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1966 Imperial
Mobile Executive Show Car

Picture an office with a 440 cu. in. V8 under it!

1966 Imperial Mobile Executive Show Car ad (click to view larger version)Picture a walnut-paneled office, with leather upholstered chairs, copy transmitter-receiver, dictating machine, two telephones, conference table, typewriter, reading lamp, air conditioner, television—and a 440 cu. in V8 engine under it, and you have the 1966 Imperial Mobile Executive Show Car!

For the car show circuit in 1966, Chrysler created a fabulous Mobile Executive Show Car that looked like your basic Imperial Crown Coupe on the outside, but was a very different creature inside. Chrysler advertised the car as an executive suite on wheels, that was equipped with almost every conceivable modern convenience deemed necessary by the busy executive of circa 1966!

Here's how it worked: the front passenger seat swiveled 180º so the secretary could face the back seat, where it was assumed the busy executive of circa 1966 would be seated. At his reach was a conference table, two telephones, a dictating machine, and a copy transmitter-receiver machine. To make sure the busy executive of circa 1966 was comfortable while he worked, the rear seat was actually two bucket seats, equipped with recliner seat backs so the busy executive of circa 1966 could recline and relax while dictating letters to his secretary, or pounding out the details of his latest merger or take over.

The upper portion of each rear bucket seat back could be raised to provide a convenient padded headrest for a quick nap so the busy executive of circa 1966 could arrive at his next meeting relaxed and refreshed. Detachable pillows provided even more comfort to those rare moments reserved for relaxation.

For those times when the busy executive of circa 1966 and his secretary were required to work late, a portable high intensity reading lamp conveniently allowed the two the ability to work well into the wee hours of the morning, if necessary. One would assume all this was happening while they were being whisked to their next destination, but we've got to ask, why not take an airplane? They did have planes in 1966, did they not?

1966 Imperial Mobile Executive interior sketch.jpgWestern steerhide leather upholstery and 100 year old claro walnut wood paneling completed the compact and efficient office suite atmosphere. When Chrysler said that there had never been an automobile like this, they were correct. One has to wonder what the busy executive of circa 1966's wife thought of her husband's rolling office suite! Required, of course, would be a chauffeur to drive the car and presumably prevent any hanky panky by the other two occupants by his very presence on the scene, but everyone knows chauffeurs expose no secrets about what goes on while they're on duty behind the wheel.

Believe it or not, Chrysler actually offered this as an optional feature on the 1967-1968 Imperial Crown Coupe! Called the "Mobile Director," it was priced at a whopping $597.40 in 1967. Needless to say, there wasn't a huge market for such a set up, as most busy executives and their secretaries preferred the comfort of a hotel room...oops...we mean their office...for those late night and weekend work assignments. Think of it what you will, but there's little doubt that the Mobile Director remains one of the most unique options ever offered on an automobile.

It's interesting to note that the 1966 Imperial Mobile Executive Show Car may have been the inspiration for five 1967 Ford Thunderbird Apollo cars [link opens in new window] built for display in Abercrombie & Fitch stores around the country. These were not production cars, but the survivors were later sold to the public as they met all of the current vehicle safety standards, and as such didn't require destruction when their original purpose had been fulfilled. While the Apollos differed somewhat in execution, the idea was the same: sans chauffeur, the busy executive would drive his secretary around in his Thunderbird, she sitting in the right rear seat with fold-down tables available to her in both front seat backs, high intensity lamps mounted in the center of the rear seat, a telephone mounted on the center console that could be accessed by front or rear seat passengers, and there was even a Philco television set so no one missed Walter Cronkite's evening news report.

While the concept of a busy executive being able to work while traveling might have seemed like a good one, it never caught on and is thus now just a small part of automotive history, a brief chapter in the golden era of automobiles when American manufacturers had the most interesting, if not always practical, ideas.

Image: 1966 Imperial Mobile Executive Show Car

Above: 1966 Imperial Mobile Executive Show Car exterior

Busy executives have a discussion over coffee in the 1966 Imperial Mobile Executive Show Car (click for larger view) An executive reviews documents in the 1966 Imperial Mobile Execuitve Show Car (click for larger view)

Above: 1966 Imperial Mobile Executive Show Car interior (click either image for larger view)