The Imperial Speedster - Finished
1959 Imperial Speedster
- Engine: 6.1 HEMI
- Transmission: Phoenix Transmissions 518
- Suspension: Schwartz G-Machine Chassis with Viper IRS
- Brakes: Raybestos NASCAR Super Speedway
- Tires: Goodyear F1 w/ Diamond Back Classics whitewalls
- Exhaust: Jeep SRT8 Headers and Hushpower mufflers
- Upholstery: PJ's Trim Shop
- Seats: Toyota Celica GTS
- Steering Wheel: Optional Imperial "Square" wheel
- Steering Column: Shortened Imperial by Ididit
- Gauges: Restored and refaced originals by New Vintage USA
- Pedals: Boss 302 pedals
- Noise & Heat Insulation: Dynamat of course!
- A/C & Heat: Vintage Air Heat & Defrost
- Other: Rolls Royce Leather
- Body Mods: Absolutely
- Paint: PPG Envirobase
- Wheels: Dayton Triple Cross
- Trim: LiBrandi's Chrome Plating
- Lights: Lucas Flamethrower
Audio & Electronics
- Head Unit: Alpine IDA-X305
- Amplifier: Alpine PDX-5 5-channel amp
- Highs: SPX-13 PRO 5.25” component speakers
- Subs: SWS-1023D 10”
- Battery: Optima Yellow Top
“Compactness and slimness are something to be admired in a car. An air of agility, or ready-performance of direction and purpose, are the goals we strive for in styling an automobile.” – Virgil Exner, Vice President of Design, Chrysler
For 1959, Chevrolet featured its all-American Corvette and Ford offered the second-generation Thunderbird. Chrysler teased car buyers with sleek and sexy two-place concepts like the Firearrows I through IV, Flight Sweep I and II, Dart, Diablo, XNR, and others. And while these Ghia-built wonders dazzled crowds at the auto shows, they never found their way into production. Chrysler would never produce a two-seat sports car until the Dodge Viper in 1992.
The Imperial Speedster is a “what if” look at a luxury Chrysler sports car. Starting with a 1959 Imperial Crown Custom 4-door sedan, the car was cut into 46 major sections and welded back together. It has been shortened in five places for a total of 52 inches. Then it was cut in half with 8 inches taken out of the width. Next it was cut horizontally through the beltline and 3 inches were removed from the height. Finally the body was channeled 4 inches over a custom chassis and welded together to create monocoque-type construction. All the original Imperial details have been retained while the mass of the original was eliminated.
Don’t let the classic styling and glimmering chrome fool you for a moment: Underneath lies a thoroughly modern performance vehicle. Power comes from a 425HP 6.1L SRT HEMI V8 channeled through a 518 automatic transmission to a Dodge Viper independent rear suspension. Stopping power comes from four-piston monobloc brake calipers taken directly from NASCAR super speedway cars. SuperCar tires continue the modern theme while the custom whitewalls take you back in time.
The colors include Imperial Champagne and Java Brown with Atlas Orange accents. The futuristic “pod” instrumentation is from a 1960 Imperial with a custom-built, bullet tach cup. The leather is opulent Rolls-Royce with accenting orange stitching. A classic waterfall flows into the center console and divides the passenger compartment.
The Imperial Speedster took over 10,000 hours to build, fusing modern technology and classic styling from the Motorama era. All of the details were standing in plain sight on the stock, four-door Imperial – there was simply too much sheet metal between them. All the ugly has been removed to create a sleek, sexy roadster that could have come straight from the drawing board of Virgil Exner. What if?
History of this Vehicle
Plans for this Vehicle
Sponsors & Special Thanks
Building a car of this scale and caliber is a team effort. I am fortunate to have a team of volunteers who contribute their expertise, their willingness to venture into uncharted territories, and who have sacrificed their nights and weekends over the past three and a half years. Together we have created a car that none of us alone could have ever built.
I am happy and proud to call each and every team member a friend. The following friends took the Imperial Speedster from a mere thought rolling around in my mind to the reality you see before you. I thank them for their knowledge, passion, conviction, and hard work.
• Steve Langdon – welding and fabrication
• Steve Germond – welding, fabrication, and body work
• Tom Gardner – engineering, fabrication, wiring, and assembly
• Mike Brimm – surfacing and final paint & polish
• Chuck Yee – body work and surfacing
• Kevin Howell – 3-D CAD design
• Phil Krantz – build assistance
• Ed Pashukewich – body work and surfacing
• Brian Liening – machining
• Jeff Matauch, PPG – paint training and consultation
• Monique Roehl – culinary coordinator
A special thanks to the following manufacturers and suppliers – Alpine Electronics, Alternative Media Blasting, Axletech, Bloomfield Collison Center, Custom Concepts Performance Coatings, Chicago Pneumatic, CON2R, Dagger Tools, Dayton Wire Wheel, Del City, Diamond Back Tires, Dynamat, Dynotech, The Eastwood Company, ESPAS Inc., Four Seasons Radiator, Goodyear Tire, Ididit, Imperial Services, The Industrial Depot, K&N Filters, Langdon Brothers Welding, Librandi’s Chrome Plating, Liberty’s Gears, Lincoln Electric, LoJack, Mopar, Mother’s Polishes, National Parts Depot, New Vintage USA, Optima Batteries, PJ’s Trim Shop, PPG, PPG Training Center, Painless Performance, Peak Antifreeze, Phoenix Transmission Products, ProGlass, Raybestos, RideTech, Ron Davis Radiators, SATA, SPAL, SSBC, Schwartz Extreme Performance, Stabilus, Street Legal Customs, Summit Racing, Techflex, Unisteer, Vintage Air, Yee’s Auto Glass