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StillOutThere

1957-65 Imperial Limousines by Ghia for Chrysler

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If you are an owner of a 1957-65 Imperial Limousine with coachbuilt body by Ghia of Turin Italy, I would like to start a registry of current owners.

I own the 1960 Crown Imperial 5-window limousine that was special ordered by Nelson Rockefeller when he was elected governor of New York state that year. He used this car for formal events in NY City.

He also owned a '59 Ghia limo which he gave to NY State for his use in Albany, the state capital. When Nelson became Vice President of the United States, the '59 was given back to Rocky and the car remains on display at the family estate, Kykuit, in New York.

Please post a photo of your car and the VIN for reference. Thanks.

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Well this certainly went nowhere. Am I the only Ghia Imperial owner in the AACA?

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Perhaps you are. From my understanding these were very rare cars even in their day. I became moderately interested in them back in the late 70's when a 57 Imperial turned up for sale for a $100. It turned out to be just a regular Imperial but I had hopes that it was.

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StillOutThere... as you know you are NOT the only owner of a Ghia limo but may be the only one that reads posts at the AACA forum. These forums are usually niche places to go and people have to know where to go to post... most of the time they don't have a clue or don't care.

I know that there is a registry for the 1956-1957 Continental MKII (Lincoln) and they are relatively rare today. But there are thousands of owners and title tracking has been done on most, some by way of the Ford Archives research for original owners. I have helped them with current and past owner registries via VIN numbers for certain states.

Maybe if you start a forum unique to the cause there may be more willing to participate, especially with word of mouth and at meets?

Eric

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Wanted to add that there were a total of 132 Ghia built limousines. I am sure with some Google searching and forum searches you can track down several of them and in turn they may be able to locate others and/or say if any were destroyed or lost in some storage facility?

1957 - 36

1958 - 31

1959 - 7

1960 - 16

1961 - 9

1962 - 0

1963 - 13

1964 - 10

1965 - 10

The 1965 was actually a 1964 model with '65 exterior styling.

Eric

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Also the service vehicle forum is lesser trafficked I'd imagine, maybe post a thread in the regular Chrysler forum, or even general with a link to this post? In that case Chrysler fans would remember an owner of similar cars and would be more likely to tell them about your post or direct them to it.

Also, I'm sure in time your post will show up in internet searches so owners may filter in as they get curious from time to time and perform a new search on their cars.

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I would agree that posting to this area would be more likely viewed by the hearse and ambulance enthusiasts. I don't own a Ghia Crown Imperial, but i have driven two of them. Years ago, I was riding in a friends' '65 Lincoln Continental on the way back to the Chicago area when we passed the '59 Crown then owned by Joe Bortz cruising up I-65. Years later, I had the great pleasure of driving that car when the next owners, Bill Lauer and Robert McAtee, moved their collection from California to Durango. CO. They have since sold the car, and I'm not sure where it went.

The other limousine that I've driven is a '64, owned by Cecil McCall of Atlanta at the time. He believed that his car was the blind-quarter car photographed for the '64 advert. Cecil also has sold his car and I believe it went to a collector in Canada.

You would have better luck connecting with Ghia-built Crown Imperials if you were to go to www.Imperialclub.com.

I am in the midst of an extensive restoration of a 1955 Crown Imperial formal sedan, one of 45 built.

Cheers,

Roger Irland

Phoenix, AZ

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I forgot to mention that I saw your car a number of years ago in Pismo Beach, CA. It had recently been restored, including reproducing the smaller than factory Imperial script on the front fenders. I believe that car is also the car that Jacqueline Kennedy used in the funeral in DC in 1963. She simply would not be seen in a Cadillac.

Cheers,

Roger

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I forgot to mention that I saw your car a number of years ago in Pismo Beach, CA. It had recently been restored, including reproducing the smaller than factory Imperial script on the front fenders. I believe that car is also the car that Jacqueline Kennedy used in the funeral in DC in 1963. She simply would not be seen in a Cadillac.

Cheers,

Roger

Interesting. Any particular reason why Jacqueline would not ride in a Cadillac limo? I know around that time Cadillac had a reputation of being a "black person's" car and wonder considering segregation at the time?

