Cory Wheeler's 1965 Imperial LeBaron

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I have always thought the Imperial was a beautiful and remarkable car. I can remember back when I was a kid a beautiful dark green and black Imperial that drove around my hometown. A real estate agent owned it and it was the only Imp in town. Wow, what an awesome car I thought! Following it down Main Street, seeing the rear eagle is what I remember best. All of a sudden it was no where to be seen. Turns out he sold it to another guy in town who kept it hidden for about five years. One day while I was out driving around I decided to drive by where I believed it to be and to my amazement there it sat in his driveway! Now I was excited, I had to find out if it was for sale. Turns out he was willing to sell it but he wanted way more than I could afford, so I had to leave it with hopes of one day owning it. Well, I moved away but whenever I went back to my hometown, I drove by just to make sure it was still there. This went on for about 4 years. Well, now I own that very same Imperial. This is my story.

On December 18, 1999, I decided to call and see if the price of the Imperial was now in my budget. I called and the owner and he told me he was now anxious to get rid of it because he was tired of keeping it licensed and had no use for it. He shot me a price and I was on my way to his house in a heartbeat. Now this would be the first time I had every seen the Imperial close up. Turns out it was a 1965 LeBaron. It was dark green with a black vinyl top and black leather interior. I was so excited! We primed it and it fired right up after not being started in almost a year. It was very loud due to a rotted exhaust system but it purred and ran very smooth. I was somewhat surprised in the condition of it after examination because I remember it being just beautiful and pristine. Turns out the exhaust was shot, the tires where bald bias plies, the paint was rough, it had some rust, and none of the electric gadgets worked. Oh well that's expected for a 35-year-old car that really was not cared for.

So, I bought it for a song and drove it back to my father's house for the night. The next morning I decided to drive it the 2 hours back to Lincoln. This later turned out not to be such a good idea. Aside from being very loud, it handled pretty bad due to the bad tires. About halfway home, it started to run very bad and started to stall out on me. It was snowing and cold. I would let it set for about 10 minutes and it would fire up and run fine for about 15 miles then stall out again. This went on for the remainder of the trip. The normal 2 drive ended up taking 4 hours.

The next day I pulled the fuel filter and it was almost completely clogged with rust! Turns out the fuel tank was rusty and the fuel was about 10 years old! I drained all the old fuel, flushed the tank, and installed a new filter and I was back in business.

I have now owned my 65 LeBaron for a little over 3 months. In that time I've given it new tires, a new exhaust, fixed 95% of the electrical gadgets and just given it some plain old TLC that it desperately needed. I LOVE THIS CAR!

My Imp has just over 100,000 miles on it but runs beautiful, drives awesome and gets the looks by almost everyone I pass on the streets. When I sat down and examined the title I discovered that the second owner only put 180 miles on it in 10 years!

Future plans include a new paint job, new headliner, new carpet, new trunk cardboard and updating the points ignition to electronic. Long live the Imperial!!

Lots More picts of this great car!


This page was last updated October 8, 2003. Send us your feedback, and come join the Imperial Mailing List - Online Car Club