Chrysler Imperial: top notch

Luxury American cars are represented primarily by Cadillac and Lincoln models, representing General Motors and Ford Motor concerns, respectively.
However, for a long time they had a competitor from another representative of the "Big Three" - Chrysler Imperial. Walter Chrysler had the idea for an expensive flagship model almost immediately after the introduction of the first Chrysler Six in 1924.
He understood that the Six could not compete with the representative Cadillac, Lincoln and Packard, and therefore immediately set about creating a high-class car. The result of this work was the appearance in 1926 of the Chrysler Imperial.
It was offered with six different bodies and four wheelbase options. The most expensive was a seven-seat limousine with a transparent roof. Inline 4.7-liter "six" with a capacity of 92 liters. With. allowed to develop 130 km / h and maintain high speed for a long time. This was proven in a special rally: the Imperial covered more than 10,500 km in a week. For such performance, the model was honored to become the safety car at the famous race "500 miles of Indianapolis". The car was cheaper than its rivals - it cost from $ 2,500 (40 thousand at the modern rate).
Therefore, over 9,000 Imperials were assembled in the first year. Changes were constantly made to the design. So, the power gradually increased to 110 hp. with., there was also a new 4-speed manual transmission. Walter Chrysler decided to continue developing the model and in 1931 introduced a completely new Imperial.
Compared to its predecessor, it has grown in size, and its design has become more solid and lush. A low car with a long hood and an abundance of chrome trim immediately attracted everyone's attention. Chaises with exclusive bodies from the LeBaron studio looked especially bright, although the buyer, if desired, could turn to other stylists. The new 6.3-liter inline 8-cylinder engine developed 125 hp. with., which made it possible to reach 155 km / h. For its time, the car showed good handling and was equipped with good brakes. Interestingly, for a limousine with a partition between the driver and passengers, a special intercom was offered. However, the Great Depression prevented the success of such a technically "advanced" model.
The crisis reduced the demand for luxury cars and only 3,200 cars were produced in the first year. Meanwhile, Chrysler was working on an entirely new "family" of Airflow cars, topped by the new Imperial.
They showed cars in 1934. Their streamlined shapes were the result of active blowing in a wind tunnel. Since the load-bearing body was completely made of steel, its rigidity at that time was very high. The motor was offered in versions of 130 and 150 hp. with., and the more powerful version easily developed 160 km / h and set 72 different speed records. But the Imperial Airflow was too advanced for its time, and the public did not accept the avant-garde design. In three years, a little more than 5,000 cars were produced, and 67 long-wheelbase limousines were assembled at all. Chrysler worked on the bugs and by 1937 prepared a new Imperial.
It retained some of the Airflow's aerodynamic elements, but looked more restrained overall. The engine and chassis were borrowed from its predecessor, and the number of body options was reduced. Cars again found a frame structure. However, there were also exclusive models like an elegant limousine from LeBaron for the daughter of Walter Chrysler. By 1940, only a sedan and a limousine remained in the line, produced in the amount of several hundred units per year. At the same time, it was on the basis of the Imperial that two bright concepts were built. Thunderbolt attracted attention with a hard folding roof, retractable headlights and the absence of wheel arches. And the impossibly low Chrysler Newport had a sleek design.
They produced five units of each model and all of them were equipped with the world's first semi-automatic transmission. From 1942 to 1946, the production of all passenger cars in the United States was stopped, and after its resumption, they continued to produce the pre-war Imperial.
Since its popularity began to decline from this, in 1950 a completely new "family" of models was prepared. It again had both a coupe and a convertible, and the style became more modern - with streamlined shapes, chrome bumpers, a panoramic rear window and no protruding fenders. Under the hood, a new 5.4-liter Hemi V8 with hemispherical combustion chambers appeared. An automatic transmission and air conditioning became available for the Imperial. Another innovation was the original brakes, which combined drums and discs at the same time. And since 1955, Imperial has become a separate brand in the Chrysler concern.
A new generation of models was timed to coincide with this event. In appearance, there was even more chrome, and the power of Hemi increased first to 250, and then to 280 hp. With. The list of options was supplemented by a power steering, power windows and a driver's seat, a portable turntable. And the transmission selector has been replaced with a set of buttons. The 1957 model was designed under the guidance of eminent stylist Virgil Exner.
Long and low cars struck, first of all, with their huge "keels" on the rear wings and looked like fantastic starships. A 6.4-liter 350-horsepower V8 Hemi allowed to reach 200 km / h. Interesting innovations include central locking, cruise control and swiveling front seats to make getting in and out easier. The stylish Imperial appealed to well-to-do buyers, helping to set a sales record of 37,500 in 1957. At the turn of the 50s and 60s, the design of the Imperial was corrected almost every year.
New versions appeared: for example, the Imperial Crown Limousine became the longest car in the USA - 5770 mm. By the way, one of these limousines was used by the first lady of the United States, Jacqueline Kennedy. The design of cars was also improved. The new 6.8-liter Hemi was no more powerful, but it was quiet and smooth. And the independent suspension provided the best ride comfort. The era of Virgil Exner's models ended in 1964, when the faceted style became fashionable.
All models of the Chrysler concern (including the Imperial) began to look more modest, and the corners replaced the "keels". The roof covered with leatherette was considered a special chic. But the platform and engines remained the same. However, over 23,000 cars sold proved the new designers right. The 1967 Imperial did not change much in appearance, but it received a new chassis, a load-bearing body and a huge 7.2-liter 375-horsepower V8.
The most expensive versions could even be equipped with a telephone and TV. The updated 1969 model looked much brighter. Its length reached 6 m, and the strict design was emphasized by a very long hood and retractable headlights hidden behind a chrome grille. In 1971, the car was one of the first in the world to be equipped with anti-lock braking system ABS. The development of the huge Imperial was interrupted by the 1973 fuel crisis.
The sedan weighing 2.4 tons was distinguished by a considerable “appetite”, which significantly hit the pockets of even wealthy owners. Gradually, in order to save fuel and reduce harmful emissions, the power was reduced to 215 hp. s., and in 1975 the model was completely discontinued. However, it is too early to put an end to this in the history of Imperial.
In 1981, it was revived as a luxurious 5.4-meter coupe. It received a digital instrument panel, and central locking, power seats, air conditioning, sunroof and cruise control were standard. The injection 5.2-liter "eight" was not too powerful (140 hp), but it was economical. But in four years it was possible to assemble only 12 thousand cars, and then the production of Imperial was stopped. One of the coupes was purchased by the cult American singer Frank Sinatra. Another attempt to bring back the famous model was made in 1990.
The new Chrysler Imperial sedan was a more expensive modification of the Fifth Avenue model. The angular car gained familiar retractable headlights and a leatherette-covered roof. The buyer could choose air suspension, airbags, a CD changer, and even a mobile phone. A 3.8-liter 150-horsepower V6 was installed under the hood, front-wheel drive was used for the first time. Imperial was produced until 1993, until it was replaced by the LHS model. Although the Chrysler Imperial has not been produced for two decades, the group's management does not exclude the possibility of another revival of the model. Confirmation of this is the conceptual Imperial of 2006.

Although not new, but a faithful and reliable friend in any situation - the Mazda 626 car is an excellent solution for trips out of town or to the country.

For any site suggestions: [email protected]