1951 Imperial Spotter's Guide

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Greg Acker's 1951 Chrysler Imperial 4-door sedan.  Two-toning and white sidewall tires were optional.  This was a significant year for Imperial in many ways.  The line-up was expanded to  include a 2-door hardtop, a 2-door club coupe and a convertible.  Hydraguide power steering, an industry first, was introduced as an extra-cost option on the Imperial, and made standard on the Crown Imperial.  The semi-automatic Fluid-Matic Drive transmission could be optioned with a torque converter, called Fluid-Torque Drive.  And finally, 1951 was the first year for the famed FirePower hemi, Chrysler's first overhead valve V-8 engine.  Series designation was C-54 for Imperial, and C-53 for the two Crown Imperial body styles.

Power steering or not, Imperial drivers still sat behind a BIG steering wheel!  The dash for 1951 was slightly modified from the previous year.  The instrument pod was made larger and set further back from the driver.  It now contained all the primary controls except the light switch.  The ignition switch was relocated to the right of the steering wheel.  The ventilation controls were moved from under the dash to just below the radio.   In an effort to make the semi-automatic transmission seem more like a fully automatic one, a gear selection indicator was added below the selector lever.  It was labeled either "Fluid-Matic Drive" or, if equipped with the optional torque converter, "Fluid-Torque Drive".  Both transmissions still used a clutch, labeled "Safety Clutch" on the pedal.

The front seat of the 1951 Imperial.  This car is upholstered in wool broadcloth, and has the optional power windows.  Such comfortable seating, along with power steering, power brakes and more power than ever under the hood, enabled the 1951 Imperial driver to go great distances in style with little fatigue.   Seat belts are a modern addition.

Rear seat passengers were treated to living-room style comfort.

A nice feature of power window lifts is that the driver had full control of all the powered windows in the car.  This was the second year for electric power windows, which Chrysler pioneered, and were a definite improvement over the previous, somewhat complicated electro-hydraulic system.  Without regular maintenance, the hydraulic fluid would often leak, damaging the paint on the rocker panels and accelerating rust in the bottom of the doors.  The spotlight was a popular accessory for many cars of the early '50s.

1951 Chrysler Imperial Newport

1951 Chrysler Imperial 2-door hardtop.  Although the 1951 Chrysler Windsor Deluxe and New Yorker 2-door hardtops were known as Newports and had "Newport" badging, the Imperial hardtops would not get that designation until 1953.  Wire wheels were an extra-cost option.



One of 650 built

This car is one of 650 built of which 30 are in existence.  1951 was the first year Imperial convertibles were offered since before World War II.  They were discontinued for 1952, and Imperial convertibles wouldn't see regular production again until the 1957 model year.  This car is "Haze Blue".

1951 Imperial Convertible

1951 Imperial convertible belonging to George Noe.

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