As you explore the world of classic cars, it's hard not to be captivated by the 1965 Chrysler Imperial. This rare gem offers vintage car enthusiasts a taste of luxury, performance, and history, all wrapped up in one elegant package. It embodies the essence of the era with its astonishing engineering and design, making it an exceptional collectible for any car aficionado to appreciate.

Step back in time and imagine the excitement surrounding the 1965 Chrysler Imperial when it was first unveiled to the public. The brainchild of renowned designer Elwood Engel, this stunning vehicle quickly became the epitome of opulence within the automotive industry of the 1960s. With its distinctive glass-enclosed dual headlamps and a range of luxurious features, the Imperial Crown and LeBaron models held their place as top-of-the-line choices for the discerning driver who desired the finest in automotive excellence.

Take a closer look at this beauty, and you'll discover a variety of noteworthy features that contribute to its underrated status in the classic car world. Boasting a powerful 413 engine, this timeless beauty showcases not only elegance in craftsmanship, but also remarkable performance for its era. From the luxurious interiors to its commanding presence on the road, the 1965 Chrysler Imperial truly stands as an important piece of automotive history - one that you can appreciate and admire for years to come.

History of the 1965 Chrysler Imperial

Virgil Exner's Influence

The 1965 Chrysler Imperial owes much of its unique design to the legendary automobile designer Virgil Exner. As you learn about the Imperial's development, you'll see that Exner's signature styles played a significant role in shaping this classic luxury car. Under Exner's direction, the Imperial adopted a clean, streamlined, and futuristic look. It's remarkable to witness his design sensibilities in the Imperial Crown, especially its striking glass-enclosed dual headlamps.

Elwood Engel and the Lincoln Continental Connection

Following Virgil Exner's tenure, designer Elwood Engel joined the Chrysler Corporation and brought his experience from working on the iconic Lincoln Continental. As you explore the 1965 Chrysler Imperial further, you'll notice certain design similarities to the Lincoln Continental. However, Engel made sure to maintain the Imperial's distinct identity, with a complete redesign of features like a unique grille and longer wheelbase.

As you take in the history, it becomes evident that the influence of two remarkable automotive designers, Virgil Exner and Elwood Engel, played a significant role in shaping the car's development. Discovering the variety of models, such as the Imperial Crown and Imperial LeBaron, adds to your appreciation of this underrated classic luxury brand.

Design and Features

Unibody Construction

In 1965, Chrysler Imperial featured a unibody construction that provided the car with a sturdy and solid foundation. This design choice resulted in a vehicle with improved handling and a smoother ride. You'll appreciate the solid feel and stable road manner of this classic luxury car.

Imperial Crown and LeBaron Models

The 1965 Imperial offered a few models: the Imperial Crown, the Crown and the LeBaron. These models were designed to compete with the likes of Cadillac, Lincoln, and other luxury cars of the same era. The Imperial Crown was a stylish and more affordable option, while the LeBaron was a top-of-the-line luxury car with exclusive features. Some unique features you would find in these models include:

  • Leather seats
  • Power windows
  • Automatic transmissions
  • Air conditioning

Exterior and Interior Design

Exterior Design:

The 1965 Chrysler Imperial had a distinctive and eye-catching exterior design. With its large dimensions, the car exuded an aura of power and luxury. One of the standout features of the Imperial's exterior design was its distinctive front grille, which added to the car's imposing presence on the road.

Interior Design:

When it comes to the interior design of the 1965 Chrysler Imperial, you would find a well-crafted cabin with luxurious materials and attention to detail. Both the Imperial Crown and LeBaron models featured leather seats and premium trims that conveyed the car's top-tier status. In addition, the car was equipped with an array of convenience features, such as power windows, air conditioning, and available options like an AM/FM radio and power-adjustable seats, ensuring that you and your passengers ride in unparalleled comfort.

Remember that the 1965 Chrysler Imperial was built for those who wanted a unique, comfortable, and luxurious driving experience. With its unibody construction, the Imperial Crown and LeBaron models, and its striking exterior and interior design, this classic luxury car serves as a testament to Chrysler's commitment to providing you with the best in automotive design and technology.

Performance and Specifications

Engine and Horsepower

In 1965, Chrysler produced the stunning Imperial Crown, which featured a powerful gasoline engine with a displacement of 6771 cm3 / 413.2 cui. The engine boasted a remarkable advertised power of 253.5 kW / 340 hp / 345 PS (SAE gross) and a torque of 637 Nm / 470 lb-ft. With its rear-wheel drive and automatic 3-speed gearbox, you can expect excellent performance and smooth acceleration on the road.

Separate Full Perimeter Frames

One of the key characteristics of the 1965 Chrysler Imperial was the use of separate full perimeter frames, which provided enhanced structural integrity and a more comfortable, smoother ride. This feature, coupled with the powerful engine, resulted in a luxurious and unforgettable driving experience.

Chrysler 300 Comparison

Comparing the 1965 Chrysler Imperial to the popular Chrysler 300 can help you better appreciate the unique qualities of both models. While the Chrysler 300 was known for its "letter series" performance luxury cars, the Imperial was the pinnacle of Chrysler's lineup, focusing more on luxury and sophistication. The Imperial offered a variety of body types, including 4-door sedans, 2-door hardtops, and convertibles, catering to different preferences and needs.

Despite their differences, both the Chrysler 300 and the Imperial shared remarkable performance capabilities and exquisite design elements that made them stand out in the automotive market during the 1960s.

