Open Roads, December | Lot 162
1961 Imperial Crown Convertible
€126,500 EUR | Sold
| Munke Bjergby, Denmark
1 - 8 December 2021
- Believed to be one of 429 produced for 1961
- Benefits from a previous 15-year, body-off restoration
- Multiple concours wins in Sweden
- Accompanied by extensive history files and concours trophies
Chrysler’s range-topping Imperial line launched in 1926 and was marketed as a standalone brand from 1955 to 1983 in an effort to better compete with Cadillac and Lincoln. Imperials were, by far, the most luxurious vehicles produced by Chrysler in their day. Featuring body-on-frame construction, the 1961 Imperial Crown was offered as a four-door hardtop, a two-door hardtop, and a two-door convertible. Though it was the last year for the model’s iconic tailfin design, styling was otherwise updated for 1961 with distinctive “floating” headlights and taillights, among other tweaks. The luxurious interior was loaded with amenities and, like the exterior, featured futuristic touches inspired by the era’s space-age craze, such as an oblong steering wheel and pods flanking the instrument binnacle with push buttons to operate the automatic transmission and climate-control system. Power came from an impressively potent 413 cubic-inch V-8 engine. Only 429 Imperial Crown convertibles are believed to have been produced for 1961.
This example has been the crown jewel in the collection of a well-known Swedish collector since 1996. The car had already been partially stripped for restoration with the interior fully removed when the owner acquired it, sight unseen, from California. The owner immediately set about painstakingly restoring the car, which entailed removing the body from the frame and stripping it to bare metal, as shown in photos that are part of extensive history files included with the sale. Numerous “new old-stock” parts were sourced from vendors in the United States and elsewhere. The owner also acquired other Imperial Crown cars for hard-to-find parts, including much of the interior. The engine was refurbished in the United States and the TorqueFlite transmission was rebuilt in Sweden by a marque expert. Even the engine bay and undercarriage show impressive attention to detail.
The car is finished in period-correct Teal Blue with a black canvas soft-top. Leather upholstery with the correct pearl effect was sourced from SMS Auto Fabric, in Oregon, U.S.A. Being top of the line, the car came from the factory equipped with power steering, power brakes, power windows, power seat, and a power-operated top. It rides on period, wide, whitewall Firestone tires mounted to steel wheels with full covers.
Serving as a testament to the extraordinary restoration efforts, which concluded around 2011, the car won multiple concours events in Sweden, trophies for which are included in the sale, along with a full-size spare, jack, owner’s manual, shop manual, extensive history files with photos, magazine articles, and various original marketing materials, including a color and fabric brochure kit with swatches.