K.T. Keller's Custom 1955 Imperial Convertible

Imperial Home Page -> Imperials by Year -> 1955 -> K.T. Keller


This car was restored by Chip Loree.  He sent Bill Johnson, an ImperialClub Mailing List member, the following email about this project:

I have just completed a very extensive frame off restoration of Chairman Keller's 55 Imperial Convertible Prototype.
I have uncovered a tremendous amount of information on this car from (3) ex-Chrysler employees who actually worked on  
my car in Central Engineering.  One gentleman painted my car, one designed the one-off continental kit, and the third
performed service on the car while Keller was using it.  It has an Engineering Experimental VIN code "9999".  I've
also learned some things about the (2) 1956 Imperial Convertibles that exist.  Imperial Division President Quinn
and Paul Smith, Editor of Collier's Magazine were the first owners of these two cars.  They were 1956 New Yorker 
Convertibles that Chrysler sent to George Barris in California to change the bodies to the Imperial style.  Standard    
Imperial Newport interiors were used. They still both exist, and because they have New Yorker serial numbers,
their production figures are lumped in with the New Yorker Convertible production figures.  In contrast,
there are many many special one-off features on the 55 Prototype that were never used on any other car.
Some highlights include: 
   * Four bucket seats
   * One off Continental Kit
   * Special severe wrap-around windshield with wind wings
   * Pedestal mounted 2-way rear view mirror
   * Consoles in the front and rear compartment
   * Personal thermos mounted in the rear Console 
   * Many one-off white bronze cast emblems and trim
The list goes on and on.                
Chip Loree  



Here is a personal story written by Mitch Carr about his encounter with this wonderful car:

I just saw the K. T. Keller Imperial convertible this past Saturday (8/5/00) in front of the Walter P. Chrysler Museum. Beautiful and perfect do not begin to describe that car. It was in town for the Meadow Brook show next door. I'd like to answer some of the questions about this car. Chip Loree does own the car. The car was originally a stock New Yorker, rebuilt to be an Imperial. The rear fins are the heavy one's. During the 60's this car sat on a California used car lot, with the asking price of $600. Some kid just about lived in the car, out in the California desert. When Chip got the car, it was pretty complete, but in sad shape. I understand that a huge about of money was spent on it's restoration. It took four tries to build a new windshield. Over one hundred old New Yorker trim holes were welded shut. The originals were leaded shut. Hides and carpet were dyed to match. Seat springs were blasted and repainted. 

Mitch Carr

(click on small images to view full size versions)
Rear Seat Front Keller Car Interior Picture

Interesting notes: Each rear passenger has two power window switches (visible in picture). One for each of the rear window. Oddly enough, the front passenger only has one power window switch. There is a compartment between the two rear seat back cushions with a flask, or could be a Thermos jug. 

Neal Herman's pictures:

Side KT Keller Imperial in Front of WPC museum Side of Imperial Group Next To Imperial
Lincense Plate says Only One

Back of KT Keller Imperial

Some very nice detail shots taken by Bill White outside the Walter P. Chrysler Museum:








Some older pictures taken by Wayne Graefen at an Imperial gathering near the H.M.S. Queen Mary, Long Beach, California in 1993

Hemming's excellent article on the history of KT Keller's Convertible

and read even more about this car in Mopar Action Magazine.


This page was last updated June 12, 2011.  Send us your feedback, and come join the Imperial Mailing List - Online Car Club