1960 Imperial Custom

by Donn Reese & David Nolta, Anchorage, Alaska

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At Matanuska Glacier

Waiting for 4th of July Parade

Local car club cruise, the only fins in sight

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January 2009

My last update was in October 2006 when the car was finally drivable but was giving me problems when starting.  Turns out it was time for a new carburetor and in the spring of 2007 it was replaced and that cured those problems.  

In July I installed a new headliner that I acquired from a local guy with a ’60 Crown.  Through a glitch when he ordered one from SMS ten years ago, he ended up with two so he gave me a good price on it.  When I got the car there was no headliner and the roof bows were out.  I had to figure out the puzzle without knowing what it looked like but it turned out pretty good for a first-timer – thank you Richard Burgess for having already posted his headliner experience on the OIC site.  

I also continued replacing worn out items such as the heater control valve and engine electrical components.  Many of the parts were original to the car when built and sometimes were simply bypassed or jerry-rigged to work.  

Early in 2008 I finally figured out the “clunking” upon acceleration was due to a tired driveline carrier bearing.  A rebuilt one from Lowell Howe fixed that.  An all new exhaust system helped to quiet that 413 down to something less of a roar.  However, now I can hear all the other creaks and rattles that need to be tightened up.  

In October, I had JC Auto Restoration recondition the gauges, light switch, and E/L power pack.  I’m now back to fully lit instruments – too bad our ‘midnight sun’ renders the lighting somewhat unused during the summer months.  

This Imperial is the only one in our local antique car club and I believe is now the only one on the road regularly in Alaska.  In the pictures that follow, you’ll notice it is rather lonely amongst all the other makes.  Strangely enough it’s also one of the few cars in our club with any fins, which always seem to get a lot of attention from the public.  

The boat shown in one of the photos is a 1960 Sabre Craft we found on craigslist a couple years ago.  The outboard motor is a 1973 Chrysler, still in great working order.  The Imperial doesn’t have a trailer light harness so I don’t tow the boat with it – I was just using it to move the boat around that day because I could.  

The restoration continues, slowly making up for the years of neglect.

High tundra area south of Eureka, Alaska

Here's some scenery as an Imperial sees it along the Glenn Highway in Alaska, late summer 2008

Gunsight Mountain in the distance

Sheep Mountain area

King Mountain masquerading as a volcano

Along the Matanuska River near Sutton

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This page was last updated on 13 March 2007. Send us your feedback, and come join the Imperial Mailing List - Online Car Club