The 1958 Imperial Crown Limousine, chassis #LY11001, presented here is one of just 31 examples produced in that model year. It has the distinction of originally being delivered to the T. Eaton Co. Limited of Ontario, Canada. Department store magnates, the Eaton’s were heavily influential people in their homeland and were high rollers in the social scene. Receiving the Royal Family for their Canadian Tour in 1959, it was decided that two limos should be ordered to serve both the parades and fairs. We are to believe that this is one of those special vehicles, and it is further likely that her majesty Queen Elizabeth rode in the back seat. The Eatons would continue to use the Imperial regularly over the next several decades but the car was mothballed at their summer home in the 1970s only to return to the daylight in the 90s when it was purchased by a collector from Michigan.
Being owned by such an esteemed family, the state of the car was very well preserved by the end of the millennium and some sympathetic work was completed to preserve the originality. The body, however, was resprayed with correct black paint and still shows well to this day along with the judicious brightwork. The interior is a spectacle to behold. In true limousine fashion, the chauffeur’s space is all business with a durable leather covering the seats. In classic Exner fashion, two large binnacles house jet-age style instrumentation providing the driver basic readouts and the status of the vehicle’s various systems. The passenger compartment is obviously where the specialty of the vehicle becomes apparent. Upon opening the door, one is greeted with a lush pile of fur carpet. Soft wool covers the seat and door cards and a stripe of finely finished wood complements the lavish interior space. For privacy and comfort, a glass partition exists between the two compartments, and air conditioning is available to cool those lucky enough to ride in the back. While some minor wear is apparent on commonly used surfaces, it makes for a charming and inviting patina. Overall, this Imperial shows as a wonderful piece of preservation when luxury meant something a bit different. It remains in healthy and strong condition, both mechanically and cosmetically, and would surely be welcome at shows and special events around the country.
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