Okay so I like alliteration. If I could figure out a way of working in some onomatopoeia I’d do that too, vrooom vrooom. Anyway, here is a clutch of Chrysler Crown Imperials, the top Imperial trim line, along with a ’55 limo, on display at Ypsilanti’s Orphan Car Show. I suppose that while Chrysler is still in business, Imperials are allowed into that show because Imperial was marketed as its own subbrand, produced by the Imperial Division of Chrysler, much like Lincoln started up the Continental division to market the Mark II around the same time. If I’m not mistaken, there are no Chrysler logos on vintage Imperials. They wore a stylized eagle emblem, not the Chrysler pentastar (though Imperials in the 1980s would). This is a great selection of Imperials, including both cars from the Virgil Exner era and the boxier cars made later when Elwood Engel was in charge of Chrysler styling.
There’s a ’57 Crown Imperial four door, what some consider to be the finest expression of Exner’s Forward Look, a ’60 Crown convertible, and a ’61 Crown two door with those wild free standing headlight pods (which you have to see in person or in 3D to fully appreciate). The Engel era is represented by a ’67 Crown convertible and a ’68 Crown four door. Chrysler’s luxury line was never as successful in the showrooms as Cadillac’s and Lincoln’s were but they were attractive cars that had a loyal following then and continue to have enthusiasts today. The 1961-66 Lincolns and the late ’50s and early ’60s Cadillacs may be icons of an era of peak American cultural and economic power, but even some rich folks are non-conformists.