For Sale: 1958 Chrysler Imperial Crown in St. Louis, Missouri

$109,900  

Vehicle Description

One of just 31 Imperial Crown Limousines by coach builder Ghia for 1958! Cosmetically restored in 2020 to include new paint, interior, chrome, tires, exhaust, and more! A luxurious addition to any collection, and an opportunity that does not come along very often! Showing only 73,600 original miles! Act quickly!

During the 1930's and 1940's it would have been relatively easy to find a large 7 & 8-passenger sedans available on any automobile showroom, albeit extremely expensive. After World War II though, only a few manufactures retained multi-passenger luxury vehicles in their annual model offerings. Most companies found the need for such a vehicle dwindling, and by 1954, only Chrysler and DeSoto offered an 8-passenger model. It was Chrysler's flagship Imperial that led the field in this category with the exclusive and very expensive Imperial Crown. Powered by a hemi engine on a chassis measuring 145.5", it would feature front disc brakes, power steering, Powerflite automatic transmission, and 12-volt electrical systems to reign superior over all others.

Virgil Exner's "Forward Look" design was adopted in 1955, bringing the long hood, short deck features to the forefront across all Chrysler models. The aerodynamic shape brought in by the excitement aerospace and aviation technology also brought the tail fins that make 1950's cars so appealing today! Unfortunately for Chrysler, it was losing sales in the large 8-passenger category. Production costs were sky high, and it debated continuing a long wheelbase vehicle altogether after 1956. Retooling and development costs were going to be too extreme, so Exner turned to longtime friend Luigi Segre, president of Carrozzeria Ghia based in Turin, Italy, for assistance in cost control and remain in the long wheelbase limousine category. Italian craftsmen were incredibly skilled, and overseas wages were lower which helped control the production costs and keep the ultimate result affordable to American buyers.

Chrysler would send a 129" wheelbase Imperial Hardtop with a reinforced X-frame to Italy without any interior. Inside each vehicle, Chrysler carefully provided 4 sedan doors, seat mounts, all window glass, a fully wired dashboard, double air conditioning units, upholstery material & carpet, lengthened driveshaft, stiffer torsion bars, Suburban rear leaf springs, and other appointments to finalize each vehicle. Under the project supervision of Paul Farago, an Italo-American Chrysler Engineer, these limited production Imperial Crown Limousines began production for the 1957 model year. Each one would be hand crafted without body stamping dies or an assembly line. Ghia personnel meticulously stretched each vehicle chassis 20.5" for a total wheelbase of 149.5", and structurally created a longer roof & floors, then fit new taller oversized doors that cut further into the roofline. The attention to detail on each vehicle was incredible! Panel fitment for the doors and fenders were carefully adjusted for days to ensure gaps were limited to only a sixteenth of an inch before finishing of the bodywork in paint would commence!

Each car was painstakingly smoothed in soldier to fill any and all gaps, then coated in zinc chromate primer, following by several coats of lacquer and polished to a mirror finish. Fully complete after 30 days of assembly meant production totals were very limited. Imperial and Ghia maintained this partnership from 1957 thru 1965, only 9 years with just 132 vehicles produced in total! At a cost of more than $12,000, most were sold to the wealthy elite, world leaders, and government agencies. They remain extraordinarily rare today, with many retained in private collections and museums throughout the world. This is an exciting opportunity for an astute collector!

We are honored to offer this 1958 Imperial Crown Limousine by Ghia finished in factory code correct Black over Gray Broadcloth interior. Showing only 73,629 miles on the odometer, this special limousine was cosmetically restored in 2020 to include all new exterior paint, rear compartment interior upholstery, and all new exterior chrome. It is powered by its original 392ci Hemi V8 and push-button Torqueflite automatic transmission. Original features include dual front/rear air conditioning, large dial dash instrumentation, power windows, power partition divider glass, power steering, power disc brakes, rear seat HVAC and radio controls, dual reading lamps, fold-away jump seats, all tinted glass, and brand new BF Goodrich Silvertown 9.50-14 wide whitewall tires with full disc wheel covers.

This Imperial is believed to have serviced the Chicago, Illinois region for much of its early life before being found by a respected Indiana car collector in 2017. Having already committed to the restoration of another Imperial Ghia, it would come to the possession of the St. Louis Car Museum in July 2018. Already mechanically strong with the air conditioning fully functional, it was enjoyed sparingly as an all original example for many months. Beginning in January 2020, the vehicle was delivered to Springfield Coach/Limoland for a complete exterior repaint utilizing their extra large limousine paint booth. This was followed up with a complete refinishing of the rear passenger compartment with all new upholstery from the headliner down. This included the padding, refinishing of the walnut wood trim, and virtually every touch surface throughout.

The results are outstanding taking many months to complete. A new exhaust system, heater core, engine fluids & filters, and aforementioned tires were all included to complete the restoration in November 2020. It is a marvelous vehicle to admire, especially the special way the mechanical operation of how features work from the driver's seat. Pushbutton starter, rotating parking brake release, pushbutton transmission gear selector, oversized gauges, lever action turn signal switch with pushbutton cancel, etc. It is a remarkable example of both luxury and technical ingenuity from the late-1950's, and certainly one that will have a place in history for centuries to come! Act quickly! This is one of only 31 produced for 1958, and likely the last one you will see on the market for a long while!

Vehicle Details

  • Listing ID:CC-1447948
  • Price:$109,900
  • Location:St. Louis, Missouri
  • Year:1958
  • Make:Chrysler
  • Model:Imperial Crown
  • Exterior Color:Black
  • Interior Color:Gray
  • Transmission:Automatic
  • Odometer:73629
  • Stock Number:S3399
  • VIN:LY11008

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Sold By:
St. Louis Car Museum
1575 Woodson Rd.
St. Louis, MO 63114