The 1955 Imperial Specs and Photos

The car featured in this article is a beauty. The 1955 Imperial shown here is also a milestone car for Imperial in as much as 1955 marked the year that Imperial became a separate division within Chrysler Corporation.

1955 Imperial Newport

1955 Imperial Newport

Chrysler Imperials, introduced to the world in 1926, competed for many years against General Motors Cadillac and Ford Motors Lincoln. Beginning in 1955 the Imperial Division of Chrysler would produce cars as a separate make from Chryslers. One advantage to this according to Chrysler was that being a separate make would allow the Imperial to go directly after Lincoln and Cadillac as opposed to competing also against Buicks and Oldsmobiles.

The Imperial would not be sharing bodies with other Chrysler brands but would have it's own very distinctive look just like it's competitors. That being said, there were still a few people who thought the new Imperial still looked a bit too much like a Chrysler.

Imperial dashboard

Imperial dashboard

Designing the 1955 Imperial

Chryslers head designer Virgil Exner played a big part with the 1955 Imperial. The 1955 Imperial was designed along the lines of the Parade Phaeton show car model. A big split grille was used in the front and the rear had gunsight tail lights.

The 1955 Imperial had a more sculpted look to it as opposed to the heavier bodies seen in 1954. New designer  touches which gave the new 1955 Imperial a show car look included the tail lights mounted on the rear fenders.

1955 Imperials came in a four door sedan and two door Newport hardtop.

Imperial also offered a limousine in 1955 which had traits of the Crown Imperial with it's glass partition between driver and passengers. The limousine model had a wheelbase 149.5 inches.

Imperial Features

An automobile like the 1955 Imperial would naturally have many bells and whistles. These included air conditioning with Chrysler's Air Temp System as an option. Filtered dehumidified air cooled by refrigerant would be a part of Imperial comfort.

Hydraulic power steering was another standard feature with Imperial as was an AM Music Master Radio with daytime and nighttime buttons to help with reception. Also a heater where you could set the desired temperature.

1955 Imperial Specifications

The 1955 Imperial came out with a 331 cubic inch Hemi V-8 four barrel carburetor engine delivering 250 horsepower. This was a first generation power plant and was the same size engine in the 1955 Cadillacs as well.

1955 Imperial split grille

1955 Imperial split grille

The Imperial's transmission was a two speed Powerflite automatic. Imperial and  Chrysler touted the Powerflite transmission as being lurch free and noise free. "D" on the lever would handle any speeds between 15 and 75 MPH and would shift gears smoothly.

Power brakes were standard on all Imperial models.

Wheelbase for the 1955 Imperial came in at 130.0 inches, four inches longer than the big Chryslers, with an overall vehicle length of 223.0 inches. The cars weight was about 4,600 lbs.

The new car price for a 1955 Imperial was about $5,000. Not cheap at the times by any means it was however considered a very affordable ultra luxury automobile.

The 1955 Imperial was a popular luxury car with great styling. Some criticism at the time was that the brakes were not up to the car's horsepower and that the engine used a lot of fuel. The pluses were that the Imperial was a quality built vehicle with excellent styling and handled well.

Imperial's stand alone gunsight tail light

Imperial's stand alone gunsight tail light

Imperial production totals for 1955 included 7,800 four door sedans, 3,400 coupes, 45 Crown Imperial Sedans and 127 Crown Imperial Limousines.

A side note regarding the Crown Imperial limousines...beginning in 1957, because of low demand, Chrysler arranged with Ghia of Italy to build their long limousines. Chrysler shipped a two door hardtop body to Italy where Ghia essentially took it apart, added length to the wheelbase, altered the superstructure and added a lush interior. Building one vehicle took about a month and the new car price was around $15,000. A 1955 Imperial Limousine can be seen in the movie "Hudson Hawk".

As a collector car, the Crown Imperial, as opposed to the Imperial Newport, couldn't fit it most standard size garages. As a practical road car they were not the easiest to handle and park. As you can imagine, they could be cumbersome automobiles. Body parts for restoration are also pretty hard to find.

Two additional AutoMuseumOnline articles relating to post war luxury vehicles are on the links below...

The 1952 Chrysler Custom Imperial

Babe Ruth's 1948 Lincoln Continental

1955 Packard 400 Series Hardtop

Classic Imperial wide whitewalls

Classic Imperial wide whitewalls

1955 Imperial Collector Cars

You might very well come across some fine looking 1955 Imperial restorations while attending auto shows.

As of this writing you might find 1955 restored Imperials with price tags in the $25,000 to $30,000 range. Depending on degree of restoration and originality you'll also find a 1955 show room quality Imperial above those prices.

(Article and photos copyright 2013 AutoMuseumOnline)

1951 Studebaker Commander Convertible

"First By Far with a Post War Car", those were the words from Studebaker, a company with it's origins in horse drawn wagon making in the 1850's and which sold a great number of their wagons to the Union Army during the Civil War.