Eric

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Jackie Kennedy most certainly rode in Cadillac Limos. Google "Kennedy '59 Cadillac" for a video. The car in the video still exists in private hands in unrestored condition.

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I forgot to mention that I saw your car a number of years ago in Pismo Beach, CA. It had recently been restored, including reproducing the smaller than factory Imperial script on the front fenders. I believe that car is also the car that Jacqueline Kennedy used in the funeral in DC in 1963. She simply would not be seen in a Cadillac.

Cheers,

Roger

Thanks for mentioning you saw my car (Nelson Rockefeller's originally) at Pismo. I had been incorrectly told it was at Pebble and could not follow that up. It would have been shown at Pismo after then-owner Jay Stream of San Luis Obispo had cosmetically restored the car. Now to see if I can find out year and if any photos exist.

This is not Jackie's car. Hers was technically a '61 model (used '60 sheet metal but Ghia's work was completed in '61. Hers was the standard 7-window body rather than Rocky's special order 5-window. But Jackie's is also a special order in that it was full black leather in both the chauffeur's and passenger compartments. Surely "her car", said to be leased from Chrysler Corp., exists somewhere in collector hands but to my knowledge has not been seen since JFK's funeral for which it was used and is seen in photos.

Someone else commented on the Lauer '59 burgundy car. Bill passed away perhaps a year ago by the way. The car is in the Atwell collection here in central Texas.

Thanks for everyone's interest and input.

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A few years back one of the clubs I belong to toured a collection in Kingsland TX (west of Austin) and he had a Ghia limo. He also had 5 of the Chrysler TC convertibles along with many other Chrysler products. I would need to call some people to get a name.

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A few years back one of the clubs I belong to toured a collection in Kingsland TX (west of Austin) and he had a Ghia limo. He also had 5 of the Chrysler TC convertibles along with many other Chrysler products. I would need to call some people to get a name.
Barney, did you get some names? I am interested in asking some questions especially about the Ghia built Imperials and the T&C convertibles!

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My Packards / Imperials Page has a roster of the '57 to '65 Ghia-Imperials including the '64 that I owned for most of the car's life. There should be a link below.

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My Packards / Imperials Page has a roster of the '57 to '65 Ghia-Imperials including the '64 that I owned for most of the car's life. There should be a link below.

I have posted my Rockefeller '60 to the linked page. Also added Rocky's '59 to the roster.

Thanks.

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I own 6 Ghia built crown Imperial limousines.Years are 65,63,60,58,58,57 I have worked on them exstensivley and reproduced Ghia only parts I prefer speaking on the phone feel free to call me David 303-947-0444

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My Packards / Imperials Page has a roster for Ghia-Imperials so if yours isn't listed, I would love to add it! See my signature below for a link. So far, 19 of the 132 Ghia-Imperials are there.

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Hi,

We purchased a 58 Ghia Limo several months ago. Found this blog on the forum.

It's in pretty good condition....registered, inspected, on the road.....I have it at my restorer.....haven't decided where I'm going from here,

We can find no information on the car. Chryslers Historical dept. say they have lost the info for that year....

Anyway.....saw your blog so joined..

Thank you

Regards,

Phelps

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Did you contact the Professional Car Society and the Imperial Owners Club to weed out the Ghia-bodied Imperial limousines? 

 

Keep in mind, with an average production of 15 a year or less, at the most, you'll have 120 or so cars max in your registry!!

 

Craig

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A few years back one of the clubs I belong to toured a collection in Kingsland TX (west of Austin) and he had a Ghia limo. He also had 5 of the Chrysler TC convertibles along with many other Chrysler products. I would need to call some people to get a name.

Might you be mistaken about the location at which you saw the car?   There is a '59 Ghia Limo in the Atwell collection in Fredericksburg, TX.    Occasional tours are given, particularly of his warehouse (former museum) on IH-10 in Kerrville, but the Imperial is always kept in Fredericksburg.

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When I was a kid and my Dad was an executive supervisor for Export-Import Division at Chrysler Corporation, he surprised us five kids and my Mom one evening by bringing THIS car home. He took us for a ride after dark and we could see the stars through the roof. It was an awesome experience as a kid of about 6 years old. Not sure if that is him unloading the car at the airport, but he DID get to do a lot of cool things for his job.

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