The Imperial was the Chrysler Corporation's luxury automobile brand from 1955 to 1975, and again from 1981 to 1983.
The Imperial name had been used since 1926, but was never a separate make, just the top-of-the-line Chrysler. However, in 1955, the company decided to spin Imperial off as its own make and division to better compete with its North American rivals, Lincoln and Cadillac Imperial would see new or modified body styles introduced every two to three years, all with V8 engines and automatic transmissions, as well as technologies that would filter down to Chrysler Corporation's other models.
Production was moved from the traditional Jefferson Avenue Assembly plant in Detroit to an exclusive facility on Warren Avenue, north of the Jefferson Avenue factory. Other than a toothy new grill and revisions to side trim little changed in terms of exterior styling for the 1959 model year. A new option was the "Silvercrest" roof which featured a stainless steel front with a rear canopy that could be ordered either in any of the basic car colors or in the "Landau" version which had a black canopy with the appearance of leather. Another new option was swivel out front seats that were part of the six way electric front bench seat. Manually activated by a handle for this introductory year, for 1960 and 1961 the seats would automatically swivel when the front door was opened activated by a cable. The Hemi V8 was replaced with the less expensive 413 cu in (6.8 L) "Wedge" head V8 engine that nevertheless had more horsepower and weighed 101 lbs less, improving the power-to-weight ratio. For the model year 17,710 Imperials were produced, ahead of Lincoln, as the Packard luxury brand withdrew from the marketplace. The few Ghia-built 1959 Imperial Crown limousines continued to use the 392 cubic-inch Hemi, due to slow production. These cars got the 413 engine for 1960.