They were sexpots with wheels- voluptous styling, plush interiors, and lots of automotive jewelry. They seemed to drip with chrome and styling gimmicks- monstrous fins, freestanding headlamp pods, swiveling seats, square steering wheels, and eagles literally woven into the upholstery fabrics and embossed into the leather. It's like Chrysler Corporation meets Imperator.
George Hamilton seduced Delores Hart in a '59 Crown Convertible. Tony Randall rescued Doris Day's virtue in a '59 Le Baron. Ethel Merman complained about being last in a '62 convertible, Leigh Taylor-Young committed vehicular manslaughter for kicks in a sexy '68 convertible. And Ann-Margaret launched herself into film notoriety by torpedoing off a curve in a white '64 Crown hardtop.
Of course we're talking Imperial, the highest achievement of Chrysler Corporation, who maintained a separate production line to make a comparative handful of chariots to rival Cadillac. They were positioned with dramatic advertising headlines like "By Imperial Decree" and "Gay Companion". And while they did not win the sales race, they're certainly fun and fascinating to remember. So we're dropping in on the Imperial Owners Club Statewide meet, held this past weekend in Palm Springs.
So here we go, "By Imperial Decree"
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