Wednesday, July 7, 2010

1964 Imperial Continental coupes. Huh?

Imperialista—production Imperial Continental?

C H O P S — I've always loved the Chrysler Imperials of the fifties and sixties, both the flamboyant Virgil Exner designed fifties flagships and the slightly more tailored Elwood Engel sixties versions. This is a 1964 Imperial coupe, Engel's facelift based on the same chassis Imperial had used since 1957. Engel had been hired away from Ford in the early sixties to replace Exner, and this is his first 'real' Imperial. Fresh off the classic '61 Lincoln, Engel really brought as much of a Lincoln Continental feel to the Imperial that he could, with cleaner bodysides, a squared off Continental trunk 'bulge' and a tasteful use of chrome highlights. Far from a fresh-sheet-of-paper design, needing to use the same wraparound windshield and 'hard point' from the formerly finned wonders, I think this series of Imperial is as striking as Exner's. There were awkward parts of the design, an overly tall roof and greenhouse, and the equal-length hood and taillights don't work for me, but overall they were quite tasteful and luxurious looking.

For the first chop above, I moved the cabin backwards on the body, to create a longer hood and shorter deck. I shortened the front overhang a bit as well, lowered the roof a bit and created Continental-type C pillars. This would be the 'volume' production version of an Imperial Coupe. The bespoke Crown Coupe is below. Much more drama to be had there!

A not-very-common 2 door limousine, the Crown Coupe.

This Crown Coupe takes the Imperial back in time in a way, creating an ultra luxurious Limousine Coupe, a bodystyle last seen (and very rarely at that) in the Thirties. The C pillars are huge, providing privacy for the two very special rear seat passengers. I've fared the bumpers into the body in a much more custom way, deleting much of their chrome and replacing it with mere outlines, also enhancing the 'propeller' motif and squared off Continental bulge of the Exner rear bumper. The rear bumper side 'bombs' are lengthened to balance out the C pillar, and I've slammed the roof down as much as possible to enhance the 'sinister' feeling. The LeBaron's already-small rear windshield was widened a bit but narrowed in height, better in keeping with the overall roof shape. Small 24KT gold "Crown Coupe" nameplates add the de rigeur snob appeal, tastefully, well as tasteful as gold nameplates can be. I've parked the Crown Coupe in front of a Frank Lloyd Wright home I found online, which is exactly the clientele Chrysler would have been striving for.

N O T E —  I'll be done with the book project by tonight. Back to work now!


  1. Casey. what can I say, just amazing work with the oldies. I can picture Richard Nixon driving this and giving everyone the v sign as he's on his way to carvel...

  2. thanks, Woody! i've got 4-5 more Exner/Engel chops from the '62 -'65 period at Chrysler. I'll post them soon. That was a fascinating time to be a Chrysler designer.



  4. G'Morning Granny!
    11:45 and i just woke up. I was upworking on a new Lincoln rendering until almost 5am. I just couldn't get to sleep! I think the air has changed a bit today, it doesn't seem as humid so far, or as hot!

    The past few days I was working on a production job for the publisher I freelance for. I do all the paging and layout for several series of books for them. I also clean up the usually bad photography the authors send in, or is picked up from older editions. I like designing one-off books the best, coffee table books sort of, but I mostly take production jobs these days so i can concentrate on my art and this blog!

    This last book was called Connecticut Curiosities, but it was just a coincidence it was my state. I've done Boston, San Francisco, Montana, Missouri and a few others recently. They're light-hearted easy-reading books about odd tourist traps, local history etc. I sent off the files last night, so i'm free again, lol!

    I also do a series for them of historical maps of a state. I've done Texas, Illinois, Massachusetts and Florida. Florida's the newest and will be out in November this year. Every page or two pages, is an antique map from somewhere in Florida. They start off with the oldest maps, i think the 1500s for Florida, and into the late 20th century by the end.

    gonna go tweak my newest LIncoln sport sedan!

  5. Casey, you DO know you have a very interesting life, don't you?? I have tried to imagine the size of a house that would hold apartments containing 3 floors and 2500 sq ft! Bicycles rides into town, the beach, and gardens...I think I could be jealous!! :) And on top of all that, a job freelancing for a publisher..awesome (and interesting!!) Thanks for sharing!

  6. I'm a big fan of the 64-66 Imperials. I love all the enhancements you made to their original design. Great color choice, great backdrops. Totally frameable. Thanks.

  7. "interesting" is one way to describe it, hahahaha. i have to try to remember every day to make lemonade out of the lemon-life I've given myself, every day!

  8. Sorry are posting awesome "chops" and I am obsessing on your interesting life..
    All I want to say is: your next piece of art needs to be named "my lemonade life"
    Take it and run...I think we should BOTH do a project on it and compare notes!! :)

  9. good idea! i found a bunch more old wood today, old siding etc. can't wait to start putting the bases together. they'll all be multiple pieces of wood this tiem.