A Story of how I Came to Own A 1960 Imperial LeBaron Sedan

by Larry Blomberg

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My name is Larry Blomberg and I live in Sydney Australia along with my wife Maxine and 3 of our 6 children. The older 3 have since left the nest and reside in South Australia. I am a Police Officer with the NSW State Police – this is my story of why and how I came to buy a 1960 Imperial LeBaron Sedan from the United States and bring her to the Land of Oz It is a story I hope you will enjoy as it was a rather long and challenging process. Please enjoy and feel free to make any comments along the way. As a novice I rely on the more experienced Imperial owners to help me enjoy my vehicle.

It’s early 1970 I am 17 and like most guys my age I am visually excited by two things, girls and cars. I am not and have never been a car enthusiast, but I love the look of beautiful curves. I can recall very well driving through Bondi Beach which is a suburb of Sydney and seeing a beautiful looking car. It was a 1962 Chrysler Valiant R Series – black, heaps of chrome and oh so shiny. Only 1,000 ever came onto the Australian market and I wanted one. I had the girl, now for the car – I always was a guy with set priorities. Alas it was to become 33 years before I seriously looked for one to buy – and yes I still had the girl er woman er mother er wife. The story I tell has its roots in the Chrysler R and S Series Valiant and the Chrysler AP Series from the early 60’s and for that reason I give a short expose of these fine motor vehicles. You will soon discover the likeness of these motor vehicles to the Imperials. Well I think there is a likeness.


1960 Chrysler Valiant "R"
1960 Chrysler Valiant "R"
Known as the "R" Series, the Valiant was an instant success in a market where people wanted cars that were roomy enough for the whole family, but not tanks. They were impressed by the valiant’s performance - 145 bhp from a six cylinder engine. This was a lot of power when you consider the Holdens and the Fords of the time had only 75 and 85 respectively. Whilst not everyone was taken instantly by the looks, the general consensus was that the car had a "modern”, almost space age quality about it.

1960 Chrysler Valiant "R"
1960 Chrysler Valiant "R"
Those first "R" series Valiants came with a choice of 3 speed floor mounted manual transmission, with syncro on first only, or the 3 speed TORQUEFLITE automatic transmission. The auto was engaged using press buttons to the right of the instrument cluster, and proved to be one of the finest transmissions available. On the other side of the instrument cluster, it was possible to order a press button heater unit. If you wanted music, it was blasted out via the Moparmatic Deluxe Pushbutton Transistor Radio in the centre of the dash. On the engine front was the unstoppable 225 Slant Six. To this day renowned as one of the most reliable, never say die engines ever built. In America, Valliant’s could come standard with a 170 cu. in engine, and there was also the option of an Aluminium Slant Six. In the land of OZ however, it was the cast 225 with a single barrel Carter Ball & Ball carburetor doing all the breathing. It was stated that because the engine was inclined to the right at an angle of 30 degrees, a lower bonnet line was permitted.

1960 Chrysler Valiant "R"
1960 Chrysler Valiant "R"
Whether or not this was so is left to be questioned, but it did allow for a very efficient inlet manifold with long branches. The starter motor is a "Chrysler" brand starter, used on the 1962 Valiants and later V8's. For the first time an Australian car came with an alternator instead of a generator, and instead of coil springs, the Valiant came with torsion bar suspension. Brakes were hydraulic drums, front and rear and the spare wheel mould on the boot was just that....a mould. The "real" wheel sat in a well in the boot. There were 1,008 R Series Valiants sold, and demand well exceeded supply. It was in March of 1962 that Chrysler introduced the tidied up version - the "S" Series Valiant.

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