Featured is a beautifully restored 1959 Imperial Two Door Hardtop, Chrysler’s top of the ;line automobile for a large part of it’s history. The 1959 Imperial promoted the phrase…”America’s Finest Motorcar”. Up until the mid 1950’s the Imperial was considered by many to be the automobile of the rich and famous.

1959 imperial photos
1959 Imperial Two Door Hardtop

The first Chrysler Imperial appeared first in 1926 and ran to 1954. After 1954 the Imperial became it’s brand so that Chrysler could compete directly with Ford’s Lincoln and General Motor’s Cadillac. During the Imperial’s lifetime the model was always sold from Chrysler dealerships. The Imperial did again come back with the Chrysler name from 1990-1993. These last Imperials were based on the Chrysler New Yorker sedan.

Imperial’s Powerful Engines

The Chrysler Imperial gained the reputation as an excellently engineered automobile. In 1951 Imperial introduced the first 331 cubic inch Hemi-head V-8 engine. Competitor Cadillac was caught off guard by this Hemi which many thought actually kicked off  the great horsepower race of the 1950’s. Mass producing this powerful engine was costly and after the 1958 model year Imperial switched to a 413 cubic inch wedge V-8.

chrysler imperial specs1959 Imperial Styling

Chrysler’s Imperials were thought by many to be drab in style although as mentioned  the car’s engineering was top of the line all the way.

Imperial styling changed in 1953 when Chrysler had designer Virgil Exner add some shapely changes to the Imperial’s look. The emergence of Exner at Chrysler was a milestone in Imperial styling. Exner was one of the top car designers of the 1950’s having been hired away from Studebaker by Chrysler in 1949. The 1959 Imperial had the basic body shell that came out with the 1957 Imperials but with some significant modifications.

The exterior design of the new 1959 Imperial combined beauty, rugged charm and distinction as per Imperial promotion material. Interior styling was touted as being more luxurious than before, updated dashboard with push buttons and with only the finest fabrics utilized.

Power brakes, power steering, back-up lights, windshield washers, and dual exhausts were standard.

1959 Imperial Specifications

Engine is a 413 cubic inch V-8 delivering 350 HP. This replaced the V-8 Hemi that was discontinued after 1958 due to it’s costly production.

59 chrysler imperial specificationsTransmission is a three speed automatic.

Brakes are four wheel hydraulic drums.

Dimensions include a 129.0 inch wheelbase, 226.3 inch overall outside length, 81.0 inch width,.56.9 inch height. Curb weight is 4,800 lbs. Base price for the 1959 Imperial was $5,500 to $6,000.

Total 1959 Imperial production totaled 17,125 vehicles. The largest selling model was the 6 passenger four door hardtop at 4,700 vehicles.

Related Auto Museum Online articles are found on the links below…

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Reference material for this articles includes...Chrysler & Imperial the Postwar Years by Richard M. Langworth…Chrysler Imperial 1951-1975 Gold Portfolio by author R.M. Clarke…Complete Book of Collectible Cars by the Editors of Consumer Guide.

1959 Imperial Collector Cars

The 1959 Imperial is a good choice for the collector. The automobile is representative of the luxury cars of it’s era yet might be priced lower than it’s collector car competitors Lincoln and Cadillac.

59 imperial model detailsThe 1959 Imperial is a rare collector automobile considering that only 17,000 units were built that model year. Finely restored examples such as the one featured here are even more rare.

Current asking prices for the 1959 Imperial do vary greatly on exact model and degree of restoration. In general, yo’ll likely see prices in the $30,000 to $49,000 range. The 58 models with the V-8 Hemi will typically be offered at a much higher price in the $100,000 area.

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)