Imperial Home Page -> Imperials by Year -> 1958 -> ErnieS
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New pics added March 05. Scroll to the bottom of the page to see them
January 2003: After building my new garage I found myself with an extra bay to fill. I started checking out ebay auctions for an appropriate candidate. A neighbor up the street had a totally rusted out 58 Crown coupe sitting in his yard but it was beyond any reasonable hope of resurrection. Having had a long standing love of Hemi's and the clean straight fin lines of 57 and 58 Chryslers and Desotos I found myself drawn to the very pretty lines of the Imperial.
January 20 2003: Ebay winning bidder notice; I was now the proud owner of a complete 58 Crown 4 door Southampton for a mere $1500 however it was located in Oklahoma. Hey, no problem, got a quote for $800 to bring it home.
October 16 2003: Finally after 9 months and $2400 in payments to various transport companies, some legit, some thieves, I have a titled car on a truck leaving Oklahoma. The seller even sent me some pictures of it being loaded onto the truck, wait a minute, what happened to the quarter panels and rocker panels which looked so good in the ebay pictures, they seem to have disappeared.
October 17 2003: A friend emails me another ebay auction. 58 Imperial LeBaron, solid body, decent interior, some trim missing and no engine. Wow 9 pictures and she looks good and is only 150 miles away. Bid was at $333. Wow, can't do much body work on the other car for $500, let's bid $500 and see what happens.
October 22, 2003. I am now the proud if somewhat demented owner of two 58 Imperial 4 door Southamptons, 1 Crown and 1 Lebaron. Combined with parts off the one up the street I should be able to make 1 whole car.
October 24, 2003: I get the phone call from the transport company, my car from Oklahoma will be in Blaine Washington at 8 am the next day. Meet the truck to off load it.
October 25, 2003: Got the car, yep it is kinda rustier than it looked on ebay, loaded her onto the flatdeck and off to Canada we went. When we got home I thought it would be a good idea to see how severe a folly I had embarked upon, so I put in a battery and crossed the starter solenoid. Just a click, no spinning fan blades, but I thought I saw the fan move just a little bit. Grabbed a bar and socket and tried to turn over the engine by hand, eureka, free as you please, not even a hint of a bind. Maybe I didn't do that bad on this one. After rebuilding the starter and carb and all the usual stuff one does when starting an engine after sitting for 25 years, the mighty Hemi coughed, belched clouds of blue smoke from all the oil I had put in the cylinders, cleared her throat and purred. No smoke, no blowby and hitting strong on all 8. Ok car #1 (Pinky) great engine, transmission has 3 forward and 1 reverse gear and the power steering works and doesn't leak too badly, lots of good chrome and a spare windshield but that body has to go. Not bad for $4000 invested, could just as easily have been seized and dead, somebody is obviously looking out for me on this one.
November 1, 2003: Off to Olympia with the flatdeck to pick up the LeBaron. Wow she looks great, 2 transmissions in the trunk and not cannibalized any worse than the seller had said. We arrived back home and found it amazing how much of a 24 by 24 garage 2 Imperials take up, oh well it is only until I strip Pinky and send the carcass to the great Imperial heaven in the sky.
November 15, 2003: Wow I must be spending a little too much time in the garage with the cars. My ever understanding wife answered the phone tonight, it was a friend of mine. She explained that I was not available right now as I was out in the garage with "That Black Bitc_!!!!". Thus the name was born, how appropriate I thought, black, pretty, and obstinate at times, this fits my car to a t.
October 30, 2004: The Black Bitc_!! and I approach our first anniversary. The body is finished, the power train and chassis are done and the interior is ready to install, time for a photo shoot.
Nov.9 2004: Finished the trunk today. Parts courtesy of Gary Goers,
excellent quality with very little trimming to fit.
January 1st 2005.
What better way to start off the new year than with an update to the page. The interior is almost complete except for the dash board, should have paid the extra $200. The door panels turned out respectably, almost as good as the patterns.
The seats are done
The sill plates are polished, plated and painted
the headliner is in and she is slowly returning to her former glory.
Another month and the dash should be back. Just enough time to restore the instruments.
To be continued...
This page was last updated Wednesday March 09, 2005. Send us your feedback, and come join the Imperial Mailing List - Online Car Club