West Coast Classics are proud to present an exceptionally straight and rust free and great daily driving survivor of this very rare and original Mopar - a southern California 1956 Chrysler Imperial South Hampton 2 Door Hardtop with its original 354c.i. FirePower 280HP 4BBl V8 engine and factory options including very rarely ordered factory air conditioning ($567), PowerFlite automatic transmission, leather & broadcloth interior, electric clock, 4 way power seat, power steering, power brakes, power windows, full floor carpeting, full wheel covers, front & rear pull down armrests and with added options of heater & defroster ($78), and MusicMaster AM radio (101)! One of very few such remaining examples and a top-of-the-line model for the Chrysler Corporation.
This particular car has always been owned since new by only obviously very careful and mature owners and it is a car which has seemingly always been garaged as it is both a rust and accident free true survivor! The car boasts its original 354/280HP 4 barrel V8 engine which is extremely strong and powerful and sounds absolutely magnificent and this particular car drives absolutely magnificently - must be driven to be fully appreciated - does not miss a beat and purrs like a kitten - drives straight as an arrow with no strange road wobbles, shakes or rattles - a truly remarkable daily driver that will give any modern day car a run for it's money! The PowerFlite transmission shifts smoothly through the gears and the car is an absolute pleasure to drive! The car has obviously always been well maintained and all the options work as they should and the car boasts its original spare wheel and jack in the truck and very rare factory air conditioning seldom ordered in 1956 cars due to its exorbitant cost!
This particular example has all recent service history showing that at no time was any expense spared in this car's preventive maintenance including:
Carburetor rebuild Radiator recored Rear Brake shoes replaced Fuel tank replaced Brake master cylinder replaced New shocks, tie rod ends, king pin kit Rebuild steering gear box Rewire all window wiring Rechrome bumpers Remanufactured fuel pump Replace water pump New generator New weatherstripping New tires
Chrysler's best car was spun off as a separate make and division beginning with the 1955 models and what a terrific car it was! Chrysler now had 5 divisions with a line up of cars to match GM in every market level with the Imperial as it's top-of-the-line model directly aimed at Cadillac and Lincoln. Styled by Virgil Exner along the lines of his 1954 Parade Phaeton show cars.
A big split eggcrate grille with parking and turn signal lamps integrated atop the front bumper and the new streamlined Imperial hood ornament was used up front with distinctive gunsight tailights adorning the rear and sculpted flowing bodylines with fully radiused rear wheel openings appearing in between with the distinctive freestanding chrome trimmed tailights atop the rear fenders. A wraparound 'Super Scenic' windshield made it's first appearance and power was supplied by Chrysler's Hemi V8 to ensure the car's heritage as a true and rare milestone car and in 1956 a newly enlarged 354 CID V8 engine powered the very lightly restyled 1956 model.
The Hemi V8 received its first major upgrade this year in the form of more displacement and increased compression ratio. The new engine was 354 cubic inches and horsepower was up 30 to 280 @ 4600 rpm. The Powerflite transmission returned for one more season in the Imperial but now featured the pushbutton shift control from a pod mounted on the instrument panel instead of the previous years one year only 'Finger Tip' shift lever located on the instrument panel. The base Imperial line also gained a 12 volt electrical system this year that helped support the growing number of standard electrical features now common in all luxury cars.
At the front the cars were nearly identical to the 1955 with all the big changes were at the rear of the car. It began with the chassis and wheelbase of the base Imperial being stretched 3" at the rear. This allowed for longer rear quarters with slightly redesigned full length bodyside trim which wrapped around the larger tailfins. Also rear bumpers were redesigned to better integrate into the body and new rear quarters.
The Imperial model of the mid 50's and early 60's sold well and remained a strong contender with Cadillac and Lincoln, the two other luxury marques of its day. The 1963 mild face lift design was reminiscent of Virgil Exner's earlier designs and especially the Lincoln Continental which he had styled for Ford. By 1964 the Imperial was completely 'Continental' in character with its fenderline traced in brightwork like the big Lincolns and about the only left over in the design being the familiar hood ornament. Even the dash panel was completely redesigned.
With very few remaining Imperials of this caliber left, this is an extremely unusual opportunity to own a great daily driving example of this first year and rare and very desirable and collectible 1956 Chrysler Imperial 354 V8 2 Door South Hampton Hardtop and fully loaded with factory options including ultra rare factory air conditioning (at a cost of $567 in 1956 equivalent to over $5,400 in 2020 according to the CPi inflation calculator!) in very fine daily driving condition for any classic American car or Mopar or indeed 'Imperialist' enthusiast to enjoy or collect today!