Automotive Mileposts  

1966 Imperial
Production Numbers/Specifications

September 30, 1965
- BY1M Crown Four Door Hardtop $5,733
Weight: 4,965 Production: 8,977
- BY1M Crown Coupe$5887
Weight: 5,020 Production: 2,373
- BY1M Crown Convertible $6,146
Weight: 5,292 Production: 514
- BY1H LeBaron Four Door Hardtop $6,540
Weight: 5,065 Production: 1,878
- N/A Crown Imperial Limousine* $16,000
Weight: Production: 10
*Built by Barreiros of Spain
B-440 440 cu. in. Overhead valve 90 degree V-8
Bore and Stroke: 4.32" x 3.75"
350 Horsepower @ 4400 rpm
480 ft. lbs. Torque @ 2800 rpm
10.1 to 1 Compression ratio
TorqueFlite 3-Speed Automatic
4.90 to 1 Breakaway ratio
Column mounted selector lever
9.15 x 15
Drum, Front and Rear
Total Lining Area: 287.2 sq. in.
5 Year/50,000 Mile Engine and Drive Train Warranty - First year for 440 engine
- Last year for body-on-frame construction

Wheelbase: 129 inches
Front Tread: 61.8 inches
Rear Tread: 61.7 inches
Length: 227.8 inches
Width: 80.0 inches
Height: 55.8 inches (loaded)
Convertible Height: 56.6 inches
Turning Diameter: 47.7 feet
Steering Wheel Turns, Lock to Lock: 3.2
Carburetor: Carter 4-barrel model AFB-4131S
Fuel Tank Capacity: 23 gallons
Cooling System Capacity: 18 quarts

1966 Imperial 440 V-8 Engine

1966 Imperial Quality:
Checked by Computer

IBM 1710 Electronic Computer circa 1966

Imperial's Dynamic Quality Control System in 1966 was driven by an IBM 1710 electronic computer, which kept an eye on every Imperial throughout its entire production. Imperial was the first car to implement running quality control checks while the car was being built.

Each Imperial was entered into the computer's memory core weeks before it was scheduled to be built. Any changes required somewhere along the assembly line were stored in the computer memory chamber, which required an additional check at final inspection to ensure the necessary changes and corrections were made.

Computer surveillance was so complete that the quality of parts supplied by other plants was closely checked. This identified parts manufactured by specific vendors that had issues, right down to the day of assembly, in some instances. This included engine assembly, upholstery tailoring, tires, chrome plated trim pieces, and virtually everything sent from another facility to the final assembly plant.

Imperial waterproofing tests were among the most stringent in the industry at the time. Gallons of water per second pummeled every Imperial. Multiple high pressure nozzles strategically placed ensured the entire car body was adequately water tight.

Once the Imperial has successfully passed all in-plant tests, and the computer indicates it is ready to be shipped, there is one more test each car must pass, and this is perhaps the most challenging one. A thorough 3-mile road test over a special course, driven by specially trained, qualified quality control inspectors is given before a car is given a final okay.

Additionally, once a car is delivered to the dealer, there are more tests and checks it must pass. These quality details from start to finish guarantee that each Imperial is delivered to its new owner in top condition.

Black Beauty: 1966 Imperial

In the fall of 1966, inspired by the success of Batman, ABC television offered a new series in its lineup titled The Green Hornet (September 9, 1966 - July 14, 1967). Starring Van Williams as The Green Hornet, and introducing Bruce Lee as Kato, the series only survived for one season before being cancelled. While the plot and acting may have been of questionable quality, the true star of the show was a 1966 Imperial named Black Beauty.

Two 1966 Imperial Crown Four Door Hardtops were modified for the show by Dean Jeffries, and the sinister looking Imperial is perhaps best remembered for its "infra-green" headlights, which appeared very dim to the naked eye, but when viewed through special visors inside the car, the lights were supposed to be as bright as conventional headlights.

The Black Beauty featured many accessories not found at the local Imperial dealer's showroom, including one known as The Scanner, which powered up from a panel atop the deck lid. The scanner featured audio and visual surveillance, as well as the ability to fly where needed! Retractable panels below the headlights revealed rockets that could be launched at the flip of a switch, and when the command was given for silent running, the car become completely silent, instead of making the whirring, buzzing noise it normally made when under way.

The Green Hornet hid Black Beauty from prying eyes with a revolving garage floor, which flipped to expose the Imperial, while at the same time concealing his Chrysler Convertible. (See clip, below).