Imperial emblem Automotive Mileposts
Production Numbers
 Refined. Distinguished. Elegant.
Hand built by Ghia in Italy.
1965 Crown Imperial Limousine
The Crown Imperial Limousine.
Perhaps the most beautiful limousine ever built.

INTRODUCTION DATE: September 30, 1964

Crown Coupe (Code Y22) 3,974 ($5,930)
Crown Four-Door Hardtop (Code Y24) 11,628 ($5,772)
Crown Convertible (Code Y25) 633 ($6,194)
LeBaron (Code Y34) 2,164 ($6,596)
Crown Imperial Limousine (Code N/A) 10 ($16,000)


A413 413 CID 4V V-8
Bore & stroke: 4.18 x 3.75 inches
Comp. ratio: 10.1:1
Horsepower: 340 at 4600 RPM
Torque: 470 lb. ft. at 2800 RPM
Carburetor: Carter (Model AFB-3871S)

TorqueFlite Automatic

3-Speed Planetary Gear Set with Increased Helix Axle
(Column-mounted Selector Lever - 1st Year)
Breakaway ratio: 4.90:1

WHEELBASE 129" (Crown and LeBaron) 149.5" (Crown Imperial Limousine)
OVERALL LENGTH 227.8" (Crown and LeBaron)
WIDTH 80.0" (Crown and LeBaron)
HEIGHT 57.2" (Loaded; Crown and LeBaron)
WEIGHT 5,075 (Crown Coupe) 5,015 (Crown Four-Door Hardtop) 5,345 (Crown Convertible) 5,080 (LeBaron)
TIRES 9.15 x 15
TREAD 61.8" (Front) 61.7" (Rear)

Why Not Consider An Imperial Now?

For the 1965 model year, the Imperial Division of Chrysler Corporation focused on quality control and engineering refinements. On the sales front, in spite of continued glowing reviews by the automotive press, Imperial fell behind the competition, namely Cadillac and Lincoln. Road Test Magazine, in its May 1965 issue, published an article that compared the Big Three luxury cars (Cadillac, Lincoln, and Imperial) to one another. The article was fairly evenly split among the three test cars, and was not shy about being critical of them, noting specifically Cadillac's lack of bumper protection in the front as well as in the rear, the absence of rocker panel moldings, poor fit and finish of interior trim pieces, and in general, overall poor workmanship. In fact, Road Test said the quality control on Cadillac was not significantly better than that of the Oldsmobile or Buick Division! Cadillac's perimeter frame, a new design for 1965, was said to be too flexible on rough pavement and winding roads, which caused audible and annoying rattles inside the car.

While the article wasn't exactly complimentary of the Cadillac, the Lincoln Continental Convertible tested was given credit for displaying the worst handling of all; complaining specifically about how noticeable cowl shake was in the Convertible. A lack of rear bumper protection left the rear tail lamps susceptible to breakage, and a poorly designed built-in trough between the window sill and upper front fender and door moldings was said to collect rain water which would run off on anyone opening the door. The design of the rear roof quarter created a blind spot, and the magazine mentioned that the center opening rear-hinged "suicide doors" could be a potential hazard to rear passengers if left slightly ajar.

And Road Test wasn't finished with its criticism. After ripping into Cadillac and Lincoln, the poor Imperial was next on the hit list, and didn't escape the critical eye of the test drivers either. Inadequate bumper protection on the Imperial was pointed out again as being an issue, and was said to offer too little protection to the front fenders and rear tail lamps. The drivers felt that the Imperial tail lamps were too small, making them difficult to see due to their inadequate size. The roof rear quarter created a blind spot on the Crown Coupe they tested. In fact, the Cadillac Sedan deVille was the only car that was deemed to not have a severe blind spot in this area. (Obviously the Continental Convertible with top down would pass muster as well...) Road Test also mentioned that Chrysler was rumored to be guaranteeing leasing companies and fleet buyers of new Imperials a resale or trade in value equivalent to the Lincoln Continental of the same vintage, as an incentive to purchase, since the Imperials were somewhat cold in the marketplace. Reports like this, whether true or not, obviously did not help Imperial overcome its ongoing image problems.

And image, of course, is what it is all about in the luxury car market. Despite having an engine and transmission second to none, and seemingly ignoring the fact that virtually every comparison test rated the Imperial superior to its competition in both handling and performance, the luxury car buying public wasn't exactly rushing to their local Imperial dealer to buy a 1965 Imperial. A $1,000 discount off the sticker price was not unheard of on Imperials, which did make them attractive to new car buyers looking for a bargain.

