CC TV: 1970 Imperial Vs. 1970 Cadillac Dealer Filmstrip – A Tough Sell

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If your YouTube algorithm looks anything like mine, you may be a subscriber to a channel called, which regularly uploads classic Chrysler Corporation dealer filmstrips. While I normally watch any dealer film with a wry grin at the producer’s questionable analysis of their product, I couldn’t help feeling bad for the Imperial salesmen of 1970. Their task was impossible.

Let’s get this out of the way: Cadillac sold nearly twenty-five times more units than Imperial did in 1970, and the general tone of the video demonstrates a dirge-like quality that is missing from many dealer filmstrips. The pitchman actually stops talking a few minutes in and lets the pictures speak for him, with a bit of canned orchestral music playing for ambiance. In this snip, Chrysler is comparing instrumentation as it always did, although it’s a bit half-hearted for the Imperial. The owner of a Charger R/T may be interested in an ammeter, but an Imperial owner is perhaps less likely to care.

That may be because they tended to be…well, you know.

The video spends several minutes comparing interior dimensions and luxury features, the little things that salesmen could point out to potential customers.

Invariably, dealer filmstrips have a pretty girl who’s been instructed to look a little happier riding in the home team’s product. Here, said pretty girl’s smile is a smidgeon more satisfied when she’s riding in the Imperial.

Dealer filmstrips always make me happy, but I’m at my happiest when they reduce a comparison to the absurd. It’s clear that exactly nobody will change their mind and buy an Imperial based upon its fender-mounted turn-signal indicators, but there they are.

Over halfway through the film, the speaker returns and suggests that salesmen take their prospects on an extended test drive in both cars (how that would be arranged is left to the imagination). Here is where the combination of “Torsion-Aire” ride with leaf springs will show the Imperial to its greatest advantage. Whether or not the torsion bar front suspension was an actual improvement over Cadillac’s coils by 1970 is open to debate, but it was always a selling point in Chrysler Corporation’s sales material.

The video raises an interesting but flawed argument: Since the Eldorado uses a similar torsion bar/leaf spring setup, Chrysler engineering is therefore proven to be superior because even Cadillac has copied it. No mention is made of engineering or cost-cutting challenges specific to the Eldorado that may have led to that decision.

Interestingly, an angle I expected the filmstrip to use is left unexploited. Although I prefer the Cadillac’s styling, I find that the Imperial looks more modern; however, the speaker simply claims that both cars are good-looking and leaves it at that. This was early enough in Chrysler’s fuselage styling cycle that they were still using it as a selling point in other films and materials, but that is an avenue left largely unexamined in this film.

Something else the video fails to mention is the powertrain, and that might be because the Cadillac’s engine was larger and more powerful (at least according to its factory horsepower rating). Regardless, Chrysler was rightfully proud of its 440/Torqueflite combo, and its accolades are a little jarring in their absence.

Even the ending seems a bit half-baked: “The New Choice for Driving!” The Imperial had been in production as a unique brand for well over a decade by 1970, along with its “Torsion-Aire” suspension and big-block engine; there was certainly nothing new about it. There was also no catching Cadillac and the speaker so much as admitted it in his narration. The message to the salesmen was clear: Get out there and do your best. The Imperial is a nice car and maybe you’ll luck out and sell one or two this year.


It’s more likely that salesmen gave the Imperial short shrift and focused on the other Chryslers (such as the similar looking and much cheaper New Yorker) in the lineup. When one considers the Imperial’s model-year sales of only 11,816, many certainly saw this video as a waste of their time.

But I don’t. I love these old films, and if you share my enthusiasm for classic dealer filmstrips, head over to at Youtube and subscribe to their channel. I thank them for posting this one.