350 bhp, 413.2 cu. in. OHV V-8 engine, three-speed TorqueFlite automatic gearbox, torsion bar independent front suspension, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel power hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 129"
• Most prestigious Chrysler product
• Low-production convertible
• Top quality, Amelia Island class-winning restoration
• Fully equipped
Since 1926, the “Imperial” moniker has come to signify the finest, rarest and most luxurious products Chrysler has to offer. In the mid-1950s, a change in marketing took place. What had long been the most expensive “Chrysler” model became, for model year 1955, simply “Imperial,” offering three body styles in two series. This separate badging was a direct challenge to Lincoln and Cadillac. For the next two years, Imperial was basically a long-wheelbase Chrysler with a bolder grille, the latter appropriated for Chrysler’s performance model, the 300. In 1957, however, Imperial was given a completely new personality, its gun-sight tail-lamps incorporated into growing tailfins and curved side glass foretelling an industry trend. This year also marked the appearance of a faux spare tire embellishment on the deck-lid, a device first seen on the Virgil Exner-designed and Ghia-built concept cars of 1952-53. Two- and four-door closed models and long-wheelbase limos were joined by a convertible coupe, available only in the upscale Imperial Crown series.
The 1958 and 1959 Imperials represented face-lifted versions of the ’57s, the ’59 presenting a much more aggressive face, with bold vertical teeth on a single horizontal grille bar. That year, the appearance changes were accompanied by a powertrain update, as the Hemi engine was replaced by a 413-cubic inch wedge unit. With 10.1:1 compression and a Carter AFB four-barrel carburetor, it developed 350 bhp. The excellent push-button TorqueFlite automatic transmission, of course, was standard. With just 555 built, the Imperial Crown convertible was one of the rarest 1959 body styles.
This 1959 Chrysler Imperial Crown Convertible was originally sold by the Earle C. Anthony dealership in San Francisco. A rare California survivor, it underwent a five-year complete and total frame-off restoration by Timo Tanskanene Restorations of Riverside, California, using as many new old-stock parts as possible. Upon completion it displayed an uncompromising level of perfection.
It comes with every available convenience option in 1959. In addition to the standard power steering and brakes, it has power windows, six-way power seat, electric door locks, a sure-grip differential, a Mirror-Matic rear view mirror, the Flightsweep rear deck-lid (the faux tire motif), the rare Highway Hi-Fi record player, a Touch-Tune transistor AM radio, auto headlamp beam change, Auto Pilot speed control, a deluxe heater and air conditioning unit with extra cooling capacity and a full leather interior. The beige canvas top is in very good condition.
The body shows uncompromised contours and excellent black paint. The chrome trim is all top notch, and the glass is unblemished. The pleated tan leather interior is in excellent condition, and the dashboard has a fine, supple black crash pad. Under the hood, the engine compartment is nicely detailed, and the undercarriage is clean, painted solid black and devoid of stains or road dirt.
Winner of a first place award at Amelia Island, it is sure to be a fantastic competitor in future concours d’elegance.