Buddy Arrington's Winston Cup NASCAR 1981 Chrysler Imperial

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Buddy Arrington raced 2 1981 Chrysler Imperials in the Winston Cup stock car series of auto racing.  Although he received no Chrysler support, he finished eighth in the NASCAR points total for the 1982 season.  Unfortunately, Buddy's Imperial was the last Chrysler product to run in the NASCAR Winston Cup series.

The Imperials were first run at the very end of the 1982 NASCAR season, and in only 2 races. Buddy Arrington campaigned a 1981 Dodge Mirada for all of the '81 and '82 NASCAR seasons (save the two races he ran the Imperials in). After finishing eight in total points for the 1982 season, Buddy alternated between the Mirada and the Imperials in the '83 season. For '84 and '85 (until May '85), Buddy campaigned the Imperials on the superspeedways and the Mirada (which he converted to a Cordoba by changing the nose cone/bumper assembly) on the short tracks. He never won a race, but finished as high as 6th in a few short track races.


The picture at left is from sometime in 1983 and shows Cecil Gordon's '83 Imperial running with Buddy's '83 Mirada. Take a close look at both cars, as they have been tricked up aerodynamically. The Mirada body shell has been lowered on its chassis to the point that the wheel-well openings are almost at the top of the fenders. Cecil's Imperial's front and rear fenders are puffed out similarly to lower the car down as well.  Cecil ran 13 races in '83 (with 15th being his best finish).

Buddy sold one of the Imperials (the other is at the International Motorsports Hall of Fame's Motorsports Museum in Talladega, AL) and the Cordoba to a racer named Maurice Randall in June '85. Mr. Randall raced them in NASCAR until Dec '85, at which point they came afoul of the NASCAR 3 year body rule. The Imperial and Cordoba were then used on the ARCA circuit until Dec '88. Mr. Randall never finished in the top 10 of any race he entered with either car.

Buddy's #67 Imperial became #93 after being purchased by Maurice Randall, and was used 2-3 times in 1985.


Shown here is another NASCAR Imperial, Rick Baldwin's 04 car that he ran fairly often in ARCA races in '82-'84 and in NASCAR in '83. Rick only ran it four times in '83 because he didn't qualify for the other races he tried to enter, or couldn't find sponsorship.

Rick did some driving for Buddy Arrington in the late '80s after Buddy switched to Ford T-Birds.  Sadly, Rick crashed during qualifying for the June, 1986 Winston Cup race at Michigan (while driving Buddy's car).  Rick was badly injured and remained in a coma for eleven years until June 19, 1997, when he passed way at the age of 42.

When Buddy wasn't running the Imperial, he used this Mirada (he actually had 2 of them) on the short & medium tracks, etching up several top-10 wins from '81-'84.

Thanks to Jim Hannaford for contacting Mr. Arrington's assistant at Arrington Racing to obtain this information!

In May 2005, Mr. Joe Machado took this picture of Buddy's Imperial at the International Motorsports Hall of Fame's Motorsports Museum in Talladega, AL.


Many thanks to Dan Wing for contributing the following pictures.
83BuddyArrington_md.jpg (126749 bytes)

(Here is a really large version of this picture.)


(Here is a really large version of this picture.)

Models of the Arrington Imperials

A couple of Imperial enthusiasts have built models of Buddy Arrington's Imperials.

This page was last updated July 7, 2005.  Send us your feedback, and come join the Imperial Mailing List - Online Car Club