Thursday, October 4, 2012

The 1955-1956 Imperial

The 1955-1956 Imperial, Chrysler's best car, spun-off as a separate make beginning with the 1955 models, which were terrific. It was styled by Virgil Exner along the lines of his 1954 Parade Phaeton show cars. A big split eggcrate grille was used up front, distinctive gunsight taillights adorned the rear, and sculpted, flowing body lines with fully radiused rear wheel openings appeared in between.

1955 Imperial Newport with rear view of free-standing "gunsight" taillights
1955 Imperial Newport with rear view of free-standing "gunsight" taillights

The '56 Imperials gained modest tailfins plus a slightly longer wheelbase and length. Power was supplied by Chrysler's Hemi V-8, with a displacement and power boost for '56. Also that year, a four-door hardtop sedan was added to the line in common with other Chrysler divisions.

Pluses of the 1955-1956 Imperial:

Fine styling
Good quality control
Great road car

One of the more affordable luxury Milestones Minuses of the 1955-1956 Imperial:

Handling and braking not up to the horsepower
Production of the 1955 Imperial:
4d sdn, 7,840; Newport 2d htp, 3,418

Production of the 1956 Imperial:

4d sdn, 6,821; Southampton 2d htp, 2,094; Southampton 4d htp, 1,543

Specifications of the 1955-1956 Imperial:

Length, inches: 223.0 (1955), 226.0 (1956)
Wheelbase, inches: 130 (1955), 133.0 (1956)
Weight, pounds: 4,565-4,680
Price, new: $4,483-$5,225 (U.S.)

Engines for the 1955-1956 Imperial:

Type Size Horsepower Years

ohv V-8 331 cid 250 1955
ohv V-8 354 cid 280 1956

Source: Internet