Auctions and Brokerage
The Chrysler Crown Imperial Sedan
Long appreciated for providing solid engineering rather than the trendy styling gimmicks that began to dominate the postwar market, Chrysler’s top-level Imperial line was minimally revised for 1953 with a general smoothing of the basic shape along with a modern one-piece curved windshield and an airy wraparound rear-window treatment, among other subtle refinements.
The Imperial model line continued to offer Chrysler’s renowned 180 hp, hemispherical-head 331 cid FirePower V-8 engine as standard equipment. Late during 1953-model production, Imperial buyers could select the newly available PowerFlite transmission, Chrysler’s first “true” fully automatic unit, which debuted to critical acclaim in the era’s motoring press. Chrysler’s sophisticated and efficient Airtemp air-conditioning system, in development since 1941, was also quietly introduced with limited numbers of Imperials during 1953. Boasting solid build quality and high-end interior appointments to match, these very fine and durable automobiles were built in relatively low numbers compared to their Cadillac and Lincoln rivals and provided a highly dignified alternative to suit Chrysler’s traditionally conservative and discerning buyers.
This striking six-passenger Custom Imperial Sedan is one of the first Chryslers equipped with its excellent Airtemp air-conditioning system, which was introduced with remarkably little fanfare during 1953 and only advertised once the 1954 models were introduced. In addition, this Imperial is a very early example equipped with Chrysler’s PowerFlite automatic transmission. The Imperial was sold new in Phoenix and it has remained there ever since, clearly benefitting from the arid climate and fastidious maintenance and preservation. Under a prior owner during the early 1990s, the Imperial received a high-quality exterior refinish plus some attention to the Jade Gray fabric and leather-trimmed upholstery, with both remaining simply outstanding today.
In addition to the famous 331 cid FirePower Hemi V-8 engine cradled within the very well- preserved engine bay, the Imperial features rich leather and wood grain interior trim, a padded dash with leather covering, power- assisted brakes and steering, power windows, a power-operated front seat, and Solex heat- resistant glass. A 15-jewel Moparmatic self- winding timepiece by Benrus beautifully adorns the center of the steering wheel. The interior is further complemented by striking upholstery patterns, green accents, and luxurious appointments, including front and rear central armrests, footrests at the rear, rear-passenger grab handles, ashtrays with lighters, and courtesy lights. Chrome-plated Chrysler wire wheels and wide whitewall radial tires round out this very attractive and well-maintained 1953 Crown Imperial Sedan, which has travelled fewer than 53,000 actual miles from new. Impressive throughout and highly equipped, this Imperial is truly a rare find at auction and a wonderful postwar American classic.