Lot Number

1956 Imperial Crown Limousine

Sold For $148,500

Inclusive of applicable buyer's fee.

RM | Sotheby's - ARIZONA 15 - 16 JANUARY 2015

Chassis No.
  • The last year of traditional factory-built Chrysler limousines
  • One of only 175 built; impeccable condition
  • Rare factory Airtemp air conditioning
Series C-70. 280 bhp, 354 cu. in. OHV V-8 engine, two-speed pushbutton Powerflite automatic transmission, coil-spring independent front suspension, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel power-assisted hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 149.5 in.

As the Chrysler Corporation expanded in the heady post-war 1950s, the top-of-the-line Imperial of 1955 broke free into its own separate, top-of-the-line marque, which was quite literally “crowned” the Crown Imperial. This new car was available as a sedan or limousine that was on a new 149.5-inch wheelbase. As with other Imperials, the Crown models benefited from the new “Million Dollar Look” styling and were differentiated from other Chryslers by their bold, new egg-crate grille and dramatic “gun-sight” taillights. They sold 45 eight-passenger sedans and 127 limousines in 1955, followed by another 51 and 175 units, respectively, for 1956.

After that year, Imperial Limousine production shifted overseas, to Italian coachbuilder Ghia. That marked the 1956 models as being the last traditional full-size, factory-built Chrysler limousines and the true end of an era of luxurious, stylish motoring.

The eight-passenger limousine offered here, one of those very scarce 1956 models, was formerly part of the renowned Milhous Collection in Florida. It is presented in black and has excellent contours and flawless paint. The passenger compartment is upholstered in a grey leather and cloth combination, with grey carpet under foot. The chauffeur’s seat is black leather with a matching carpet, while the interior was reupholstered in correct New Old Stock fabric. The car is outfitted with power windows, rare Airtemp air conditioning, and an AM radio, and it also has Imperial’s standard Powerflite automatic transmission, power steering, and power brakes.

The engine compartment is superbly detailed, with the Hemi V-8 in silver and the ancillary units painted black. The undercarriage and underbody are unsoiled, appearing virtually as new. In fact, the car has been fitted with Kelsey-Hayes chrome wire wheels, which are mounted with 8.20x15 BFGoodrich Silvertown whitewalls.

The Crown Imperial Limousine was among the rarest of Chrysler products in 1956, and it was the best vehicle the company had to offer. This one, which has been restored to impeccable condition, is just the car in which to make a dramatic entrance at any black tie affair. It truly has the “Million Dollar Look.”

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