Hooniverse Parting Shot: What Were They Thinking? The 1990 to 93 Imperial

How a luxury car competing directly with Cadillac and Lincoln met its demise in the form of an elongated “K” car….

Chrysler sold a strange brew of models in the late 1980s, almost all based on the front-wheel-drive “K” car architecture. The exception was the “M”-bodied Fifth Avenue, itself nothing but a Plymouth Volare in a tailored suit. Yet in 1988, Dodge introduced the Dynasty, based roughly on the “K” car but with a grander mission. This was the first of the AC/Y-bodied cars that would eventually take over when the “M” cars were discontinued in 1989. And it wasn’t a moment too soon, because these rear-wheel-drive models had been in production since 1976! Stretching the basic FWD platform for all its worth, Chrysler was able to introduce four separate models within the AC/Y family: the New Yorker Salon (a Dynasty with a Chrysler name), the New Yorker Landau, the longer New Yorker Fifth Avenue, and the Imperial. Should they have built the Imperial–a name with a long and significant history–into what was essentially a “K” car?
Read more about the history of the Chrysler Imperial, and how this nameplate suffered the indignity of becoming a “K” car at Automotive Traveler. All Images Courtesy of the Imperial Club.

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10 responses to “Hooniverse Parting Shot: What Were They Thinking? The 1990 to 93 Imperial”

  1. BGW Avatar

    Unworthy of the Imperial name, no doubt, but I will say that the '91 Dynasty I drove for about 7 months was perhaps my favorite of the 80s-early 90s crapboxes I've had in the past. It had the Mitsubishi 6er that also went in the Stealth/3000 and was pretty damned fun to drive. Until the gearbox did its best suicide bomber impression, anyway. At speed, it had more body roll than a season of The Biggest Loser, but I suspect the Chrysler engineers never envisioned its target demographic getting the thing over 45MPH in the first place.\\

  2. M44Power Avatar

    Leno has my dream Imperial, a 1956 Imperial coupe. That car was probably the pinnacle of Chrysler. Plus, you get the dictator's eagle on it!

  3. CptSevere Avatar

    I remember reading somewhere that those gargantuan 60's-70's Imperials are banned from competing in demolition derbies. They're so massive that they demolish everything else, and just can't be stopped. Unfair advantage. I don't think that's the case with the tarted-up K car.

    1. Jim Brennan Avatar
      Jim Brennan

      You are correct. The 1957 to 1968 Imperials were banned because these were built so strong that they would smash through everything. They were the last Chryslers built with a body on Frame construction while all other Chryslers after 1960 were built using the uni-body method. Some have theorized that the Imperial was built as a uni-body, then attached to a frame….

      1. P161911 Avatar

        Actually the 67-68 Imperials were uni-body. I used to have a 67 Imperial convertible. I think it was still banned from demo derbys too, something about a few places in the bumper area with total steel thickness close to one inch.

  4. engineerd Avatar

    I saw this movie. I remember some words scrolling by that said,
    It is a dark time for Chrysler. Although bankruptcy has been avoided, Imperial models have driven the AMC Rebel forces from their offices and pursued them with a Prowler. Evading the dreaded Imperial K-Cars, a group of freedom fighters led by Luke Airstream has established a new secret base on the remote ice world of Auburn Hills. The evil lord Darth Sebring, obsessed with finding young Airstream, has dispatched thousands of remote probes into the far reaches of space…

    1. dr zero Avatar

      Just in time for the 30th anniversary.

  5. Age_of_Aerostar Avatar

    Chrysler in the late 80's amazed me. Ford introduced the Taurus to HUGE sales volumes in 1986, (November 1985 if we're being technical), and 2 years later, Chrysler decides that the way to get ahead of the competition is by designing the Dynasty/New Yorker/etc. group of cars, as square as can be, with wire wheels, vinyl roofs, Aspen/Volare-looking square instruments on the cluster, etc.
    GM was making more modern looking cars, with the FWD Grand Prix, Regal, Cutlass Supreme.
    There is one Imperial that I would have wanted to see on the streets, if only to redeem the name from what it last became, and it's this one:
    <img src="http://carsmedia.ign.com/cars/image/article/686/686629/chrysler-imperial-concept-20060207044815238.jpg"&gt;

    1. FTGDHoonEdition Avatar

      I am sorry, but that thing always looked like (and still does) a Chinese knock-off of the RR Phantom to me. Hideous!

  6. Texan_Idiot25 Avatar

    My great grandma has an 89 New Yorker Landau. It's hilarious to drive at anything more than an elevated drive to sunday church speeds. I love every moment of it. I bet you have never been passed on the freeway as a New Yorker comes out of a sweeping on ramp with it's door handles scrapping the pavement.