Jump to content

1957-65 Imperial Limousines by Ghia for Chrysler


Recommended Posts

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.

post-57494-14313868123_thumb.jpg

post-57494-143138681233_thumb.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 6 months later...

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.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

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

Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

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

Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Link to post
Share on other sites
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

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...
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.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 8 months later...

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.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...
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!
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 months later...
  • 1 month later...
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.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 months later...
  • 4 months later...

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.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 year later...

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

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

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

Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

post-81542-0-35243400-1442088824_thumb.j

post-81542-0-96954700-1442088846_thumb.j

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 year later...

Sorry about the long delayed response.......but I do not have a name for the collector in Kingsland TX, but can tell you the collection is located on the north side of 1431 and the side street is Windsong.  The building is an old boat sales building, some of the cars can be seen thru the glass front windows.

I have been to the Atwell collection a couple of times but did not see a Chrysler limo either time,  but I understand he has cars in more than one location....anyone with 7 Marmon 16 cylinder cars could have anything hidded somewhere
 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...
On 11/24/2016 at 1:14 AM, Imperial ghia said:

I have a 1965 ghia limo project car is solid but needs restoration. if anyone is interested let me know. trying to get more info on history of the car.

 

Can you post some photos of your project car for sale?  Where are you located? You location might make a difference for a potential buyer.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 7 months later...
  • 4 weeks later...

Sorry for the late response as I do not receive notifications from this site and saw your post only by chance as I rarely visit it. Thank you for the heads-up about the CAPTCHA on my site but I just gave it a test and it seems to working so it must have been a temporary issue that has passed.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 year later...

I just discovered your forum.  I am the owner of the Bob Hope 1965 Chrysler Imperial Ghia limo.  It is a frame-off, resto-mod performed by Chip Foose of Foose design and Gaffoglia Family Metalcrafters, both of Huntington Beach, CA.  The car was purchased by my father in 1967 from the Pasadena Chrysler dealer.  In 2005 the frame off restore was started using a new Chrysler 300C SRT8 donor car for the drive train, suspension, wiring harness and electronics.  The body is 100% original and all parts used are Chrysler,  either from the '65 Ghia or from the donor car.  The interior was a custom design by Foose.  The attached photos are from the Concourse D'Elegance in Michigan.

-2ae71828ecaeafe5.jpg

-577f1725f8b0e4b7.jpg

-f9bf09616b4dba19.jpg

-5ecef729a8a93f20.jpg

-1ed2e8efe2063f10.jpg

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

I had a 1964 Ghia-Imperial from the early ‘70 until about 15 years ago and it was a real head-turner wherever it went.  Not the landau model as yours and unrestored but still looked good. Yours is gorgeous but the wheel covers from a later model don’t suit it particularly well. Is there a story behind them?  Also interesting is the lack of LeBaron name plates that mine had on the front fenders and right side of the trunk lid.

 

If it’s not already there, please be sure to add it to the Ghia-Imperial roster on my Packard / IMPERIAL page and if it is there, please send a private message to me with any updates.

Edited by Packard Don (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 11 months later...
On ‎10‎/‎26‎/‎2018 at 11:34 AM, Packard Don said:

Also interesting is the lack of LeBaron name plates that mine had on the front fenders and right side of the trunk lid.

I wonder if Ghia removed them as LeBaron was a one-time coachbuilder like Ghia, and didn't want to see a competitor's badge on 'his' work.

 

Craig

Link to post
Share on other sites

I’m not sure what I meant by that as mine had the LeBaron script on the trunk lid but it had Imperial scripts on the front fenders. The holes for the front fender Imperial plates were obviously drilled later and the holes for the LeBaron plates were there too and clearly factory drilled so I put on the proper LeBaron plates.

Edited by Packard Don (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites

Pure speculation, but perhaps some Ghia employee was aware that LeBaron was a respected independent coachbuilder just as Ghia was and removed them, where a different employee working on another Imperial limousine did not know, or may not have cared, and left the LeBaron scripts in place, which may explain why yours had them, and another one did not. 

 

When a vehicle is sent out to and independent coachbuilder for factory-sanctioned modifications as per contract, holes drilled by the factory may not mean a thing.  For example, 1957-58 Buick and Oldsmobile station wagons did not have 'Body by Fisher' emblems on their rocker panels.  They had this label on the front seat trim instead.

