Imperial Home Page-> Imperials by Year-> 1962 -> Chris Middlebrook

If it weren't for the internet, and more specifically, the OIC, this car would have never been found.

The 61-63 Imperials are a fascinating combination of the mid-century modern design movement combined with a retrospective look at Art Deco design. One of few cars that gives me pleasure not only driving, but looking at it from every perspective (And probably the closest thing to a Duesenberg I'll ever own). As I work on chores, I like to take a detour by the garage to pause and just look at the car.


The Story

N ormally I am a die hard purist about my cars. Having owned several Cadillac show cars, I am meticulous about factory correctness. But there was something about the way the colors work on this car. The paint job is reaching its twelfth year, and it looks as perfect as the day it was finished. According to the fellow I bought the car from, the paint man had two of his guys wet sand the entire car by hand after each coat.

The car drives as smooth as it looks. It is very complete, and the only areas that need attention are the weatherstripping and the engine compartment. I found a full set of rubber for the car from Andy Bernbaum, the correct engine enamel is available through Bill Hirsch, and the various decals and stickers can be found through Gary Goers and Year One.

Will I ever bring it back to its original condition? Eventually. Right now I am enjoying the heck out of the car as it is. I love how the character line of the car at the chrome moulding was used as the delineation point for the two colors. The way I see it, it's just paint. It's not as if someone had dropped a blown Hemi under the hood, and put tubs in the back. The seats were re-upholstered in 100% vinyl with the wrong widths on the pleats; another minor issue that can be corrected at any time. For now the quality of the workmanship on both the paint and interior is worthy of any Imperial though.

The Reaction

The biggest surprise about this car ever since I took delivery of it has been people's reaction to it. Having been a "land yacht" lover for many years, I was not prepared for the type of attention my Imperial gets everywhere we go. Normally, my Cadillacs would get a lukewarm reception at shows, and total indifference on the road. The Imperial puts heads on swivels everywhere it goes. Even a trip to the gas station becomes a 20 minute visit with total strangers who want to know about the car. One of the funniest situations so far was seeing about four or five SUV's circling around the Imperial at a parking lot as the drivers and passengers were getting a look. I've even been approached by high school age kids who love the car's looks. Any time that happens, I feel compelled to take them for a ride around the block, or even around the parking lot. I see it as my duty to the hobby - to plant that seed in the minds of the young ones. Because let's face it, we are the custodians of these machines. Eventually, someone else will carry the torch.

This page was last updated 25 August, 2003. Send us your feedback, and come join the Imperial Mailing List - Online Car Club