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58 imperial eagle

Chrysler Corp. took a breather in 1958. Its competitors, for their part, did not remain idle, but they had been caught off balance by Chrysler's bold 1957 models, and in 1958 couldn't counter with anything better than more chrome and eye-catchers. On the whole, 1958 was a bad year for the American car. The factories couldn’t keep making preceding models seem obsolete so as to present "new" cars every year; customers just couldn’t follow that rhythm. The ’58 Imperial in fact presented few innovations to distinguish it from its immediate predecessor. The front bumper and grille were restyled. The rear-view mirror, oddly placed in the middle of the dashboard in 1957, was moved closer to the driver. Decoration of the interior door panels was changed. That was about it. On the engineering side, the engine gains 25 horsepower from a higher compression ratio. The camshaft was refined, and the two valve-train covers were stamped "Imperial" instead of "Chrysler Firepower." Automation appeared in certain options, one of them the "AutoPilot," first cruise control offered in a production car, and centralized door-lock control with a key (not yet a remote control!) Double air-conditioning systems, for front and back,

These were not the improvements that might have brought more customers into Imperial showrooms. Sales in 1958 were half the total for the previous year. It’s also notable that body-rust problems hurt Chrysler cars generally starting in 1957 (to see the solution promoted by the company, click here). Anti-corrosion treatments hardly existed at the time, and were ineffective. Deplorable quality control in the factory, and frequent strikes by the work force, explain both the reluctance of buyers and the relatively scant survival of Chrysler cars from 1957-’59 - they were eaten by rust like cheap imports. As for Ghia-made limousines, they trickled slowly from the Italian plant that built them, unchanged from 1957 except in price, which was $3000 higher.



V8 Hemi "Firepower" 392 CI (6425 cc)
Bore x stroke: 4.00 x 3.9 inches.
Horsepower: 345 hp at 4600 rpm
Torque: 450 ft/lbs at 2800 rpm
Compression ratio: 10.0  / 1.
Carburator: 4 BBL Carter AFB 2651 S
Electrical: 12 V.


Automatic transmission  "Torqueflite" 3 speeds
Converter ratio: 2.7 /1
gear selection: 5 pushbuttons (left-hand side of inst. panel): N, D, 1, 2, R.
Ratios:  1° : 2,45 ; 2°  : 1,45 ; Drive: 1 ;  Reverse : 2,2.
Rear axle: 2.93 / 1

Suspension, brakes

Front, type  independent, torsion-bar with ball joints, power steering : "Constant Control Power steering".
Rear, type semi elliptic leaves
Brakes: power, 4 drums ( 12 in.)
Parking brake (drum) at rear of transmission


Wheelbase: 129 in. (3,28 m)
Length x width :  226 x 81,1.
Weight: 4640 to 4940 lbs
Height: 57.5 in loaded
Tires 9.50 x 14

Production, prices

LY1-L sedan 4dr: 1926  at  $4945
LY1-L Southampton 4dr: 3336  at  $4839
LY1-L Southampton 2dr: 1901. at  $4945
LY1-M Crown sedan 4dr: 1240 at  $5632
LY1-M Crown Southampton 4dr: 4146 . at  $5632
LY1-M Crown Southampton 2dr: 1939  at  $5388
LY1-M Crown convertible 2dr: 675 . at  $5759
LY1-H LeBaron sedan 4dr: 501  at  $5969
LY1-H LeBaron Southampton 4dr: 538  at  $5969
LY1- ? Crown Imperial limousine: 31  at  $15075

Options (some of them..)

- A/C  "model 901"
- Pw. windows and seats on LY1-1 (std on IM1-2 and 4).
- Solex glass
- "Electro touch 924" Radio  ($ 76.00)
- "Auto pilot" ($ 88.70)
- Electric door locks
- Flite sweep deck lid (simulated spare tire)
- "imperial eagle" hood ornament
-  "twin strut" mirrors


Serial number (on right front door post):
LY1 1001 à LY1 17325 (Ghia limo: same as 57)
Engine number, except limo (on the block in a flat space behind the water pump):
58C 1001 à 58C ..... Limo,see 57
Serial and engine numbers are not the same.
1958 Imperials were introduced  1 November 1957


TO KNOW MORE : Ghia Crown Imperial limousines
58 ad (courtesy IML) Reading the data plate
Rust and rustproofing 1957-’59 NAPA part numbers for 57/58


1958 IMPERIAL photo gallery
Click on the thumbnails to enlarge the pictures.

Crown 4 dr H/T Dashboard sedan LY1-L prototype ! owner manual "auto-pilot" knob
A french 58 Crown Southampton Same as 57 except the position of the mirror and the heater outlets/loudspeaker grille (one piece affair) 58 french Imperial  sedan LY1-L (export model with the 260 km/h speedo)) ?? Cover of the 58 owner manual The auto-pilot knob. 7 = 70 mph etc...
Crown 2 dr h/t Guarantee document 1° afghan minister  + Crown convert. Crown upholstery a scarcity: the 260 km/h export speedo location of the emergency brake light (w/autopilot)
Crown coupé 1958 The prime afghan minister in a 58 convertible Upholstery pictured in the Prestige Catalog Imperial are faster than 300's ! The 300 speedo goes only to 240 km/h on export model.. If the auto-pilot is installed (see upper pic) there is no provision for the brake light, so the bezel isn't plain but red ... Only 58 cars have this strange bezel !
  Mick Maxwell's  2dr HT  Patrik Strub's 1958 Ghia Imperial Robert Dervin's LeBaron Mark Shetley's  Southampton 4-door
Crown 58 2 dr H/T

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