Lot 442

Hershey 2023

1956 Imperial Southampton Two-Door Hardtop


$75,900 USD | Sold

United States Flag | Hershey, Pennsylvania



Chassis No.
C56 5824
US Title
  • One of 2,094 Imperial Southampton Hardtop Coupes built for 1956
  • Three-owner car, previously in the possession of noted collector Gordon Apker
  • Highly optioned, including full power accessories and factory air conditioning
  • Equipped with the novel Highway Hi-Fi record player and Benrus steering wheel clock
  • Accompanied by Chrysler Production Record

Chrysler registered Imperial as a separate marque beginning in 1955. That year, all five Chrysler lines featured dramatic new styling. Called the “$100 Million Dollar Look,” the company shed its stodgy image almost overnight and quickly ascended to the peak of styling thanks to Chrysler design chief Virgil Exner’s vision.

Top-of the-line Imperials rode on an exclusive 133-inch-wheelbase chassis and came equipped with a 280-horsepower version of the 354-cubic-inch Hemi V-8 engine. While Imperial began its second year as a separate nameplate, the Southampton moniker was new to the two-door Imperial, describing its unique hardtop roofline. Signature freestanding taillights returned for the second year, insuring their place in history as an Imperial styling element. With a base price of $5,094 before options, just 2,094 Southampton coupes were produced for 1956.

Built 16 January 1956, this Imperial was shipped two days later to David L. Loose Garage in Leesport, Pennsylvania. A Chrysler Production Record on file attests to the car’s equipment, which includes original Airtemp factory air conditioning and power steering, brakes, windows, and seat. In addition, it includes the Highway Hi-Fi record player, Benrus Chryslermatic 15-jewel self-winding steering wheel clock, and appropriate wide-whitewall tires with period-correct Motor Wheel wire wheels.

Prior to the consigner’s purchase in 2015, this Imperial was in the hands of well-known collector Gordon Apker. Apker reportedly purchased the car from the original owner, who lovingly maintained it and drove it sparingly as his “summer car.” It retains many correct features and details, including the White leather and Medium Gray Imperial Eagle patterned nylon interior. Apker had the car painted from its original Sand Dune Beige to Black.

When purchased in 2015, the mechanicals were given a thorough sorting; at the time costing $10,000. A folder with details is available for review. The car has been driven regularly, including to many out-of-state club functions. Most recently, it received special honors at the Radnor Concours d’Elegance in 2021, a year in which Imperials were featured. Don’t miss this opportunity to acquire a superb example of Chrysler’s finest automobile of the 1950s.