Lot Number

1961 Imperial Crown Convertible

Sold For $148,500

Inclusive of applicable buyer's fee.

RM | Auctions - ST. JOHN'S 27 JULY 2013 - From the Richard and Linda Kughn Collection

Chassis No.
  • From the collection of Richard and Linda Kughn
  • Award-winning restoration
  • Loaded with options, including factory air conditioning
350 bhp, 413 cu. in. overhead-valve V-8 engine, Torqueflite pushbutton automatic transmission, independent front suspension with torsion bars, semi-floating rear axle with tapered semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel power-operated hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 129 in.

Chrysler Design Chief Virgil Exner had a unique way of looking backwards and forwards at the same time. His 1961 Imperial, “America’s Most Carefully Built Car,” represented the company’s top-of-the-line offering with a distinctive design that borrowed Classic Era styling cues, including the imprint of a “continental” spare in the rear deck lid, free-standing head and tail lamps, and body-side chrome “sweeps,” which gave the visual effect of flowing fender lines. This was combined with the last of the towering tailfins, massive chrome bumpers, and an interior that could have passed as a jet cockpit, with its unusual squared-off steering wheel and body-color dashboard.

One of the lowest-production body styles of 1961 was the Imperial Crown Convertible, of which only 429 were built. Like all 1961 Imperials, it was powered by a 350-horsepower version of the 413-cubic inch “Wedge” V-8, fed by a single four-throat carburetor and mated to the bulletproof Torqueflite three-speed automatic transmission, and operated by dashboard-mounted pushbuttons.

The Imperial Crown Convertible offered here was acquired in Texas in 1994 by noted MoPar enthusiast and restorer Richard Palmer, who commissioned a professional restoration that took over a decade to complete. Refinished in the spectacular but correct color of Dubonnet Maroon, it is set off by pure white leather upholstery. Its “Wedge” engine and Torqueflite transmission were rebuilt in the course of the restoration, along with other mechanical components. It is equipped with the full range of luxury options one would have expected from such a car in 1961, including power brakes, power steering, power-swiveling front seats, a power top, an original AM radio discreetly upgraded to AM/FM capabilities, and the most desirable feature of factory air conditioning—a cool touch for a cool car.

As a multiple award winner, the Imperial was honored with Best in Show at the Statewide Imperial Meet in 2008, as well as Best in Show at the Freewheelers Regional Meet and a number of other regional-level Best in Class and Best Color awards prior to its acquisition by Mr. and Mrs. Kughn. Simply impressive, it marks the end of its era with its remarkable styling, and it would require only minor freshening to once again be the eye-catching star of any show or cruise. This car simply cannot be ignored.

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