The accompanying photos were taken while the car was at the upholstery shop, with most of the work already complete. Be sure to also visit the 1962 Imperial Home Page.
As in all these shots, the front seat is not in the car, and the hub caps were left at home for safe keeping. Fresh rechroming lookin' good.
I'm the third owner of this fine car. The car was first sold by Manhattan Chrysler in New York City to a leasing company and leased to an executive with Pittsburgh Plate Glass. My Father bought it from the original owner/leasing company in 1964. It was the only family car until 1976 when it was retired to the garage at 92,000 miles, to be pampered and taken for the occasional Sunday drive. From '64 until leaving home in early '68 I was often the proud driver of "The Chrysler". Yes, I know that's not the correct title for an Imperial of 1962 vintage; it was a family habit that developed thanks to its two predecessors, 1950 and 1958 New Yorkers. The habit was reinforced when it was necessary to distinguish it from its new stablemate, not a Chrysler or an Imperial.
The black paint is missing from the groove in the chrome trim on the fins and under the trunk lid. It hadn't been replaced following the rechroming. It's still that way today. I don't know what the white square is on the left end of the rear bumper; maybe a tag from the chrome shop? One of several different vanity plates my Dad had over the years. I remember one that said "IMP 62". I'm going to try to find that set.
I went to college locally, lived at home, and frequently enjoyed driving the Imperial to school. One of the most useful missions it accepted was when I became engaged. In a custom not often heard of these days, I bought my fiancee (now my wife) a "hope chest". The brand name most frequently associated with these boxes was the "Lane Cedar Chest". If your Mother or Grandmother still has one you'll recognize the name, and the size. The store delivered the chest to my house. It was my job to get it to my fiancee's house. But as big as an Imperial trunk is, the cedar chest would not safely fit in without risk of damage. No problem! I just lowered the top and it fit perfectly between the rear seat armrests. It couldn't have been designed to fit any better. On the way I did get a few stares from passersbys ... it was Christmas time in northern Virginia, convertibles were not in season, and the load in the back seat was not obvious to most.
Incorrect tan on the inside of the top, but I like it. Rechromed top arms. The white plastic lens on the courtesy lamp was broken in either removal or replacement. It was replaced shortly after with one I found on a '64 convertible in a Georgia junkyard. Notice that the brushed finish on the stainless (aluminum?) panel above the armrest has been polished smooth by the driver's elbow. Does anybody know where to have these refinished with the brushed surface?
In 1984 "The Chrysler" was beginning to show some age. My dad had joined the "Imperial Owners Club, International" chaired by Joe Rezzino out of Scranton, Pennsylvania. With advice from the club, including our own Chic and Nancy Kramer in nearby Maryland, he set about some improvements. The engine got a upper end look-see that resulted only in grinding a couple of valves. The transmission needed nothing. The rear leaf springs were replaced to correct the usual sagging back end.
The color in this shot is more lifelike than the whiter shade shown above.
For cosmetics, much of the chrome was replated, the car got a fresh coat of the original alabaster white after stripping to bare metal, and the interior was redone as close to the original as possible. That included custom dyed hides for the seating surfaces, new "rolled and pleated" vinyl on the door and rear panels, new black carpet, and a dye job on the dash pad in the original black. The top was replaced with non-original black canvas with tan underside, a la older luxury cruisers; and the scissor-arm mechanisms on the top were rechromed. The top well was replaced, but the original boot cover is still in use. The trunk carpet and original trunk cardboards were replaced using a heavy felt material (don't know the proper name).
This shows surface rust under where the sill cover plate goes. It looks like some more serious rust repair was underway at the trailing end of the sill. Removal of the overspray on the door gaskets, bumpers, and hole plugs is still on my "to do" list. The chrome box hanging under the center of the dash is a swing-out "Kleenex" dispenser. I have the original installation instructions for this, so I think it must have been an add-on at some point, although I think it was there when the car came into the family. It's not a MOPAR branded item.
My Dad lost either the interest or the energy to continue caring for the car so he gave it to me in late 1995 with 112,000 on the odometer. Since then an overseas work assignment has allowed only the very rare visit to its storage location. However very soon I will begin working on it. It's showing a little age on the restoration work, and needs some engine work, maybe a rebuild; but I'm looking forward to riding around town in the not too distant future, turning heads, and proudly proclaiming the answer to the inevitable recurring question .... "what IS that?"