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1981 Chrysler Imperial


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I got this car in a package deal, but it turns out to be pretty darned nice. These were interesting cars and I think it's more attractive than the bustle-back Seville and certainly less common. Two owners, 19,158 original miles, spent most of its life in Florida. Original paint, interior, chrome, engine, etc., a slam-dunk in HPOF competition. Runs and drives like new, very little wear, excellent bodywork. Everything works, although the A/C has a leak somewhere and will only hold a charge for a few weeks at a time--it works, but eventually leaks down. Unusual (and functional) AM/FM/CB radio with mic. Interesting features like the French crystal (not plastic) hood ornament and heated mirrors. 5.2 liter V8 originally fitted with fuel injection, but the system was so unreliable that the factory issued a mandatory retrofit kit for dealers to install a 2-barrel carburetor--the changeover is invisible, presumably so they could do it without fundamentally altering the car in the eyes of the owner. It works, starting instantly and idling smoothly, even when it's cold. Almost all of them have the conversion and I bet the number of cars still running on the original EFI is very small. Recent tires and shocks, so it rides and handles like it should. Extensive documentation includes window sticker, purchase order, factory manuals, letters, warranty registration, and everything else you'd get with the car. Also includes the original Mark Cross binder and umbrella, still in the original box and unused. Asking $19,632, the exact same number you'll find on the original window sticker. You won't find a better one.

 

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  • Matt, Not to be a naysayer, but if it was factory (Dealer) converted to carb then the mileage is since the conversion. The original mileage should be on a sticker sometimes on the back of the speedometer and sometimes on the door post. I had several of these, including cars running on the original FI. Good cars, underrated and underappreciated. I decided to go older and sold all of the ones I had (4 at one point) . Good luck. Rob
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1 hour ago, vintchry said:
  • Matt, Not to be a naysayer, but if it was factory (Dealer) converted to carb then the mileage is since the conversion. The original mileage should be on a sticker sometimes on the back of the speedometer and sometimes on the door post. I had several of these, including cars running on the original FI. Good cars, underrated and underappreciated. I decided to go older and sold all of the ones I had (4 at one point) . Good luck. Rob

 

I just can't believe that's true. Why would the dealer have set the odometer back to 0? The rest of the car still has miles on it, it isn't a new engine or anything like that. The fact that the induction system changed doesn't magically remove wear and tear from the rest of the driveline, things that the owner would still need to be aware of. I can't imagine that the factory would instruct dealers to roll back odometers simply because they changed carburetors. That would probably be a crime in most states. Perhaps you are thinking of the control head for the dash? Those digital speedometers were also very problematic and many were replaced and at that point, I would think there would be a discrepancy warning or sticker somewhere on the car. But not for simply changing a carburetor. No way.

 

It's also academic since the second owner of this car, who bought it from the first owner in 1983, was the dealer who sold it to the first owner. I got it from his son along with a few other cars. He confirms the mileage is authentic and it comes with an original mileage title. The mileage on this car is legit.

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When someone is really critical about verification of the mileage there is a small stress spot that tends to get a hairline fracture after 100,000 miles. All they have to do is lean over the edge of the trunk and look very closely near the rear wheel at the floor pan line. Really close now, bend way over.

 

Yep, nice big trunk. It was only going to be on the Frank Sinatra model, but they standardized it. Vegas trunk.

Bernie

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10 hours ago, Matt Harwood said:

 

I just can't believe that's true. Why would the dealer have set the odometer back to 0? The rest of the car still has miles on it, it isn't a new engine or anything like that. The fact that the induction system changed doesn't magically remove wear and tear from the rest of the driveline, things that the owner would still need to be aware of. I can't imagine that the factory would instruct dealers to roll back odometers simply because they changed carburetors. That would probably be a crime in most states. Perhaps you are thinking of the control head for the dash? Those digital speedometers were also very problematic and many were replaced and at that point, I would think there would be a discrepancy warning or sticker somewhere on the car. But not for simply changing a carburetor. No way.

 

It's also academic since the second owner of this car, who bought it from the first owner in 1983, was the dealer who sold it to the first owner. I got it from his son along with a few other cars. He confirms the mileage is authentic and it comes with an original mileage title. The mileage on this car is legit.

