Imperial, by Chrysler
My 1966 Imperial was sold in April 2010 to a new home in Palm Springs!
1966 Imperial LeBaron
(Note: The authors of all material on this web site retain all rights to their material.)
Welcome to an Internet site about Imperials, a car produced by Chrysler for more than 60 years! This site contains contact information on Imperial clubs and events, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Imperials, a few tech tips, pictures and a story about my Imperial. Also a few links to other Imperial sites.
(last update: 4/28/2010)
I acquired this 1966 Imperial LeBaron on April 1, 1995 and now am probably the third "true" owner. It has a complete history with three families in Santa Monica and Santa Barbara. It had 95,000 miles when I purchased it. It wasn't love at first sight. I knew very little about Imperials when I first saw it - not even where "LeBaron" was in the model hierarchy! I had visualized an Imperial possibly with fins or at least pod headlights. The driving test was smooth and I was sold by the view over the hood to the "eagle" crest. After a little persuasion, I bought the car from my friends in Santa Barbara, Bob Sponsel and Patricia Chidlaw. Patricia's grandparents (John and Ester Chidlaw) were the second owners of the Imperial and it had spent most of its life with her grandfather and grandmother in the Village Trailer Park, (2930 Colorado Avenue, Santa Monica). After they passed away, Patricia inherited the car and moved it to Santa Barbara.
While staying with Bob and Patricia during the
weekend of purchase, I scrubbed the Imperial and started
polishing the paint - turning small sections of the "matte
blue" into Regal Blue. It looked promising. Cleaning
continued on the paint, chrome, leather, interior and trunk. During
1995, numerous cosmetic and small mechanical items were fixed -
hoses, air conditioning, torn leather, sagging driver's seat, etc.
That October, I bought a much improved rear bumper and installed it
in the seller's (Dr. Mike Bullock) driveway. I also acquired other
parts from him at the same time - an antenna, headlight covers,
headrests (not the correct ones), a service manual, leather for
patching worn and torn seats, etc.
California Imperial Owners Statewide Meet in Sacramento, May 6 - 9, 2010
I'll be there to visit my old '66!
California Imperial Owners Statewide Meet in Sacramento, May 1 - 3, 2009
Missed another one!
California Imperial Owners Statewide Meet inSanta Cruz, April 19 - 21, 2007
I did not attend this event, heavy rain and high gasoline costs decreased my motivation to make the drive! Look for a report on the Imperial Club website.
California Imperial Owners Statewide Meet in Solvang, CA, April 27 - 30, 2006
This was held at the same hotel as the 2001 event, the Royal Scandinavian. Rather than show the Imperials at the front of this great location, the meet was held behind the hotel and not very visible to the public. The Datsun club had a show the same day in the center of town which drew hundreds of spectators.
California Imperial Owners Statewide Meet inThousand Oaks, CA, April 30 - May 2, 2004
See the club website for details and see you there!
California Imperial Owners Statewide Meet inMonterey, CA, May 1 - 4, 2003
The largest gathering of Imperials and their fans anywhere!
The 20th ANNUAL IMPERIAL OWNERS STATEWIDE MEET, was held in Monterey,
California, May 1 - 4, 2003. The host club is Imperial Owners Association
of Sacramento Valley. See the online Imperial Club website,
under "Events", for all details.
I was at the Monterey meet - it rained - but have not been otherwise keeping up on the Imperial schedule for the remainder of 2003 except the Friday night "cruise-in" at Bob's Big Boy, Toluca Lake, California - every Friday! My Imperial will be there often.
Click these bookmarks for news about older meets:
Inquiring minds want to know! Sometimes, the same questions come up more than once, so here's a start at collective wisdom:
On the FAQ page is a bibliographic list of references - books and magazine articles - on Imperials:
If your '60's Imperial needs motor mounts, here's the straight story:
On the Motor Mount page is a list of people you can contact for Imperial parts:
Thinking about converting your A/C from Freon to R134a? Here's some good advice from the EPA and others with Imperial experience:
Here is a rambling e-mail discussion over many months on tires - radials, whitewalls, etc. - for the Imperial:
Chris Hawkins sent this great collection of general technical tips for your '64 - '66 Imperial:
Chris also wrote great "how to" carpet installation instructions for your '64 - '66 Imperial:
This is a mostly restored "advertising blueprint" for the 1965 Imperial. This is the same blueprint which appears on the IML web site, as discovered by Mike Gray, then scanned and repaired by Jeff Ingraham. I also did a few touch-ups. Click here for a half-size preview. If you print this full-size, 26" x 24", send me your impressions. If you can convert this to a vector format, please send me a copy! Click below to download the full graphic. It's a "tif" graphic, another large file (1.4 MB) :
Imperials used "glow in the dark" lighting for the dash in the late '50's - early '60's:
Ross Alexander gives us practical experience and ideas for improving an Imperial for towing:
Also from the Imperial Mailing List, here is a partly-organized collection of e-mail on '81-'83 Imperials, mostly on fuel injection trouble-shooting. Note - this is a big, text-only file - more than 1 MB, nearly 500 pages! Be patient while it loads. Contact me for a Word 6.0 file, in "Outline" format.
