After the tremendous success Imperial enjoyed in the late fifties--having sold nearly 40,000 models in 1957--the decision was made to move the division to its own production facility, the Warren Avenue plant in Dearborn which had formerly been home to DeSoto. Imperial began producing its 1960 models here in August of 1959.
Proud and excited about this move, and anticipating benefits for Imperial in terms of quality and brand identity, Chrysler Corporation released a "Press Kit" touting the plant's features and innovations and the executives responsible. Also included was a brief history of Imperials and a pamphlet comparing Imperial with other 1960 models.
Club Member David Buchesky says:
Earlier in its career. this plant was owned by Graham. It made Hupmobiles. Later it became Arlan's Imperial City, a retail facility.
Club Member Bill Watson's Historic Notes:
Actually, there were two plants building Imperials in the 1955-1975 era. The East Jefferson plant was used for Imperial production from 1955 to 1958, and then 1961 to 1975.
The 1959 to 1961 Imperials were built at the former Graham-Paige/DeSoto plant at 8505 West Warren Avenue, Dearborn. The plant was built in 1924 by Paige Motors (later Graham-Paige) and during WW II part of the plant was used by the DeSoto Division for assembly of airplane wings. The plant was an "E" shape with vertical part of the "E" along W Warren.
Graham-Paige was taken over by Joseph W Frazer and associates in 1943 and became involved with the Kaiser family and helped form the Kaiser-Frazer Corporation in 1945. J. W. Frazer and G-P separated from Kaiser-Frazer in 1947 and sold the W Warren plant to the DeSoto Division of Chrysler in 1948. Eventually Graham-Paige would become Madison Square Garden Corp, a real estate firm. In 1950 part of the W Warren plant was tooled to build DeSoto bodies for the main assembly plant at 6000 Wyoming Avenue. In 1951 another part of the W Warren plant was tooled to assemble DeSoto hemi engines.
At the end of the 1958 model year, Chrysler Corp. was busy overhauling plants to build bodies in house in preparation for the arrival of unibody construction in the summer of 1959. DeSoto had Detroit production of the Firesweep set up at the Hamtramck plant and for 1959 production of the 126" wheelbase DeSotos moved to East Jefferson. The OIC site has information booklets on the new Imperial plant in the 1959 models. However, with the Imperial sales sagging, Chrysler decided to move Imperial assembly from W Warren to E Jefferson in June, 1961
We invite you to take a self-guided, interactive tour of Imperial's Warren Avenue facility. When you're done, you can also take souvenirs of the press kit with you by printing out the large, original files at the bottom of this page.
Print out any of the original press release documents by clicking on the links below.
CAUTION: File sizes are very large.
Having trouble with printouts coming out way too small, or pieces of a document printing acro ss sev eral page s?
Then go to our "How To Print Imperial Literature" page to learn how to print an item at the size you'd like.
This page was last updated December 1, 2002. Send us your feedback, and come join the Imperial Mailing List - Online Car Club