StillOutThere

1957-65 Imperial Limousines by Ghia for Chrysler

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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.

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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.

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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)

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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

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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)

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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.

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Edited by 8E45E (see edit history)

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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)

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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.

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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)

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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.

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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

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The '60 Ghia for Rocky was just shy of 6000 pounds.   I currently have a '56 Crown Imperial limo by Derham which is about 500 pounds lighter, also built on a convertible frame extended.

 

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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 !

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The “kit car” photo is shown on my Packard / IMPERIAL page but I didn’t look at it before replying to see which year it showed.   You’re right of course, it was 1960 when they started using 4-door models.

Edited by Packard Don (see edit history)
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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.

 

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11 hours ago, 3macboys said:

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.

 

I missed that above thread.

 

I can bet the "LS2-13676 Montreal SO21500 - there is mention of one other car to Montreal possibly S021499 and 2 to Toronto SO21450 second number U/K " as stated in the literature is part of the fleet for Queen Elizabeth's & Prince Phillip's Royal Tour which included the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway.   A photo of it is shown in the fifth post from the bottom on the previous page.   Not sure who owns those Imperials now.

 

Craig

Edited by 8E45E (see edit history)

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And here I was thinking that the Montreal cars we destined for the mafia.  Actually I thought that it made sense that those would be the destinations for these cars only because they were the two main business centres in Canada at the time, but if in fact at least one of them was used on the Royal tour it would explain why someone in the corporate office would want to preserve these notes.  

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4 minutes ago, 3macboys said:

And here I was thinking that the Montreal cars we destined for the mafia. 

If it was TEN YEAR later, you could have been right, though not sure if the FLQ would have driven something so ostentatious.  It would have to have been a special BULLET PROOF model, especially when our current Prime Minister's father instated the War Measures Act to fight them!

 

Craig

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