The Pick of the Day is a 1955 Imperial Newport two-door coupe — just don’t call it a Chrysler. From 1955 through 1975 (plus a 1981-83 revival), Imperial was a separate brand of the Chrysler Corporation, competing with Cadillac, Lincoln and Packard as America’s finest motorcar. This particular vehicle is listed for sale on ClassicCars.com by a dealership in Illinois.
When Virgil Exner introduced Chrysler Corporation’s Forward Look in 1955, it injected much-needed excitement into a company that was lagging in style compared to its cross-town competitors in Detroit. Imperial in particular was a crowning achievement of sorts, preening with added distinction compared to previous years, which often came off as an upscale Chrysler.
For the first time in years, Imperial was on equal footing with Cadillac, even though Cadillac was at its style peak during this era. Thanks to “100-million-dollar look” styling, including a wide egg crate grille (which the Chrysler C-300 “borrowed”) and distinctive, show car-inspired gunsight taillights mounted on the rear fenders, Imperial declared its arrival in high style.
A four-door sedan and the two-door Newport hardtop coupe were the core Imperial models, with a Crown limo for those who wanted to make a splash at the social club. That paled compared to the breadth of Cadillac’s lineup, but its trump card was engineering — long a Chrysler Corporation competency. A 331ci FirePower Hemi V8 with 250 horsepower competed toe-to-toe with Cadillac save the Eldorado. Within a few years, Imperial would exceed Cadillac on just about every objective metric.
This Jade Green over Platinum 1955 Imperial Newport for sale on ClassicCars.com is one of 3,418 built and features a matching leather and cloth interior with power front bench. Aside from the standard power windows, desirable options include 15-inch chrome wire wheels with faux spinners and air conditioning, a pricey option that added more than 10% to the price of the car. Included with the Hemi V8 was PowerFlite automatic transmission with dash-mounted lever. The odometer reads 71,239, though the seller has not indicated whether those are the original miles.
You may have noticed that 2023 has already brought some crazy prices at auction on TV, but that doesn’t mean every car is priced out of reach for the average collector. In the case of this 1955 Imperial Newport, it’s an attainable $27,000. It’s nice to see that sanity still exists in the collector car world.