1968 Imperial

This Imperial was purchased in 2019 from a car-collector friend. He bought the car in 1983 from the original owner, Alice Hale. She and her husband bought the Imperial intending to do traveling in their retirement.  He passed away not long after the purchase. When she sold the car in 1983 it had 9,434 miles. In September of 2019 it has 18,276 miles. 

Forest green metallic Crown 4 door with vinyl top and leather (green) interior. 127” wheelbase, overall length 224.5”, width 79.6”. Engine 440 cu in 10.1/1 V8. 24 gallon gas tank, 18 quart cooling system, 18.5 pints transmission, 4 pints rear axle, 4 pints power steering. 180 degree thermostat, 7.5 degrees BTDC timing, .014-.019” point gap, premium fuel, .035” spark plug gap. 70 amp alternator (for AC cars). 3.5 lock to lock steering. 9.15 x 15 tires.

Standard equipment for Crown Four Door:
50/50 split front seat with passenger recliner. Four glove compartments. Power steering and power disc brakes. Power windows, TorqueFlite automatic. Body side paint stripes. Fender mounted turn signals. Deluxe wheel covers. Door to door carpeting. Heater, electric clock, four cigar lighters and ashtrays. Vanity mirror, time delay ignition switch light. Undercoating. Clean air system. Power windows work only when the ignition switch is on.

Available Options:
Vinyl roof. Seats with leather upholstery. Head restraints. Six way power seats. Power vents. Electric door locks. Auto-Temp front air conditioner. Rear air conditioner. Rear heater with defroster. AM/FM or AM search-tune radio with power antenna, front and rear speaker, and floor tuning switch. AM/FM Stereo Multiplex radio with 5 speakers. Stereo tape player. Auto-Pilot speed control. Remote trunk release. Tilt-A-Scope steering wheel. Passenger side outside mirror. Safeguard Sentinel lighting. Cowl mounted automatic headlight dimmer. Tinted glass for all windows. Shoulder safety harnesses. Center lap belts, front and rear. Three ribbon whitewall tires. Sure-Grip differential. 440 dual V8 package. Spare tire cover.

This car has the optional AMFM signal seek radio with power antenna, rear speaker and floor button activator. It also has the optional Auto-Temp AC. The original owners were Stephen G Hale and Alice B Hale, 6501 7th Street, Philadelphia, PA. Not only did they keep every service record on the car, every year they wrote a summary of service work. Those records came with the car and provide an interesting look into what it was like to own Chrysler's luxury car in 1968:

July 11 1968: The Hales had the dealer remove the Reedman name plate and install chrome screws. They also had the trunk lid adjusted for side to side gaps. They had a right outside mirror installed. Miles at the time 117. I see no right side mirror nor any marks where one might have been installed.

August 22, 1968: Towed by AAA to Uptown Chrysler because battery was dead. Dealer found a short in interior light wiring.

Nov 7, 1968: Miles 0636. To dealer for “noise in car when cold going into gear”. No mention of repair. “Left and right stop light weak”, cleaned sockets.

Jan 14, 1969: Oil change at 970 miles.

Jan 29, 1969: Miles 1,060. “Left turn signal not blinking.” Needed new switch.

March 7, 1969: “Speedometer not working.” Installed new one. 1260 miles on original speedometer, 1132 on replacement. “Auto Temp Control not working.” Replaced master switch.

April 29, 1969: “Straighten and refinish hood panel.” Repainted hood lid.

May 1, 1969: Oil change. No miles recorded.

July 30, 1969: Miles 2,680. “Check oil leak” and “check when breaking car pulls to left.” Recondition power steering pump, replace front disc oil seals.

That completes their first year of ownership.

October 14, 1969: Miles 2,780. “Hard starting, first start only”. “Check gear shift lever – hard to get into reverse.” Scope engine and readjust steering column and gear selector.

November 3, 1969: Miles 1132(*) (“new speedometer”) “Check starter grinding, check carb hard starting.” Replace starter clutch, adjust carb, reset points.

February 8, 1970: Realign dial on column. Miles 1260. Oil and filter.

April 17, 1970: miles 1329(*), 3 month service.

June 26, 1970: miles 1440(*). “Check hood latch.” “Both side harness won’t hold in clips.”

That completes their second year of ownership.

September 24, 1970: Miles 1543(*). 3 month service.

December 15, 1970: Miles 1653(*). “Battery is run down.” Replaced battery.

March 15, 1971: Miles 1772(*). “Left side turn signal won’t hold.” “Check ATC.” Replace switch, ATC ok.

July 7, 1971: Miles 1940(*). 6 month service.

That completes their third year of ownership.

October 12, 1971: Miles 2105(*). “Repair AC, not cold.” Replaced expansion valve and O ring.

October 18, 1971: Miles 2163(*). “Engine hard to start in morning.” Remove choke plate and file edges, file burrs from carb housing.

November 1, 1971: Miles 2715(*). “Repair gas gauge – won’t show full.” Needs new sending unit.

December 3, 1971: Miles 2816(*). “Repair thumping noise in rear.” Adjust axle end play and tighten shocks.

January 19, 1972: Miles 2871(*). 6 month service.

April 13, 1972: Miles 4249?. 3 month service.

July 7, 1971: Miles 3181(*). Install lube fittings and lubricate.

