For many years, the designation ‘Imperal’ was simply what the top-of-the-line Chryslers were called, but for a few glorious years during the 1950s and 1960s, the Imperial was its very own car, if still owned by Chrysler. Normally relatively restrained, at least compared to its competitors, all that changed with the 1957 Imperial Crown, available as two and four-door hardtops, a limousine, and of course, an excellently extravagant convertible. Designed by Virgil Exner, the fins were no longer restrained, and the chrome work became more polished and certainly more visible. Before it was cancelled in 1964, the Imperial Crown offered gimmicky free-standing headlights, which certainly made a lot of ink run, but convinced few buyers.
All Imperial Crown models were powered by the same engine; this being Detroit, it was a V8, all 6.8 liters of it, producing 350 horsepower. Every single one of them was needed to move this beast around, that’s for sure. Top speed was 112 miles per hour, and 0-60 acceleration occurred in 12 seconds, which was pretty fast for the time, and the type of car.
Of course, with every year that passed the 1957 Imperial Crown got fatter, chromier and more gimmicky, until 1964 when the design was reviewed entirely in the vein of the new, clean Continentals. It was fun while it lasted!