Factory would not instruct a dealer to reset mileage to zero, under any circumstances.

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9 hours ago, RICHELIEUMOTORCAR said:

   Wow, what a nice Imperial. You sure have some nice cars Matt. I am very impressed. I have the same car. 81, white with white leather and blue carpets with the factory moonroof. The only difference is my car has the factory alloy wheels. My aunt bought it new as a 70th birthday gift to herself. It had a 22k window sticker which was just ridiculous, however, she felt that she worked hard all her life and earned it. 22k was Eldorado money in 81. Dealer discounted the car $2000 so she paid 20k even. Traded in her 76 Dodge Dart for it. Take about an upgrade. Alot of people suddenly disliked her because of that flashy new car. The car also still has it's original fuel injection system. It was built in September of 80 and she picked the car up in October of 80. It was one of the first Imperials in her county. Nobody knew what the heck it was. She never had any issues with the EFI and although the dealership offered to have the changeover to a carb done, she left it alone. She gave me the car when she stopped driving at 85 so that was in 1996. It's been sitting in my garage since. I wonder if the EFI system is still good after 20 plus years of sitting.... One note, I recall the only extra cost option offered was the moonroof. Leather or cloth was offered at the buyer's option at no extra cost and so were the wheel options, again, no extra cost for wire or alloy wheels.

What a shame you let your aunts nice car sit 20 years. The original fuel system glued up with varnish is finished off now.

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I had one of these for a couple of years, 1988-1990. Bought it from the original dealer's wife in my hometown--1988 was the first time it had been sold; she had put about 40,000 miles on it; still had the fuel injection system which worked fine until 1990--was beginning to stall and act up right when I sold the car.  The car got pretty decent fuel mileage for its size and weight. I remember that the chrome plating on the plastic turn signal lever and plastic cruise control started to delaminate, and would cut my fingers if I wasn't careful! Also, if I let the car sit in the garage unused for more than two or three weeks, something would run the battery down. Rare, distinctive car with crisp styling, but I was glad to see it go after the injection system started acting up.

Pete Phillips

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The mileage was reset to zero during the factory EFI to carb conversion and an asterisk would appear next to the miles on the instrument cluster. The conversion replaced a LOT of components on these cars. What is the second sticker on the jamb of the driver's door?

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57 minutes ago, daniel boeve said:

Its a nice car but i still like cars that i can go too with my old tool box when something is wrong but with the cars starting from the eighties your tool box is outdated .

 

Throw a multimeter in the tool box and you should be good. with this one.

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Here is a thread from our forum which has run from

2008-2015.  It discusses the 1981-83 Imperials rather 

thoroughly, and even has some links to more information.

 

As for Chrysler turning back the odometer when 

problematic Imperials were converted from fuel injection

to carburetion:  I have read that also.  In fact, this thread

mentions a "dot" over the odometer, which I understand indicates

that a mileage-turnback was done.  True Imperial experts,

such as those in the WPC Club, could undoubtedly tell more.

 

 

Edited by John_S_in_Penna (see edit history)
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When the injection was changed at the dealer it came as a kit with carb, manifold, gas tank, fuel pump, NEW INSTRUMENT cluster, computer, fuel lines and all gaskets. I am not interested in downing this very nice car. This is just information that those of us that had owned these are aware of. It certainly does not diminish this car and was a certified repair by the dealer. Wonderful cars for the modern era. With the change over they make very dependable and usable cars. I wish Matt all the success in find a new home for this car, it will certainly make a new owner a fine vehicle. Some cars were done almost at point of sale, but the kit did not come out in 1981. I am not aware of the date of these kits becoming available. I am sure some one else will know. Again Matt, your points are well taken, it just was the way the factory recommended the change.

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No dot over the odometer. No sticker. CarFax confirms mileage at 16,000 and change in 2000. Whatever the procedure, this car doesn't have a rolled-back speedometer. The guy I got it from confirms it, as his father was the selling and servicing dealer and bought the car from the original owner when it was just a few years old. He had his service techs in his own dealership do the conversion and specifically told them not to alter anything regarding the appearance of the engine. Without removing the air cleaner, you would not know it has a carburetor. The electronics are still in place, just disconnected, to preserve the illusion.

Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)
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