Paul Heinzman's 1955 Crown Imperial Limousine

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My '55 Limo is enjoying its warm garage in Simi Valley and all the extra attention it gets since I don't drive a half an hour to visit him.  I decided to name my limo "IKE" after President Eisenhower.  Since it was suppose to be an Embassy vehicle in France, he may have sat in it! Besides my Limo has its battle scars too! Fortunately, they have been repaired. 




The drive from North Hollywood to Simi Valley was without incident.  But it was strange with no (side) windows or interior.  No mirrors either.  I took my bathroom mirror, set it on a towel and taped it to the windshield.  The electrical was by-passed some time ago, due to all the loose wires, so no gauges, lights, signals or speedometer.  I did pretty good on the speed limit by estimating.  My brother-in-law followed to make sure it was a safe trip.  He said I ranged from 58 mph to 62 mph. 





With no carpet or even a mat on the floor boards, it was a louder ride than I'm used to.  We traveled at 8:30 AM on a Sunday morning, so there was very little traffic.  On the next drive, as I took in the new neighborhood, a chunk of rubber the size of the palm of your hand came off the right front tire!  Good thing it didn't happen on the way from North Hollywood -  I don't have a tire jack in this car! Another item the mechanic lost, such a jerk!

So, IKE has 5 brand new 8.20 X 15" tires with 3 5/8" wide white side wall tires.  The factory spec is 8.90's, but no one had any.  The difference in diameter is 1".  So who will notice? They're B.F. Goodrich Silvertowns, just like the ones I have on my 1960 LeBaron, but with wider white walls. 

I couldn't just put them on.  I took out the spare and jacked up the rear to remove those tires.  I scrubbed and polished both sides of the rims, scrapped off the brake drums, sprayed them with rust converter, then had my new tires mounted on the rims at a local tire dealer.  I took the '60 to deliver the tires and rims.  Three on the first trip,  two on the second.  My '60 LeBaron was more than willing to help out his big brother!

They now share the garage. The '54 is in the RV side yard, covered right behind my '88 LeBaron (remember the crunched one?) 

Last weekend, I decided to remove the rear tires of the '54 to clean and paint the brake drums, as well as to clean up the wire wheels.  After all, the prior weekend I took care of the '55's! I jacked up the rear using a floor jack, then removed the left and right wheel bolts.  The '54 uses bolts that screwed into the threaded brake drums. They have *R & *L on the heads to identify which side they are for.  The last person to work on the brakes put the right housing on the left side! Yes, it was the same jerk mechanic that screwed up the limo.  Do I sound bitter?

Anyway, I couldn't get the tires off - they wouldn't clear the fender! After looking under the fenders to see if something I didn't know about was supposed to be removed first and looking over the shop manual, I had an idea. 

First, you wouldn't have a floor jack out on the road in '54.  So, with the floor jack still supporting the rear end, I hooked up the bumper jack.  Guess what? The bumper jack lifts the body first then the axle.  So after a few seconds on cranking on the bumper jack, the tire was clear enough of the fender to remove the tires.  The things you learn while playing with your toys. 

The rear brake drums have been cleaned and painted.  The rear wire wheels have been cleaned and polished (both sides).  In addition, I used rust converter on the spokes that were corroded and then used bumper chrome paint (it's a very bright silver) applied with a hobby paint brush to each one! That's as good as it gets until I can afford to have them replated.  I've heard that it is $300.00 a piece!

This page was last updated on Wednesday, January 17, 2001. Send us your feedback, and come join the Imperial Mailing List - Online Car Club