Automotive Mileposts  

1975 Chrysler Imperial
Production Numbers/Specifications

October 1, 1974-June 12, 1975
8,830 (Includes 1,145 for Canada)
4Y-M YM43 Imperial LeBaron 4-Door Hardtop $8,844
Weight: 5205 Built: 6,102
4Y-M YM23 Imperial LeBaron 2-Door Coupe $8,698
Weight: 5105 Built: 1,087
4Y-M YM23 Imperial Crown Coupe $9,277
Weight: 5205 Built: 1,641
T 440 CID V-8
Bore and Stroke: 4.32 x 3.75 inches
Compression Ratio: 8,20:1
Brake Horsepower: 215 net @ 4000 rpm
Torque: --
Carburetor: Four barrel, 2-stage electric choke
D34 TorqueFlite Automatic with part-throttle kickdown
-- 2.71:1
3.23:1 (optional)
Wheel: 6½JJ
Power assisted disc brakes, front and rear
124 inches
Front Tread: 64 inches
Rear Tread: 63.7 inches

Turning diameter: 44.78' (curb to curb)
Length: 232.7 inches
Width: 79.7 inches
Height: 54.5 inches
Trunk: 19.6 cubic feet
Head Room (F/R): 38.1"/37.0"
Leg Room (F/R): 41.7"/39.5"
Shoulder Room (F/R):
4-Door: 60.8"/60.8"
2-Door: 60.8"/59.9"
Hip Room (F/R):
4-Door: 58.7"/58.1"
2-Door: 58.7"/57.0"
Cooling system pressure: 16 psi
Spark plugs: J-11-Y or 34-P
Spark plug gap: .035"
Firing order: 1-8-4-3-6-5-7-2
Thermostat: 195 degree
Fuel Tank: 25 gallons
Engine: 5 quarts (with filter change)
Cooling System: 17 quarts
Transmission: 19 pints (20¼ pints with trailer towing package)
Power Steering: 2½ pints
Rear Axle: 4½ pints
The Imperial was discontinued at the end of the 1975 model year. It returned in 1976, rebadged as a New Yorker Brougham. An exclusive new Imperial Coupe would be introduced for 1981. 1975 Imperial firsts:
- Electric rear window defroster
- Automatic height control introduced and made standard
- Illuminated passenger visor vanity mirror introduced and made standard
- Steering wheel circumference reduced
- Steering column and wheel color-keyed to match interior

Vehicle Identification Numbers

First symbol: Designates Make (Y = Imperial)
Second symbol: Designates Model (M = LeBaron)
Third and fourth symbols: Designate Body Styles (23 = 2-Door Hardtop, 43 = 4-Door Hardtop
Fifth symbol: Designates Engine (J, K, L, T = 440 CID V-8
Sixth symbol: Designates Year
Seventh symbol: Designates Manufacturing Plant (C = Detroit)
Last six digits: Designate production numbers starting at 100,001


Image: 1975 Chrysler Imperial Crown Coupe

The 1975 Chrysler Imperial was introduced on October 1st, 1974, and only 8,830 were built. You'd have to go all the way back to 1954 to find a year where Imperial sales were less. The '75 Imperials were sold through 3,360 dealers, which was 89 fewer than in 1974. The last Imperial built was a Formal Black LeBaron Four Door Hardtop, built on June 12th, 1975. 6,900 of the 1975 cars were built in calendar year 1974, and only 1,930 were assembled after January 1st, 1975. Of the total built, 4,909 units were ordered for dealer stock and 3,921 were retail orders placed by dealers, which meant they were units that had already been sold to be built to the waiting customer's specifications.

The '75 Imperial was popular in Canada, as 1,145 were delivered to Canadians, outselling both the Buick Riviera and Cadillac's popular new Seville, which was introduced mid-year in May 1975. Why the Imperial wasn't more popular here in the states is anyone's guess. We suspect it was a combination of several things: Chrysler's limited budget to promote the car, lack of a distinct body shell, and high price. Having the New Yorker Brougham (which was similar in appearance) sitting in the same showroom priced thousands less than the Imperial couldn't have helped, either.

The 1975 Imperial was by most accounts the finest Imperial ever built. It was a highly refined automobile, capable of transporting its occupants where they wanted to go without any fuss. They were dependable, quiet, had a smooth ride, incredibly luxurious interior appointments, and had almost every luxury amenity one could want as standard equipment. And the items that weren't standard could be easily added by checking them off on the order form.

When compared to the competition in 1975, the Imperial was the best of the lot. Cadillac's new 1974 styling seemed to be lacking something. The front end wasn't as impressive as it had been in the past, and the new linear taillights were nice enough, but they just weren't typical for a Cadillac. Upright taillights had been a Cadillac styling mark for many years, so the cars looked like they were missing something without them. Plus, the rear bumper ends were a bit reminiscent of those on the 1967-1968 Imperials!

The 1975 Lincoln Continental received a new upper body, with a very formal looking roof line. The door glass didn't have a frame, but looked like they did, as the center "B" pillar was quite thick. The rounded upper roof openings remind us of the Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham cars of the era. Interestingly, Lincoln received the upright taillights that Cadillac abandoned in 1975, a look it would retain for many years to come.

In a somewhat strange turn of events, the Imperial returned to Chrysler dealer showrooms in 1976, but they were suddenly called Chrysler New Yorker Broughams! The decision to make this change was a financially good one for Chrysler, since as an Imperial in 1974-75, the car only generated sales of 23,256 cars. In its first year as a New Yorker, it generated sales of 33,732. The base price for the 1976 New Yorker Brougham 2-door model was $6,641. Compared to $8,698 for a 1975 Imperial LeBaron Coupe, which was essentially the same car, it was a pretty good deal.

We wonder what the story would have been had Chrysler created a lower-priced Imperial model instead of retiring the name and allowing the automobile to live on as something else. We'll never know, of course, and even as the final 1975 Imperial was rolling off the assembly line in the early afternoon hours of June 12, 1975, Chrysler had future plans for the line. The departure of the Imperial from the market was to only be temporary, as a new luxury coupe was already under development.

If you're considering an Imperial of this era, you will discover that they can be difficult to find. A 1976-78 New Yorker Brougham would likely be easier to locate, but we understand the necessity of the Imperial name appearing on the car. It does make a difference. Things to look for are rust in the usual places, and make sure the electrical components work properly. Interiors can be expensive to restore in these cars, especially if it's leather. So, check the condition of the interior carefully.

The 1975 model is probably preferred over a 1974, although a '74 might be easiest to find as they were more plentiful. The color-keyed steering column is a real benefit in the '75, as the black ones looked strange with some '74 interior colors. The standard Automatic Height Control on the '75 models is nice as well, especially if you're planning to do any towing with the car.

Overall, the Imperials of 1974-1975 were well built, well designed cars. Parts are easy to find with the exception of some Imperial-specific items that weren't carried over to the later New Yorkers. Buy the best one you can find, and enjoy it! They are incredible cars to drive, and you will be the envy of everyone you pass.