That completes their fourth year of ownership.

October 4, 1972: Miles 3266(*). “Check both rear wheels for noise between 30-40.” Needs wheel cover.

December 19, 1972: Miles 3427(*). “Check battery and charging system.”

December 20,1972: Miles 3435(*). Replace battery.

January 25, 1973: Miles 3486(*). “Repair heater fan.”

April 24, 1973: Miles 3679(*). 3 month service.

June 29, 1973: Miles 4019(*). “Check for excess play in steering. Road test at 50 MPH.” “AC not cold.” Replace AC compressor and recharge system.

September 12, 1973: Miles 4317(*). “Inspect brake system.” “Engine hard to start.” “Inspect brake pedal – hard to press at times.”

That completes their fifth year of ownership, and end of 5 year warranty.

January 25, 1974. Miles 4633(*). “Test battery.” “Engine loses power up hills.” Choke sticks.

May 20, 1974: Miles 4787(*). “Replace muffler.”

May 22, 1974: Body shop replaces molding 2932205.

May 28, 1974: Repair left front bumper, left side chrome, right side chrome on fenders.

That completes their sixth year of ownership.

January 9, 1975: Miles 5337(*). “Engine will not idle cold.”

May 19, 1975: Miles 5743(*). “Check for oil leak. Check for brake squeak. Brakes pull to the left. Rattle under car. Turn signal slow.” Replace flasher.

September 10, 1975: Miles 5931(*). “Check charging system. Battery goes dead.”

September 25, 1975: Miles 5969(*). “Check brakes. Pedal goes to floor. Loose steering.” Replace master cylinder, bleed all brakes.

That completes their seventh year of ownership.

January 28, 1976: Miles 6291(*). Replace muffler.

March 28, 1976: Body shop bill for 2945504 “Handle”, 2859450 “Panel”, 2932468 ‘Molding”, 3004302 “Molding”, 3004306 “Molding”. I found a note: Accident at granite post of parking lot at subway. 2945504 is right front door handle. 2859450 is right rear door. Moldings are decorative metal strips.

June 7, 1976: Miles 6579(*). “AC not cooling.” Partial charge, leak test, recharge.

December 16,1976: Miles 6949(*). “Replace front rotors and align front end.” “Replace molding front left fender. Hard start in morning.” Replace fast idle cam.

That completes their eighth year of ownership.

April 22, 1977: New carburetor.

July 1, 1977: “Check condition of all tires.”

January 10, 1978: Miles 7450(*). State inspection.

June 30, 1978: Miles 7542(*). “AC not working.”

Sept 19, 1978: Miles 7616(*). State inspection.

December 18, 1978: Miles 7831(*). State inspection.

January 9, 1979: Miles 7000?(*). Tow to shop. Battery dead and brakes low. Replace battery, adjust brakes.

July 3, 1979: Miles 8061(*). State inspection

November 2, 1979: Miles 8000?(*). Install ordered parts. Replace gear in electric motor.

January 4, 1980: Miles 8441(*). “Check speedometer. Sticks at times. Right rear wheel brakes lock. Check play in steering wheel.”

March 26, 1980: Miles 8532(*). “Speedometer inoperable at times, sticks at 50.” Replace speedometer head and cable.

July 28, 1980: Miles 00183(?). Inspection.

October 23, 1980: Miles 00293(?). Replace window motor (left front).

December 9, 1980: Miles 360(?). Replace wiper blades, turn signal bulb, backup light switch.

December 22, 1980: Miles 412?. Install ordered parts.

May 29, 1982: Miles --. Overheating. New hoses, thermostat and rad cap.

(*) add 1260 miles to correct for replaced speedometer

I wonder how typical this service record might be of cars in 1968. We are fortunate the Hales kept records -- I don't think you will often find this depth of information.

The data plate. Click here for the decode.
Click here for the build sheet.

We move on to issues of the present day.
The original radiator required a re-core due to corrosion. While we were at it we flushed the cooling system and replaced the coolant. A thorough cleaning was begun, starting with the chrome. There is enough bright work on this car to settle the US national debt.

The decode says the car has black accent stripes.
You have to look close to see them against the forest green.

Hidden beneath the front fender extensions are the cornering lights. The light on the left was not working.
Removal of the headlight bezels, the fender extension chrome, and the lens will get access to the lamp, a W1195.
Unable to get it locally, I found the lamp on Ebay.

What I expect will be a life-time supply of W1195 lamps.

There you go. But then the passenger side quit.
The housing was missing one nut and didn't have good ground. All fixed.

The new radiator is installed. The rad shop located an OEM core.

The heater hoses are original -- they are rock hard.
The heater hoses are replaced, the cooling system flushed, new anti-freeze added.

An original heater hose. Look for the tell-tale series of ribs running the length.
The car is hard to start when cold. A splash of fuel down the carb and she starts right up.
I have not worked on the Holley carb before but I think the choke plate needs to close further.
The car runs great when warm -- quiet smooth idle.

Spreading the "C" portion on the choke rod, the plate closes further.
Now the car starts well and quickly goes to a smooth idle.

Also on the list is the gas tank fuel sender. The dash gauge does not register fuel but responds to a signal.
The gas tank ground has been verified so I think the sender is the problem. One step at a time.

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