The Flying Penquin

David Whitney's 1966 Imperial Crown Coupe

Imperial Home Page -> Imperials by Year -> 1966 -> David Whitney

I check an online board called every day to see who's selling Imperials nearby, and one day I ran across an ad from a guy who was selling about a dozen vintage cars in various states of disrepair for low prices.The 64-66 Imperials are my favorites, and he listed a '66 Coupe with no engine for $600. I was skeptical when I saw the dusty exterior and the condition of the paint and chrome, but there was a tease: Not registered since 1975 and the seller claimed it had been out of the sun since then.

The interior bore out that promise. It's missing one triangle of wood and the two rear cigarette lighters, and one center floor vent has the fins broken off. Other than that, everything is intact and complete, and it looks like only the carpet needs to be replaced.

I was smitten, and then I read the odometer -- 29,130. Everything I've seen since then indicates that is the true mileage. Please contact me if you are the owner of or know someone who owns a lower mileage '66 coupe.

Some of the options were immediately visible, others I learned about through subsequent investigation:

  • Dual A/C
  • Automatic beam changer
  • Auto Pilot
  • Rear window defogger
  • Tinted glass
  • Left headrest
  • Tilt-a-scope steering wheel
  • Trunk lid release
  • Electric door locks
  • Golden Touch AM/FM radio with reverberator
  • Leather split bench seats
  • Vinyl roof

There is fine dust all over everything, which has affected the quality of the photos. The vinyl top is so dusty you can't even tell it's black.

Firmly nestled in my garage, brought by flatbed across San Francisco Bay to its new home in Burlingame.   If you're really observant you'll notice the slight grille damage at the bottom inboard of the passenger side lights.   She's a little lopsided because one tire is completely flat while the other is partially inflated.   Both held air long enough to get the car up on the flatbed and down into the garage.  Please contact me if this license plate number looks familiar.  I’m still working on the car’s history.

This is the only body damage, happened either on the way into or out of the chicken coop.   Happily, since I'm repainting original ivory white, I can use a donor quarter panel/molding and straighten or replace the body molding.  The rest of the body has areas of light surface rust, no sign of accidents (not even a parking lot ding!).

The trunk lock was popped out when I first looked at the car. Here is a lesson for you -- I asked the seller to get a flathead screwdriver and open it, and lo and behold there were seven (!) wheel covers in the trunk. Whereupon he announced he would let me have 4 and he would keep the other 3. Lesson: Just buy the car, look in the trunk later. Also in the trunk were the jack, spare tire cover, air cleaner cover assembly, starter and oh, yeah, the trunk lock along with a couple boxes of odds and ends. Maybe I'll find the keys in there, too?

The trunk was not this well organized when I first opened it. I have arranged the important contents for display.  While crawling around and inspecting the cardboard (fair to good, no major tears or stains and no water damage) I discovered a peephole to the build sheet still embedded behind the rear seat passenger's side. I'll scan it and add to the pages once I figure out how to get it out intact.

The glove box is in excellent condition, hardly used. Inside I found an empty pack of cigarettes and an envelope containing the 1972 registration. This will help me establish the car's provenance and also helped clear up a 40-year-old typo. Seems the card says the VIN starts with V. I explained to the kind lady at the DMV that the first character is the body style and should be a Y. The body style is correctly shown in another set of fields on the card as YM23. Happily, the vehicle was correctly registered as an Imperial Crown so I didn't have to argue whether the maker is Chrysler.

You can't tell from this photo, but there is almost no wear on the pedals or the mat. The autoseek foot control is clearly visible.

All controls are present as is all wood except the bottom triangle on the passenger's side. You can seen the glue that is lighter than the wood. Dash pad and wheel are perfect, tilt/telescope still works AND the eagle center medallion is intact.

No, it's not raining outside and that's not condensation on the inside of the windshield. That's 30 years of dust on the outside. Makes the tinted window show up quite nicely, though. You can't tell through the glare, but the headliner and visors are perfect.

Some time around 1975, somebody took the engine out. I hope to find out why, maybe who and thank that person for causing this car to be put in storage out of the sun for 30 years. The story I got is that the perpetrator(s) pushed the car into a chicken coop (sans chickens), where it sat until 2000, when the seller acquired it and towed it to his warehouse. The transmission bell housing is peeping out from behind the radiator, and the torque converter cover is on the floor in the back seat. Not visible in this photo is the transmission fluid cooler between the radiator and the grille.

The full leather interior is black, as is the vinyl roof. The leather shows very little wear with some amount of cracking but NO sun damage. Where's that Leatherique bottle?

This page was last updated 13 October, 2004. Send us your feedback, and come join the Imperial Mailing List - Online Car Club