Imperial Home Page -> Imperials by Year -> 1965 -> Carl Salmons
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I (Mike Trettin, 1956 Imperial) moved to Iowa in the Fall of 1998, and for the first two weeks we were here, my wife, 5 sons and I crashed at the beautiful 1884 Victorian home of my brother- and sister-in-law, Carl and Cathy Salmons of Des Moines. Not only were they wonderfully generous and gracious hosts, but I was thrilled to learn that Carl was a dyed-in-the-wool Mopar guy. He worked at the Belvidere, Illinois plant in the mid- and late-sixties (both before and after his tour of duty in Vietnam), and has owned a range of Chrysler products, including this "Silver Lilac" 1962 Imperial LeBaron. Speaking of 62's, my OTHER brother-in-law, Don Stratton of Houston, TX, is also a '62 Imperial lover who owns a nice white convertible, as well as a black 4-door Crown Southampton. I'll bet there aren't any other Imperial owners out there with two, unrelated brothers-in-law who've owned 1962 Imperials! But I digress.... Fast forward to the summer of 1999: having rekindled the flame of Imperial ownership, Carl spotted a '65 Crown Coupe advertised at auction in a small town in northwest Iowa. A court appearance (he's a lawyer, not a criminal...OK, moot point...) in Des Moines would mean he couldn't attend the auction, so he sent yours truly with a wad of cash and high hopes. Buying cars at auction with other people's money is exciting and satisfying--I highly recommend it! The light blue '65 Crown Coupe I drove away with that day was straight and solid, but needed a little of everything. Soon, though, Carl had it cleaned up and roadworthy, and it became his daily driver and even attended the Midwest Imperial Meet in Cedar Rapids, Iowa in June of 2000. Later that year, one of Carl's clients relayed the story of a '65 convertible for sale just south of Des Moines, and one visit to a warehouse in December was all it took to convince Carl to buy a matching topless companion for his coupe. Both cars are light blue with blue leather interiors and white tops.
The photos shown here were taken on a nice fall day at the Iowa Capitol building, which is only a mile from the Salmons' restored Victorian home in downtown Des Moines. Carl so far has rebuilt the entire suspension and steering systems (including new rear leaf springs), as well as the brakes, and with four new Firestone FR721 wide whitewall radials, the car handles beautifully! It's also amazing how rigid the bodies of these convertibles are, with none of the squeaking or rattling of doors that I experience with my own '76 Eldorado convertible. In fact, I'm hard pressed to notice any difference in ride quality between this convertible and his closed Crown Coupe. The 1965 Imperial Crown convertible came with a luxurious array of "standard equipage", including power windows AND vent windows (with driver's lock-out switch), Sentry Signal warning system that monitors gages for you, retractable front safety belts, 6-way power seat and electric clock. 1965 was also the first year for the column-shifted automatic transmission, though for '65 it used the cables shared by previous push-button Torqueflites, making it a one-year-only transmission! Convertibles all came with interiors upholstered in leather, which the brochure boasted was made unusually supple through the use of "Tahitian coconut and whale oils", and also enhanced by such exotic ingredients as "Argentine quebracho wood, bark from the South African wattle tree, and the leaf of the Sicilian sumac." In addition to these standard features, Carl's car is well-optioned with air conditioner, Auto-Pilot automatic speed control, power door locks, adjustable steering wheel, Sure-Grip differential, AM transistorized touch-tuner radio with power antenna and rear speaker, and right outside rear-view mirror. It's also blessed with perfect original parade boots--does anyone know if these came as standard equipment?
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