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Thread: Imperial LeBaron

  1. #1
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    Imperial LeBaron

    Imperial LeBaron 1971

    In 1955, Chrysler created the Imperial brand to compete head-on with Lincoln and Cadillac. Unfortunately, Chrysler's foray into the luxury field never achieved great success and by 1971 the brand was on shaky ground. For this model year, Imperial was reduced to a single model line. The 1971 LeBaron, a name previously applied to only the top-of-the-line Imperials, was offered in only two bodystyles: two- and four-door hardtops (pillared sedans were discontinued after 1969).

    Along with the rest of Chryslerís full-size products (full-size in this case means 19 feet (5.8 meters) from end to end), the Imperial had been fully redesigned in 1969 and given a new ďfuselageĒ body. Yearly styling updates kept the Imperial looking fresh (including an all-new but similar-looking body in 1972) until Chrysler full-size models received a significant redesign for 1974.

    All 1971 Imperials had a 440-cubic-inch V-8 (7.2 liters) with 335 horsepower and 475 foot-pounds of torque paired with an automatic transmission.

    Standard equipment on 1971 Imperials included power steering, power windows, power brakes, reclining front passenger seat, glove compartments in each door, carpeted trunk, and vinyl top. Options included air conditioning, AM/FM radio, 8-track player, rear defroster, cruise control, power door locks, sunroof (2-door models only), and headlight washers.

    A unique option that was new for 1971 Imperials was Bendix 4-wheel anti-lock brakes. The 1971 Imperial was the first American production car to be fitted with this feature, although its high price (more than $350) meant that not many buyers selected this option (about 230 according to one source).

    Production totaled 10116 four-doors (base price: $6276) and only 1442 two-doors (base price: $6044) for the 1971 model year, but Imperialís days as a separate brand were numbered. The last Imperial branded cars were sold in 1975.

    I photographed this immaculately imperious and imposingly impressive 1971 Imperial LeBaron four-door hardtop in Midnight Blue Metallic one October evening in the parking lot of a hotel in Charlottesville, Virginia. I saw it from the bus, not immediately recognizing what it was, and was sufficiently intrigued that I got off at the next stop and backtracked on foot for a closer look. When I realized it was an Imperial, I knew I'd made the right decision. I love Imperials and for once my camera actually had plenty of battery life, so I may have gone a bit overboard on the number of pictures.

    This car has belonged to Jim Corbett of Virginia since Fall of 2006 and more information about this particular car is on his page at ImperialClub.org: Jim Corbett's 1971 (Chrysler) Imperial LeBaron

    An excellent resource for all things Imperial: Online Imperial Club (OIC) for Imperial, Chrysler Imperial, and Chrysler New Yorker Brougham Enthusiasts
    The 1971 Imperial on imperialclub.org: 1971 (Chrysler) Imperial Home Page
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    UCP's biggest (only?) fan of the '74-'76 Mercury Cougar.
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    My favorite color is chrome.

  2. #2
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    Imperial LeBaron #2
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    UCP's biggest (only?) fan of the '74-'76 Mercury Cougar.
    UCP's proudest owner of a '74 Cougar

    My favorite color is chrome.

  3. #3
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    Imperial LeBaron #3
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    UCP's biggest (only?) fan of the '74-'76 Mercury Cougar.
    UCP's proudest owner of a '74 Cougar

    My favorite color is chrome.

  4. #4
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    Imperial LeBaron #4
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    UCP's biggest (only?) fan of the '74-'76 Mercury Cougar.
    UCP's proudest owner of a '74 Cougar

    My favorite color is chrome.

  5. #5
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    Imperial LeBaron #5
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    UCP's biggest (only?) fan of the '74-'76 Mercury Cougar.
    UCP's proudest owner of a '74 Cougar

    My favorite color is chrome.

  6. #6
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    Imperial LeBaron #6
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    UCP's biggest (only?) fan of the '74-'76 Mercury Cougar.
    UCP's proudest owner of a '74 Cougar

    My favorite color is chrome.

  7. #7
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    I've always wanted to drive (and/or own) an Imperial from that era.

    A bit of trivia:
    The 1973 Imperial was an incredible 235.3" long!

    (Compare with the biggest of the Cadillac Fleetwood Broughams, '74-'76, at 233.7".)
    '76 Cadillac Fleetwood Seventy-Five Limousine, '95 Lincoln Town Car.

  8. #8
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    Whoa, that's a pretty massive car...
    Everything ends at 666...
    666 666 666 666 666 666 666 666 666 666 666 666 666 666 666 666 666 666 666 666 666 666 666 666 666 666 666 666 666 666 666

  9. #9
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    Nice stuff, and nice introduction too.
    KFL Racing Enterprises - Kicking your ass since 2008

    *cough* http://theitalianjunkyard.blogspot.com/ *cough*

  10. #10
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    Simply nice car!!

  11. #11
    Truly amazing car...and fantastic pic... Thanks.

  12. #12
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    Unlike Chrysler, Dodge, and Plymouth divisions, Imperial was never set up with its own distinct Imperial dealerships, so it ultimately lacked a perceived up-market image distinct and separate from that of the basic big Chrysler.

    To many people (over the years) the nameplate ultimately offered little more than an otherwise expensive re-styled New Yorker. By 1971, public perception was just that: an overpriced New Yorker. For that reason more than anything else it failed as a separate marque.

    Pre-1955 Imperials were offered as Chryslerís top-of-the-line automobile since 1926. In previous model years, the Chrysler Imperial had traditionally competed against Buick and Oldsmobile.

    In 1955, Imperial was offered in two distinct models: Custom and Crown. Crown was the top-of-the-line eight-passenger sedan or limousine. One truly unique feature of the Crown Imperial was 4-wheel disc brakes Ė standard Ė not even offered on any other American automobile. How about European automobiles? Forget it!

    In 1971, Imperial was indeed the first American production car to offer the Bendix 4-wheel anti-lock brake option, but, Thunderbird and Lincoln had offered a 2-wheel (rear brake) Kelsey-Hayes unit called Sure-Trak since 1968. Buick Riviera offered the Max-Trac non-slip traction control in the same year. All quite rudimentary by todays modern standards, but thatís only 40-years of technology. LOL!

    Here are some more excellent sources of info on Imperial:
    [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chrysler_Imperial"]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chrysler_Imperial[/ame]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imperial_(automobile)
    [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chrysler_New_Yorker"]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chrysler_New_Yorker[/ame]

    Here is a January, Ď71 Road Test magazine article on the 1971 model.

    I have lots of road tests on the Imperial line. Enjoy!
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    Terry
    _______________________________________________________________________
    You know that you have it made, when you want for nothing, ask for everything, and receive exactly what you "deserve".

  13. #13
    Nice info Terry. Thanks.

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