11st013.jpg

Edited by 8E45E (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites

The 1965 brochure with the Ghia also shows the LeBaron script. I suspect that they all had it but that over the years some have gotten changed if switching front fenders or complete clips for whatever reason. It seems more likely than an arbitrary decision by a Ghia employee who would have had only the emblems that came with the “kit car” as supplied by Imperial, which was a LeBaron on a convertible chassis.

 

As for the convertible chassis, that means that they had dual exhaust when the LeBaron was single exhaust but more importantly, there were some chassis components that were different between the convertibles and closed cars, such as the driveshaft support, so it was necessary to specify convertible when ordering these things. Once in the ‘70s when I had my 1964 at the dealer’s parts department and ordered the support, I knew to order it for a convertible and I had done so but the dealer, seeing the car outside, ordered the other type. They are completely different.

Edited by Packard Don (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites

Shot of my '60 Crown Imperial Ghia limousine (Rockefeller's) when on my 2-post lift and I on my back on creeper under it shooting up.  Back when I owned it 6 or 7 years ago.  Shown are some things we are talking about.  The X-member "convertible" frame and also toward the bottom (rear of car) the extensions Ghia had to add in to achieve desired length.   Dual exhaust shown.  Driveshaft support shown.  

 

Also of interest is the box sections added to the frame covering outer floorboard areas.   I think it would be correct in one sense to consider these like "truss boxes" adding additional rigidity to the lengthened frame.  Indeed the car was incredibly rigid.   I also think it is correct to consider these as "bomb proofing" as these boxes are hollow internally and would absorb early concussion from a bomb blast in the road under the car.   Looking under a couple other Ghia limos, these are there consistently.

 

Second photo a little further back shows the rear weld of the exensions and the taper out of the box section.   By time of photos, the driveshaft had been out, individual sections balanced, new Spicer "X" joints installed and a new center carrier bearing.

 

WHAT A CAR.

2011_01080016.JPG

2011_01080019.JPG

2011_01170003.JPG

Link to post
Share on other sites

First time to see a view under one of the earlier models. Starting with the first 1957 Ghia-Imperials, they were based on 2-door Crown models but then at some point, the kits being supplied were 4-door LeBaron hardtops.  I’m not sure where 1960 fell in that regard.

Edited by Packard Don (see edit history)
Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, StillOutThere said:

Shot of my '60 Crown Imperial Ghia limousine (Rockefeller's) when on my 2-post lift and I on my back on creeper under it shooting up.  Back when I owned it 6 or 7 years ago.  Shown are some things we are talking about.  The X-member "convertible" frame and also toward the bottom (rear of car) the extensions Ghia had to add in to achieve desired length.   Dual exhaust shown.  Driveshaft support shown.  

 

Also of interest is the box sections added to the frame covering outer floorboard areas.   I think it would be correct in one sense to consider these like "truss boxes" adding additional rigidity to the lengthened frame.  Indeed the car was incredibly rigid.   I also think it is correct to consider these as "bomb proofing" as these boxes are hollow internally and would absorb early concussion from a bomb blast in the road under the car.   Looking under a couple other Ghia limos, these are there consistently.

 

Second photo a little further back shows the rear weld of the exensions and the taper out of the box section.   By time of photos, the driveshaft had been out, individual sections balanced, new Spicer "X" joints installed and a new center carrier bearing.

 

WHAT A CAR.

2011_01080016.JPG

2011_01080019.JPG

 

It would be interesting to compare the underbody construction to a Mercedes Benz 600; especially a Pullman limousine.  They were also known for having a well-built rigid body.  There were also some 600's made with armor plating and thick window glass which resulted in a VERY heavy car.

 

Craig

Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, Packard Don said:

First time to see a view under one of the earlier models. Starting with the first 1957 Ghia-Imperials, they were based on 2-door Crown models but then at some point, the kits being supplied were 4-door LeBaron hardtops.  I’m not sure where 1960 fell in that regard.

 

The '57-59 Ghia limo conversions were based on Crown coupes as you suggest.   Starting 1960 Chrysler shipped out partially assembled LeBaron  4dr sedans.   Here is one such sedan body either ready to go, or arriving Turin.   And photo of the "parts package" included !

60LeBaronSd_2_Ghia.jpg

60Parts_2Ghia.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

I just discovered this thread, I had posted some info on these cars a few weeks ago on the Chrysler section under:

1956 57 58 Chrysler Imperial C70 C56 Limousine Info

 

All of the documents that I had have been sent to the AACA Library and hopefully they are now in reception of it all.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...