- One of just 31 examples built for 1958
- Believed to have been used to chauffeur Queen Elizabeth II during her visit to Canada in 1959
- Powered by a 392 cu. in. Hemi V-8 engine
- Numerous luxury features
From the very beginning of the marque, Chrysler was known for producing big, powerful automobiles suitable for use as limousines. By the mid-1950s, however, the diminished demand for such a vehicle made it no longer feasible to produce them in-house. Chrysler, led by designer Virgil Exner, developed an all-new design and subcontracted the construction to Ghia of Turin, Italy. The results of this limited-production collaboration are some of the most desirable and luxurious American cars of the period, and the car offered here is certainly no exception.
To produce the Imperial Crown Limousines, Chrysler shipped to Ghia partially assembled Imperial hardtop coupes with 129-inch wheelbases and reinforced X-frames. The chassis and drivetrains were complete, and the bodies were fully assembled with appropriate bumpers and trim. Inside the stripped interiors were the rest of the parts needed to complete the car: four sedan doors, seat mounts, glass, a wired dashboard, dual A/C unit, leather for the upholstery, carpeting, station-wagon leaf springs for the rear, stiffer torsion bars for the front, and a lengthened driveshaft. Ghia then performed extensive modifications to the chassis before fitting shapely, luxurious bodies and interiors, producing a trans-Atlantic collaboration that still seems new and fresh today.
In the end, however, even with subcontracting production out to Ghia, the Imperial limousine proved too costly, and production was halted after nine model years. In all, some 132 examples were produced, 31 of which were built for the 1958 model year, including the car offered here.
This Chrysler Imperial limo was hand-built by Ghia of Turin, Italy, in 1958. It is believed the Eaton family of Toronto, Ontario, purchased this car when new and that it was used primarily for chauffeuring Queen Elizabeth II during formal events on her 1959 trip to the Royal Fair, as she resided with the Eaton family during her stay. Two cars were said to have been ordered—this example and one with a unique plexiglass back window for use in parades. After the demise of the Eaton company, it is believed this car was stored at the family summer residence for many years. It was acquired by Ed Meurer in the 1990s and displayed at local shows. A wonderful example, it is believed to be one of very few of the 31 built that are still on the road.