick’s Lincoln. My friend and co-worker and I put together the presentation boards for this very complex car. Holman and Moody built the chassis and engine. I got paid two bucks an hour for this. Paid for my forthcoming trip to Spain.
I love the split grille on the 64 Imperial. I’ve always thought the 64 was the best executed of the Engel Imperials. Imperials of all years always were so rare. In the small midwestern town I grew up in we had only one family that bought Imperials. I remember a salmon colored 63 Crown four door hardtop that was later replaced with one of the fuselage-bodied 69’s. I think I see as many Imperials in car shows today as I did on the road back when they were in production. I can understand why Brendan was inspired.
I love this car (except the wheels). Imperials of this vintage hold a special place in my heart, since they were still trying to be much more unique than the Chryslers. I know they were never popular, but that just enhances the triumph of a find like this one. The details on this car, like the grille, are just so nice.
I just saw the Executive edition Crown Coupe at Barrett Jackson in Arizona. Passenger seat swiveled all the way ’round, and it had a pop up desk, dictaphone and a fearsomely high tech radio telephone.
Absolutely awesome beauty.
Great find Brendan. The front of a Continental, the sides of a Chrysler and the rear of a Cadillac but somehow it all works. ’67 was a great year.
I read somewhere, probably here, that certain years of the Imperial were built so tough that they were outlawed in demolition derbies. Do you know if the ’67 was one of those years? It sure looks like it could kill another car.
Calibrick, I believe this is the year Imperial went unibody, so suspect the demo car ban would have been on the ones just before the 67-68 models.
Wow, that Imp is GORGEOUS!!!! Hell with Impalas…that car with a bagged suspension and rocket spokes would be my choice for a big and low bruiser. No whitewalls or ‘hopping’ though…Id take my inspiration from the lead sled Mercs…