Bob Hope's Imperials

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Don't miss Bob Hope co-star with a 1968 Imperial sedan in "How To Commit Marriage."

From Bob Schmitt:

Speaking of Bob Hope, today is his birthday. 94, I think. That reminds me that there was a white 62 Imperial running around Burbank a few years ago. Its license plate was BOBHOPE. I talked to the owner when he had it up for sale and asked about the plate - he said there was no connection, except he was a big fan of Bob Hope! I haven't seen the car in 2-3 years.

Also Bob Hope lives nearby, on Moorpark Ave. in Toluca Lake.

Living about two miles as I do from Bob Hope's estate in Toluca Lake, I unfortunately have never seen Mr. Hope driving around. However, as recently as 1994, my friend Paul Bunnell (who had the 1962 Crown with the BOB HOPE plates) reported that he had seen Bob driving around Toluca Lake in a mauve 1991-vintage Imperial.

From Jeff Stork:

One of my first automotive memories upon landing in Burbank in 1994 was seeing the aforementioned 1962 Crown hardtop, at night, speed through an intersection. I spotted the car again later that week at a gas station and struck up a friendship with a young man named Paul Bunnell, who is an amateur filmmaker, and got the "BOB HOPE" plate as a tribute to one of his favorites. Paul also collects movie memorabilia including costumes. Anyhow, he is now into Thunderbirds, and sold the car to a friend of mine in the high desert who has been restoring it.

From Norm:

My friend just bought a 65 convertible from a fellow in Old Town who claims that the car was purchased by Fox for the exclusive use of Bob Hope. Curiously, the car does not have tinted glass although it does have air. I know they were mutually exclusive options but it is somewhat unusual to see a/c without tint. Maybe this car really was used by Hope as the registration information does show Fox as the first Owner.

From Kingsrow:

An addendum to Jeff Stork's note

I'd tend to agree with Jeff's assessment that Hope's Imperial was provided by Chrysler rather than 20th Century-Fox. During the early 1980's I worked for Merv Griffin. Bob Hope was a guest on his show. We were all astounded that Mr. Hope came to the studio driving his own car. It was a dark blue 1980 or 81 New Yorker that had a special padded top and looked like it was ready for a Concours d'elegance. One of the producers of the show told me that Hope was given a new car every year by Chrysler and he claimed that it was custom built although it looked pretty much like a stock version to me except for the top.

From Gregory W. Teufel:

Wasn't this about the time Bob Hope was doing the Buick Show on TV? I can't believe that he would own an Imperial when his sponsor was Buick, so it could be that the studio did provide the Imperial...

From Jeff Stork:

As I have been told, Bob's relationship with Buick ended in the late 1950's or very early 1960's when he supposedly was seen on camera driving a Chrysler in a Buick sponsored TV special. Having been raised in Flint, MI (home of Buick), the locals remember this kind of stuff.

If I were to wager a guess, I would bet that the arrangement with Chrysler started around the time Hope made Bachelor in Paradise (1961), which is a 90 minute commercial for Chrysler products.

Regarding the Fox Imperial, while it was possible that the car was provided by Fox to Bob Hope, it would seem much more likely that if Mr. Hope had an Imperial, it seems that it would have more likely been provided directly from Chrysler rather than from a studio.....

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