John Lazenby's 1955 Imperial Newport, Page 1


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Photo by Klaus Kindor

 

John & Christie Lazenbyís 1955 Imperial Newport 
Serial # C5512169

Some years ago after collecting our four Letter Cars and doing some minor and major restoration work I had the urge to do yet another car. There were four different makes that had my interest. They were the 1963/64 Buick Riviera, 1959 Ford (square) Thunderbird, 1956-57 Continental MK II and last the 1955 Imperial Newport.

After sorting though these vehicles I realized I knew most about the Imperial as it was just another version of Chryslerís that I had spent much time with, so I started looking for a car. Almost immediately I thought of our long time friends John Lloyd and John McClay as they had many of these cars pass their way. 

Sadly John McClay had recently passed away, but none the less I contacted John Lloyd. Most of their Imperials had moved on to other owners, but there was one Newport left. This car was pretty much apart, but John assured me that it ran well and he had used it often prior to taking it apart for restoration. This was the final car that John McClay worked on just prior to his passing 
the same day as the story was relayed to us.

Click any image below for a larger version.

All photos ©Dave Lindsay/www.SoCalCarCulture.com. Used with permission

 

We purchased the Newport from John Lloyd and had it transported from his home directly to the body and paint shop, Uptown Auto Craft located in Upland, California. Kevin Holme, the owner and I had become friends and he had done by this time three or four cars for me. He knew I was picky and I knew he could get the project accomplished.

The front clip, trunk lid, doors were all removed and completely dissembled. Each part was painted off the main body. I know for a fact that the inner fender panels were painted three different times to get them to the finish that Kevin and I both wanted. While this was being completed the finished body still on the chassis was transported to KAB, Ken & Brad Brodyís shop for mechanical issues. The engine pan was removed and bearings checked. A new timing chain was installed; the water pump and carburetor were rebuilt and installed. Brakes were addressed as well as the balance of the drive train. The Brodyís also installed a new wiring loom 
provided via YnZís Yesterdays Parts in Redlands, California and had a complete new exhaust system built and installed. Brad Brody also was of great assistance on the finally re-assembly of the car as I had developed a complete burn out after over five years into this project.

John Lloyd had laid a plan down and we basically carried it out. Originally this was an all black car with white leather and gold inserts and carpet along with a white and gold dash. Johnís plan was to paint the top an Antique White. Black V-Cloth material came with the car than John had ordered and waited the better part of a year from SMS. There was dark gray wool carpet included as well. I take no credit for the idea as we simply executed the Johnís visions.

While the Imperial was at Uptown Auto Craft I started taking stainless, bumpers and assorted diecast items to Sihilling Metal Polishing located in Santa Ana. Iíve used this shop since about 1970 and always had good results. Their talent with stainless is amazing and if there was ever a questionable part it was taken care of by Charles Sihilling.

Five factory Imperial 52 spoke wire wheels by Motor Rim & Wheel (Chryslerís original supplier of wire wheels) were sent out to Borrani in Los Angeles for a complete restoration which included stainless steel spokes. New center caps from Bob Bornstein were purchased along with five B F Goodrich Silvertown 8x20:15 tires from Coker. Hey folks, this is starting to get REALLY EXPENSIVE!!!

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