(first posted 8/29/2014) We had a lot of fun comparing two-door sedans with their four-door and hard top brethren yesterday, but the sight of this hardtop Imperial deserves consideration beyond yesterday’s mini-theme because it raises an interesting question: what if the donor four-door model is already a hardtop? And what if by measures of interior room and roof stampings, the cars are identical? Luckily, this gorgeous Helsinki find by LDeren gives us a change to mull over the question for a bit while admiring its deep red bodywork.
If I had any reservations about these Imperials because of their holdover windshield, the added length of the coupe’s doors really softens any incongruity it lends to its lines. The wraparound glass, so much more obvious on the sedan, no longer looks like a concession to accounting.
As the final Imperials built on its own separate platform, with a separate frame, these are also hard to compare to other Chryslers of the day. They drove their age, sure, but they were famously sturdy enough to be banned from demo derbies. It’s hard to know what to compare them to, really.
A yacht, perhaps. The decor is similar, are were the wallowy road manners, bad even for their day. Those seats, perched high to give a great view of the world outside, likely amplified the feeling of roll pitch and roll, but for the 18,409 people who bought one, it was a worthwhile trade off for all that real wood and heavy chrome trim.
Luxury of this caliber was truly world class, out of the realm of the suburban. As befits its name, I can imagine a high-level diplomat driving this through the streets of 1960s Caracas or some other outpost in silent, air-conditioned comfort.
Naturally, this sort of substance couldn’t last forever, and this would be the last Imperial so distinguished (though the ’67-’68s also hold a place in my heart). This Engel-penned vault is the perfect compliment to the ’61 Continental LDeren shared with us last week, one of the few cars to which I could think to compare this coupe. Big Detroit classics plying the streets of Europe aren’t unheard of, after all, but this sort of peerless American luxury is always extraordinary.