1951 Studebaker Commander

1951 Studebaker Commander

Studebaker led the pack with it's first post World War Two design debuting in 1947. Probably one of the best words to describe Studebaker post war styling is "individualistic".

Studebaker was one of the first American automakers to resume production after the war turning out their cars beginning in December 1945 just about four months after Ford Motor Company. Their first post war automobiles, like virtually all automakers, were very similar to either 1941 or 1942 models with a bit of a refreshed look.

A Much Remembered Studebaker

The 1951 Studebaker Convertible featured in this article was another big leap forward. Both the 1950 and 1951 Studebakers had that "bullet nose" design which truly set it apart from others. In fact, the 1950 and 51 Studebakers were very much ahead of their time at the start of the 1950's. If you try to think back to a Studebaker model the chances are you'll picture either a 1950 or 1951 model. Somehow that innovative bullet nose seems to stick in the collective mind.

1951 Studebaker Commander Convertible

1951 Studebaker Commander Convertible

!950 and 1951 Studebaker Styling

The new Studebaker styling unveiled in 1947 had the mark of Virgil Exner, one of America's top automotive designers and a man who left a big imprint during the decade of the 50's. Several of the 1950's fin designs came from the Virgil Exner drawing board. Exner did much of the work in combination with Raymond Loewry's studios but departed the company after the new design was launched.

The Bullet Nose we remember so much from the 1950 and 1951 models was the product of designer Bob Bourke along with the Loewry studios although the design really needs to be credited to Bourke. The overall styling of these first 1950's models were quite futuristic considering their bullet nose and vista dome like rear window. The rear deck looked about just as long as the hood. There was nothing remotely like it in 1950. The bullet nose gave these cars an aircraft type of look. as with almost every car design, the bullet nosed 1950 and 1951 Studebakers had their fans and detractors.

The 1951 Models

The three Studebaker models for 1951 included the Champion, the Commander and the four door sedan Land Cruiser. In 1951 the Champion and Commander looked fairly identical. While in 1950 these two models had different wheelbases, in 1951 they shared the same wheelbase at 115.0 inches. The Convertible Studebakers in both the Champion and Commander models couldn't sport that vista dome rear window. Their overall length was also the same in 1951 where the Commander was about ten inches longer than the Champion in 1950.

1951 Studebaker dashboard

1951 Studebaker dashboard

The 1951 Studebaker Commander featured in this article is considered a very popular post war classic.

1951 Studebaker Specifications

Studeaber came out with two engines for their 1951 models. This was an Inline 169 cubic inch six cylinder engine in it's Champion models delivering 85 horsepower. The other, seen in the Commander models was an Overhead Valve 232 cubic inch V-8 delivering 120 horsepower. Studebaker actually pioneered this powerful engine while a lot of people tend to credit Ford and Chevy.

Studebaker promoted their V-8 aggressively pointing out it's power and economy and what they called at a surprisingly low price.

1951 Studebaker

1951 Studebaker

Transmissions on both models were three speed manual.

Wheelbase for both the Champion and Commander models was 115.0 inches. In 1950 the Commander had about a longer wheelbase. The Land Cruiser in 1951 had a 119.0 inch wheelbase. Overall length for both models was 197.5 inches.

Suspension for both models were independent coil springs on the front and solid axle semi-elliptical leaf springs on the rear.

Brakes on both the Champion and Commander models were hydraulic cast iron drums.

The Studebaker Commander Convertible weight came in at about 3,200 lbs.

Total Studebaker production for 1951 came in at 268,000 vehicles. Out of this number 144,000 were Champions and 124,000 were Commanders which included the Land Cruisers.

Two additional AutoMuseumOnline articles you may enjoy are on the links below...

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Studebaker Bullet Nose Commander

Studebaker Bullet Nose Commander

Studebaker Collector Cars

Studebakers from both the 1947 post war years and through the 1951 bullet nosed years are popular collector cars. Studebakers stand out with their vista dome rear windows and the later addition of the bullet nose design.

One of the favorites is the 1951 Commander Convertible shown in this article. The 1951 models also represent the first year of Studebakers powerful small block V-8 which make the entire 1951 Commander line-up popular.

1951 Studebaker auction prices for mint conditioned originals as of this writing are strong. The Commander models have sold in the mid to high $30,000 range. The highest selling price appears to be just short of $50,000. One of the best selling collector Studebakers from this period is the 1951 four door sedan.

(Article and photos copyright 2013 AutoMuseumOnline)

1935 Chevrolet Standard Coupe

The 1935 Chevrolet is a rare car today. This popular vintage automobile became a hot rod of choice for many car enthusiasts and a beautifully restored one such as the Chevrolet Standard 3 Window Coupe featured in this article is rare indeed. This particular automobile is located in East Setauket, New York and recently has been awarded trophies in five out of six car shows. The car is a real original beauty.

