This wonderful 1954 Crown Imperial limousine is currently owned by Mr. Sofyan Tamara, treasurer of the Indonesian Vintage Car Association. His son, Dedy, has been kind enough to share the story of the car's history.
This Chrysler Crown Imperial limousine was former Indonesian President Sukarno's 9th presidential car. It was ordered by President Bros Tito of Yugoslavia. The car was presented to President Sukarno on his diplomatic visit to the High Conference of Non-Block countries back in early 1955. The car was used as a presidential car during Sukarno's reign as president. (There were more than twenty presidential cars and they still remain, today, in good shape.) When President Sukarno resigned in the late 60's, all of his presidential cars were stored in palaces all over Indonesia. The new president did not take note of them and they soon feel into disrepair. There the car slept for more than two decades, lying lifeless, neglected for many years. The '54 was kept in the palace garage along with several other cars, packed together and full of dust, dirt and spiders.
Then one day in 1987, the Indonesian government realized that these cars were a national treasure and decided to relinquish these cars to enthusiasts in the Indonesian Vintage Car Lovers Association (PPMKI) which was founded in 1979. Auctions were held, exclusive only to PPMKI members (in order to save the cars), to determine who could take them home. Our family happened to win the 9th presidential car, and gladly took it home, even though we did not know anything about the car.
Our new '54 Crown Imperial was showing 3,800 miles on the dash and currently has only 10,000 miles. The car was originally painted army green with a green interior. It came with power steering, power windows, power 'disc' brakes, air conditioning and radio tape, Powerflite transmission and a 331 hemi 4 bbl. Options, as ordered by President Sukarno, included a flagpole and special army green color inside and out. It currently remains mostly original. The green paint is original, the weathered interior is original and the details remains as it was, except for tires, battery, fuses, fans, etc which were needed in order to get it to run. The Imperial is 49 years old, and as an unrestored car is showing its age; it is not running at its best, but we love it that way. Known problems are weathered paint and interior (headliner rot), wrong spring rate, brakes that lock up, and an engine that overheats. The air conditioning, radio and some instruments do not work. We are planning to perform a partial restoration on the car soon, because it will not last longer if neglected, but most replacements will be factory original.
Here are a few of Dedy's other antique cars: