By Steve Holley:
My father's aunt was a retired school teacher and librarian in a small town in East Texas. She was born, lived, and died in the same house that her father built in 1912. She bought the Imperial from a dealership just down the road from her home. (She traded in a Chrysler Saratoga for the Imperial and I have a few pictures of that car too.)
She was a meticulously organized person and kept extremely good records on the Imperial concerning its care and maintenance. I have record of all oil changes, lubes, hose and belt changes and battery replacements.. She was the classic "little old lady" and only drove the car around town, never exceeding 45 miles per hour.
When I first saw the car it was parked in an old wooden garage with its massive chrome grill facing outward and I was immediately taken by how clean and well maintained the car seemed to be despite the fact that it had been sitting for awhile.
I opened the door and was thrilled by the condition of the interior - everything appeared to be brand new, from the red leather seats to the wood grain trim. The carpet was immaculate, as was the headliner. I looked at the odometer....32k original miles!
I then started looking at the various options and found that the car was loaded! Electric everything! Even a foot operated scan for the a.m. radio. I then looked in the glove box and found, among other things, the original Certicard and another card riveted to the inside of the glove box door that was signed by the mechanics whenever they performed authorized service during the warranty period. I also found a letter from Robert Anderson, then V.P. and general manager of the Imperial Division, thanking her for her purchase! It was even on Imperial letterhead and in the original letterhead envelope, postmarked Feb. '66 !
Under the hood things were a little different. It seems that a family of mice, apparently recognizing quality when they saw it, decided to take up residence on the intake manifold and used the hood insulation pad as a nice, fluffy nest. Fortunately they left the wiring alone and the car started easily.
I then looked in the trunk and it appeared as though I was the first to do so. The original spare was in its place and the jack had obviously never been removed. The cardboard liner was immaculate as was the carpet. After a thorough examination by trained professionals (my brother, the Oldsmobile mechanic) we decided to drive it back to Georgia instead of attempting to trailer it back.
As I was driving the moving van, the task of driving the Imperial went to my brother.
It was great to be able to watch the car on the road from another driver's perspective and to be able to see other people's reaction to this massive, luxury cruiser sailing by. Since returning home with the car I have had to do very little to bring it back to its original splendor. First, a thorough cleaning and polishing, then I began working on the little things....a power window motor that was stuck, etc....
After being home with the car for about 3 weeks I took it to a local car show and to my surprise I came home with a first place in the C-Body class!
Admittedly this was a smaller local show but my Imperial was up against some very nice competition. What a confidence builder!
Since then I continue to work on the car as my budget and time allow and I show it when I can. My father even comes to the shows and gets a kick out of telling people the history of the car (There IS hope! I may convert him yet!)
I would never be able to have and enjoy this fine example of American automotive history if it hadn't been for the "little old lady" that originally purchased it and maintained it with such love and care, and for that I can only say "thank you" by continuing to give it the same care and attention.
If anyone has a question about my car please feel free to write. I LOVE to talk about it and will answer all!
P.S. While cleaning up in her home I also was fortunate to find a dealer's promo model of this car, correct down the color! I assume that it was given to her when she purchased the car!