323 Heater & Defroster
325 Power Disc Brakes
326 6 Way Power Front Seat
327 Power Steering
328 Power Windows
331 Vanity Mirror
332 Solex Glass
334 Tilt Mirror
349 Dual Headlights
351 Power Antenna
356 Electro Touch radio
357 Flitesweep Decklid
Option Group #3 includes rear window defroster (most options available for 1957)
One of very few such remaining examples especially in such original, unmolested and documented condition and a top-of-the-line model for the Chrysler Corporation.
This particular car has always been owned since new by only obviously very careful and mature owners and it is a southern California car which has seemingly always been garaged as it is both a rust and accident free true survivor!
Imperials most popular model year; 35, 793 produced, including only 4, 885 Crown Southampton Two-Door Hardtops with the new for '57 392 cu. in. 325HP Firepower V-8 engine with the legendary and flamboyant Virgil Exner styling, the first year available with quad headlights and with what appears to be a mostly all original factory interior.
The car has been owned for many year by an Imperial enthusiast who is very well known in the 'Imperialist' community and boasts its original 392/ 325HP 4 barrel V8 engine which is extremely strong and powerful and sounds absolutely magnificent and this particular car drives absolutely magnificently - must be driven to be fully appreciated - does not miss a beat and purrs like a kitten - drives straight as an arrow with no strange road wobbles, shakes or rattles - a truly remarkable daily driver that will give any modern day car a run for it's money! The Torqueflite automatic transmission shifts smoothly through the gears and the car is an absolute pleasure to drive! The car has obviously always been well maintained and all the options work as they should and the car boasts its original spare wheel and jack in the trunk!
Chrysler's best car was spun off as a separate make and division beginning with the 1955 models and what a terrific car it was! Chrysler now had 5 divisions with a line up of cars to match GM in every market level with the Imperial as it's top-of-the-line model directly aimed at Cadillac and Lincoln. Styled by Virgil Exner along the lines of his 1954 Parade Phaeton show cars. A big split eggcrate grille with parking and turn signal lamps integrated atop the front bumper and the new streamlined Imperial hood ornament was used up front with distinctive gunsight tailights adorning the rear and sculpted flowing bodylines with fully radiused rear wheel openings appearing in between with the distinctive freestanding chrome trimmed tailights atop the rear fenders. A wraparound 'Super Scenic' windshield made it's first appearance and power was supplied by Chrysler's Hemi V8 to ensure the car's heritage as a true and rare milestone car and in 1956 a newly enlarged 354 CID V8 engine powered the very lightly restyled 1956 model.
The Hemi V8 received its first major upgrade this year in the form of more displacement and increased compression ratio. The new engine was 354 cubic inches and horsepower was up 30 to 280 @ 4600 rpm. The Powerflite transmission returned for one more season in the Imperial but now featured the pushbutton shift control from a pod mounted on the instrument panel instead of the previous years one year only 'Finger Tip' shift lever located on the instrument panel. The base Imperial line also gained a 12 volt electrical system this year that helped support the growing number of standard electrical features now common in all luxury cars. At the front the cars were nearly identical to the 1955 with all the big changes were at the rear of the car. It began with the chassis and wheelbase of the base Imperial being stretched 3" at the rear. This allowed for longer rear quarters with slightly redesigned full length bodyside trim which wrapped around the larger tailfins. Also rear bumpers were redesigned to better integrate into the body and new rear quarters.
In 1957, with a total redesign of the entire Chrysler corporate line, the Imperial leapt leaps and bounds ahead of the competition in terms of styling and design. The redesign also brought Imperial a body that was not shared with other Chrysler models, at last breaking the ties with Chrysler's lower priced models. The Imperial followed the corporate theme of longer, lower and wider as well as the sweeping tailfins and lower body side trim. Imperial hardtops had a distinctive roofline that distinquished them immediately from other cars, with the C-pillars wrapping over the top. Beneath the rooflines was found the first use of curved side windows. Inside the cars boasted all new clean styled instrument panels and an array of new fabrics and patterns for seats and door panels.
Other new styling features included a new mesh type grid pattern full width grille with front fenders that overhang the dual headlamps. Single headlamps were still available for buyers in states where the dual headlamps were actually still illegal. Bodysides continued to be tastefully adorned and the rear quarter panels sprouted taller tailfins. New for 1957 also was the optional horizontal simulated Continental tire mounting stamped into the trunk lid and adding a note of distinction and exclusiveness to the car. A similar feature would later appear on the 1959 Plymouth Sport Fury and the 1960-61 Valiant line.
Under the hood the new Imperial gained a new 392 CID V8 replacing the former 'Hemi' engine and it was mated to Chrysler's new 'Torqueflite' automatic transmission and this new combination gave the Imperial a powerplant comparable to any of it's rivals. The Imperial also now offered a 'Crown' lineup which was the top-of-the-line and a step up from the base Imperial lineup with the long wheel base limousine models featuring a lavishly styled interior trim and a body custom designed and built in Turin, Italy by Ghia. These changes made the Chrysler 'Crown' Imperial a very exclusive custom built car owned only by the very affluent few.
The Imperial model of the mid 50's and early 60's sold well and remained a strong contender with Cadillac and Lincoln, the two other luxury marques of its day. The 1963 mild face lift design was reminiscent of Virgil Exner's earlier designs and especially the Lincoln Continental which he had styled for Ford. By 1964 the Imperial was completely 'Continental' in character with its fenderline traced in brightwork like the big Lincolns and about the only left over in the design being the familiar hood ornament. Even the dash panel was completely redesigned.
With very few remaining 'Crown' Imperials of this caliber left, this is an extremely unusual opportunity to own a great daily driving and unmolested survivor example of this first year and rare and very desirable and collectible 1957 Chrysler 'Crown' Imperial 2 Door South Hampton Hardtop in very fine daily driving condition for any classic American car or Mopar or indeed 'Imperialist' enthusiast to enjoy or collect today!
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The Chrysler Imperial, introduced in 1926, was the company's top of the range vehicle for much of its history. Models were produced with the Chrysler name until 1954 and again from 1990 to 1993 and the company tried to position the cars as a prestige marque. Chrysler advised state licensing bereaus that, beginning in 1955, ...
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