Remember, when considering a classic car like the 1965 Chrysler Imperial, it's essential to appreciate these unique features and historical significance – that's what makes owning and driving them such a rewarding experience.

Buying a 1965 Chrysler Imperial

Classic Car Dealers and Private Sellers

When looking to buy a 1965 Chrysler Imperial, you have a few options. You can find listings on websites like and Classics on Autotrader. These platforms offer both dealer and private seller listings, which gives you the opportunity to compare various conditions, prices, and locations.

Evaluating Condition and Value

As a potential buyer, it's essential to carefully evaluate the condition and value of the 1965 Chrysler Imperial you're interested in. Pay close attention to the vehicle's exterior, interior, and mechanical components. Don't be afraid to ask the seller questions about the car's history, including restoration work, repairs, or any potential issues.

When determining the price, consider factors such as rarity, originality, and overall condition. Online valuation guides such as the classic car blue book can provide a helpful starting point, but keep in mind that classic car prices can vary significantly depending on the market's current demand.

Verify Make, Model, and VIN

Before committing to a purchase, ensure you're getting what you're paying for by verifying the make, model, and VIN of the 1965 Chrysler Imperial. Authenticating the VIN can help you avoid scams, replicas, or misidentified vehicles. Consult reliable sources like classic car registries and enthusiast forums to ensure you have accurate information. Additionally, conducting a thorough inspection and test drive will provide better insight into the car's overall condition and performance.

In summary, when buying a 1965 Chrysler Imperial, take the time to research listings, thoroughly evaluate the car's condition and value, and verify essential details, including make, model, and VIN. By doing so, you'll increase your chances of finding a gem that you'll be proud to drive and show off.

Maintaining a Classic Imperial

Restoration and Maintenance Tips

When it comes to maintaining a 1965 Chrysler Imperial, you'll want to give your classic car the proper care to keep it in great condition. Here are some tips to help you along the way:

  • Regularly inspect your Imperial for any signs of wear, rust, or damage. Catching issues early can save you time and money in the long run.
  • Keep your car clean and protected by washing it frequently, and wax it at least once a year to retain its original shine. Don't forget the undercarriage and engine compartment!
  • Change the oil and fluids according to the manufacturer's recommendations or at least every 3,000 miles, whichever comes first.
  • Keep an eye on your Imperial's tire condition and pressure, as they play a crucial role in your vehicle's overall performance and safety.

In case of restoration projects, you'll need to be patient and proactive. Take your time researching the specific components and methods involved in restoring your Imperial. Consult with experts or join forums like For C Bodies Only Classic Mopar Forum to gain knowledge from fellow enthusiasts.

Repair and Parts Resources

Sourcing the correct parts for your 1965 Chrysler Imperial can be challenging but rewarding. Here are some resources to help you find what you need:

  • Use online platforms like Hemmings and to search for car parts, vendors, and other helpful information on maintenance and repair.
  • Connect with other Imperial owners through forums and social media groups for advice, parts sourcing suggestions, and shared experiences.
  • Don't hesitate to reach out to expert mechanics and restoration specialists who have experience working with classic cars similar to your Imperial.

Remember, keeping your 1965 Chrysler Imperial in tip-top shape takes dedication, but the result—a beautifully maintained classic car—will make your efforts worthwhile. Happy maintaining!

Legacy and Collectibility

Comparisons to Cadillac and Lincoln

As a luxury car enthusiast, you might be interested in how the 1965 Chrysler Imperial compared to prestigious contemporaries like Cadillac and Lincoln. The 1965 Imperial, alongside Cadillac and Lincoln, was part of the "Big 3" American luxury automobile market. While the Imperial was often overshadowed by the popularity and success of Cadillac and Lincoln's Continental models, it stood out with its unique design cues and features.

The Imperial's design was inspired by classic American luxury marques like Duesenberg, Pierce Arrow, and Packard. Chrysler aimed to recreate the grandeur of these legendary brands and solidify its position in the luxury car market. This resulted in a distinct and elegant offering that can now be appreciated by collectors and classic car enthusiasts alike.

1965 Imperial LeBaron and Green Hornet

Among the various models of the 1965 Imperial, the LeBaron was the most luxurious offering. It was available in both two-door and four-door options, with the Imperial Crown sitting just below the LeBaron in terms of prestige. The LeBaron quickly gained popularity for its aesthetic appeal and extensive list of features.

A noteworthy mention among 1965 Imperials is the custom car famously dubbed the "Black Beauty," which was featured in the 1960s television series The Green Hornet. This modified Imperial took the form of a sleek and menacing, crime-fighting vehicle that significantly boosted the model's collectibility and cemented its legacy in popular culture.

The Imperial Brand and Its Impact on Chrysler History

The Imperial was a key development in Chrysler's long and storied history. Initially, Chrysler released the Imperial as a high-end trim for the Chrysler Six, including various luxury features such as torque, coupé, and phaeton options. In 1955, the Imperial was transformed into a separate make, which carried the Chrysler name for several years before entering the market as a standalone brand.

The Imperial line was responsible for many historical achievements in Chrysler's portfolio, such as introducing innovative limousines and flagship models like the New Yorker and Saratoga. The Imperial's evolution from a luxury trim to a standalone marque signified Chrysler's commitment to competing in the high-end automobile market and helped solidify the company's role among luxury carmakers.

As you explore the legacy and collectibility of the 1965 Chrysler Imperial, you'll discover its unique place in American automotive history. It may not have reached the same level of recognition as some of its competitors, but the 1965 Imperial remains an impressive and underrated classic that's well worth seeking out and preserving.