The Imperial traditionally had a history of selling better during years when Cadillac and Lincoln didn't have new styling. In 1965, the Cadillac was all-new, in fact 1965 is attributed as the year that Cadillac very cleverly did away with its most famous styling touch: the tail fin. The Lincoln Continental still had its 1961 styling in 1965, but was the recipient of a substantial face-lift, with new trim on the tail lamps, a new grille and front grille header panel, and wrap around turn indicators embedded in the front edge of the fender. The Imperial carried over its clean lines and elegant styling from 1964, with few changes. Up front the Imperial sported a new chrome grille, split horizontally and vertically by thick chrome bars which divided the grille into four equal sections. The letters "IMPERIAL" were stamped into the top of the grille, to provide instant identification. The headlamps sat behind new tempered-glass lenses, giving a bit of European flair to the front of the car.

The passenger compartment of the 1965 Imperial took the pampered occupants to new heights of luxury with special touches everywhere one looked. For instance, 100-year old Claro Walnut wood inlays appeared on the instrument panel and door trim panels. And in a move almost as Earth shattering as Cadillac's chopping off of its tail fins, Chrysler eliminated the push-button TorqueFlite transmission controls, which had been a Chrysler trademark for years, and positioned the transmission selector lever on the steering column. The reason behind this move is not clear, but the general consensus is that Chrysler just wanted the Imperial to be a little bit more mainstream, more like its competition in this respect, and any past objection to the push-button controls would be eliminated with this change. Unverified reports include complaints registered with Chrysler by female drivers that the push-buttons were harsh on their manicured, painted nails. The true reason for doing away with the push buttons may never be known, but it seems as many people loved them as hated them, and while it's doubtful many people stopped buying Chryslers or Imperials because of this change, chances are a few new customers bought them because this change was made.

Despite the outward change of appearance over the years, the 1965 Imperials were built with the same basic body introduced in its watershed year of 1957; and although the clean, sleek body lines of the 1965 models were quite contemporary, the wrap-around windshield had long been out of style, with most other car makers abandoning it in 1961. Because the Imperial was a low production vehicle, it would have to carry on with its dated body for one more year. Change was obviously needed at this point, and that would happen in 1967.

The 1965 model year was a good one overall for car makers. Chrysler sales were up over 55 percent compared to model year 1964. Fresh new styling throughout the line, and a base price of under $3,000 for the popular Newport models, were two of the reasons for the good sales figures. Just under half of all 1965 Chryslers built for the year were Newports, which resulted in Chrysler building over 200,000 cars in one model year for the first time in its history.

1965 was not the worst year for Imperial sales, but numbers were down by 6,873 units from 1964. And this situation would not improve for 1966, although the drop would not be as bad as it was for 1965. The styling of the 1965 Imperial has generally held up well over the years, despite being somewhat dated even when they were brand new, due to the 1957 windshield design. However, today when you stand back and compare Imperial to its contemporaries, somehow the Imperial doesn't seem to be of the same vintage. Its styling in the modern world seems fresher than that of the Cadillac or Lincoln. This is certainly proof that the Imperial's timeless design has made it an elegant classic that current owners can be proud of.

Sales literature for the 1965 Imperial stated that there are those who consider Imperial a status symbol of the first rank. The potential buyer, perusing the brochure, was also urged to judge the inherent practical worth of an Imperial as well. Together, it was these details which make the Imperial the "Incomparable car of the luxury field." There is little doubt that these cars were built to the highest standards possible, to last and perform superbly for their owners for many years. And while we can't turn back time, we will ask you this question: why not consider an Imperial now? The incomparable 1965 Imperial—built to withstand the test of time. It deserves your consideration.

BASE PRICE "" $5,913 $5,765 $6,250
VALUE AT 1 YEAR   4,400   4,700   4,600
VALUE AT 2 YEARS   3,250   4,000   3,600
VALUE AT 3 YEARS   2,500   3,100   2,900
VALUE AT 4 YEARS   1,850   2,600   2,300
VALUE AT 8 YEARS      550      550   (No value)
As reported in Road Test Magazine, May 1965

1965 Imperial Contents

Paint | Trim | Standard Equipment | Optional Equipment

Select Another Imperial Year | Main Contents