1935 Chevy Standard Coupe

1935 Chevy Standard Coupe

The 1935 Chevrolet car featured in this article has the original engine, transmission and drive train and was manufactured in Flint Michigan in April 1935.  The car is equipped with an AM radio that added $45 to it's price. This car also was built with the No Draft Ventilation Cabin that deflected cigarette smoke. Original sticker price for this vehicle was $445.

A Three Window Coupe is an automobile popular up until World War Two and consists of two side windows and a backlight. The Five Window Coupe by comparison has an extra window on each side.

1935 Chevrolet Coupe

1935 Chevrolet Coupe

So many cars from the 1930's were modified into hot rods just about any car that hasn't been heavily modified from this decade is somewhat rare. Many were chopped up into hot rods during the 1950's.

Fords from the 1930's are another popular hot rod modified model.

If you were to name the most popular Chevys of this decade that was modified into street rods they would probably be the 1933 and 1934 models nevertheless the 1935's were also in high demand as hot rods.

For those wishing to restore a 1935 Chevy Coupe, finding one that is fairly rust free is a challenge. If you're lucky enough to locate one you may be paying five figures to acquire it. You'll probably find them a bit more rare than Fords of that period since Ford produced many more units than Chevrolet.

1935 Chevrolet Styling

Vintage automobiles for the most part are considered those built between World War One and World War Two. This was a period when materials were readily available as was a sizable workforce. Many innovations were introduced during these years.

Most auto companies struggled through the Great Depression years in various degrees but when World War Two began materials were scarce and civilian production was halted in February 1942. The beautiful 1935 Chevy Standard Three Window Coupe was one of those cars designed and built during these vintage years.

1935 Chevy Three window Coupe interior and dash

1935 Chevy Three window Coupe interior and dash

For the 1935 Chevrolet line GM promoted quality at low cost. Chevrolet offered ten different models for 1935 and this included a sedan and coupe convertible.

The two basic models produced in 1935 were the Standard and the Master Deluxe.

Base price for the Standard was about $500 and for the Master Deluxe about $600. The Great Depression had it's effects on new car prices. You might have paid well more for a car during the 1920's and even in the decade before that.

The Standard model was little changed from 1934. The design looked lean and trim. The Master Deluxe on the other hand was almost a completely new car but being longer didn't have the same athletic look to it. You'll find the Master Deluxe to look more rounded. There were also two convertible models in the standard line that included the Phaeton and Roadster.

The 1935 Standard Chevys were also the last to have external radiator caps. Another nice touch on the 1935 Chevys was the long winged hood ornament.

The 1935 Chevy Standard models included  The Master Deluxe models were the first to have a two piece V shaped windshield. AM Radios, which were first produced for automobiles in 1928, were available in the 1935 Chevys.

1935 Chevy Inline six cylinder engine

1935 Chevy Inline six cylinder engine

1935 Chevrolet Standard Three Window Coupe Specifications

The 1935 Chevrolet Coupes came off the production line with 206.8 cubic inch straight six cylinder engines delivering 74 horsepower. The 1935 models had a bigger engine than the 1934's which used an engine originally designed in 1928.

Transmission was a three speed manual.

The 1935 Chevy Standard wheelbase was 107.0 inches. Wheelbase on the Master Deluxe was 113.0 inches. These measurements illustrate the big difference between the two models.

Brakes on the 1935 model were drums both front and rear.

Suspension on the 1935 Chevrolet Standard model was a plain beam axle and semi-eliptic springs on the front. Master Deluxe models had GM's Knee Action front suspension available.

The car's weight averaged about 2,600 lbs. Master Deluxe models were about 3,000 lbs.

1935 Chevy Standard Coupe

1935 Chevy Standard Coupe

Available production figures for 1935 show that 11,900 three window coupes were built and 40,200 five window models. Chevrolet built a total of about 550,000 Standard and Master Deluxe models for 1935. The 1935 production year was shortened with cars built only January to September. Both the Chevy Standard and Master Deluxe sold well in 1935 with the Master Deluxe selling about 100,000 more vehicles.

See our article along with interior photos on the 1939 Ford Deluxe Coupe Convertible on the link below...

1939 Ford Deluxe Coupe Convertible

1935 Chevrolet Standard Coupe Values

As mentioned above, so many of the 1935 Chevys have been modified into street rods that unmodified models aren't easy to find. This fact also makes original unmodified models that adhere to the original specifications quite valuable.

Many asking prices for 1935 Chevrolet Standard Coupe models in mint show condition could be north of $40,000. Don't be surprised to see a $50,000 plus price tag. The more original parts on a restored 1935 Chevy the higher the price.  As mentioned above, a 1935 non restored project car might be priced in the five figure range, perhaps $12,000 to $15,000, if there aren't serious rust issues.

Price will ultimately depend on condition, degree of restoration and originality. The more original the stronger the value.

(Article copyright 2013 AutoMuseumOnline)