This is probably the best first-hand report (ever!) of using "Leatherique" to restore dried, cracked Imperial leather seats. I used this product also. Kerry Pinkerton has done two sets of seats and avoided my mistakes:
And here's a template for a "Imperial Calling Card", which you can give to Imperial owners you meet or put on the windshield of a newly-discovered Imperial. There are two sample graphics included, so add what you want and copy it to all ten table cells. You can then print 10 business cards on Avery 8376 forms using Word 6.0 or a more recent version of this program:
Here are two sites for very useful automotive formulas:
and a few more, courtesy of Edelbrock:
Imperial Music - click for midi files:
My favorite and most elegant, informative web site about Imperials is Dave Duricy's:
Dave added multimedia presentations on the 1971 Imperial and a few other years in November, 2001 that is totally unique! You'll need RealPlayer to hear and see it:
Gen Aris has a great 1966 Imperial Crown 4 door hardtop and a nice page of photos with the story of this Imperial. On this page is a link to his experience refinishing the interior claro walnut trim:
Thinking of fully restoring your Imperial? The truly the best story of an Imperial restoration anywhere that I know of - book, magazine, Internet, in other parallel universes, etc. is by Philippe Courant of Pau, France. He is to be congratulated for the story AND the diligence and effort which he put into a wonderful project:
Paul Heinzman, former president of Southern California Imperial Owners club and editor of the "Imperial Eagle" writes about his 1955 limousine and other Imperials:
The most extensive and ambitious Imperial web site, greatly improved, with new material regularly added, is also the home of the Imperial Mailing List:
And Leslie Kettenhofen has created a page with links to many, many other Imperial web sites on that Imperial Club web site:
Mike has two Imperials, the convertible is "Turbine Bronze" (or close to it):
Thanks for visiting!
Bob Schmitt, Burbank, California (web page started February 1999)
Send e-mail to me at:
The new bylaws require $20 annual dues, (on January 1), for membership. This includes the quarterly newsletter, SCIO Newsletter and Event Announcement, but not the former club publication, the IMPERIAL EAGLE.
The IMPERIAL EAGLE was a quarterly
booklet-style newsletter, with color pictures and much Imperial
information. It was last published in 1998. The SCIO
welcomes (needs!) volunteers to help with the newsletter and re-start
Now merged with the Sacramento Club and renamed in 2005, as follows
As stated by the President, this is a "driving club" and proud of the regular tours held several times during the year. Dues are $30 a year, including bi-monthly newsletter (6 issues a year). There are about 85 members.
NORTH EAST IMPERIAL OWNERS CLUB
The Northeast Imperial Owners Club (NEIOC) does not yet have a web site. It is a club of approximately 150 members, primarily located East of the Mississippi. The president, David Brown, wrote, "Our twice a year get-togethers are usually in New England--in CT or MA and one time in NY. The most cars we ever had at one event was 27 IMPERIALS!" The newsletter we put out is called "The Imperial Digest." Its publication schedule is six issues per year, including a Car Show Preview issue. Ad space is free to our members. Hope you want to join us! Imperially -
Membership Info Contact:
Dues are $10.00/year for U.S. addresses and $20 for all others.
We have about 150 paying members and have a reciprocity arrangement
with the NCIOC and Chrysler 300 Clubs.
CANADIAN IMPERIAL OWNERS' CLUB
"The Canadian Imperial Owners' Association is an independent group of Imperial owners dedicated to the care, preservation, restoration, and sheer pleasure of owning and driving Imperials and other fine Chrysler products. Above all else, fellowship among their owners. We are, and always will be a non-profit, non-commercial group set up to assist one another whenever possible. The members will also assist the public in any way so they too will understand why we are so proud of this impressive marque."
"Our Goal Is Fellowship, Our Means Are Imperials"
Dues were $40.00/year for 1999.
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