Bob Zubkowski's 1966 Imperial

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Bob (Zub) Zubkowski's 1966 Crown Imperial 4dr HT

This is my Cruiser, a '66 Crown. I had a hard time deciding what color to paint it. The original color was silver. When I bought it it was white pearl but in ruff shape. The paint was finished no life left in it and it had ran when it was painted. I looked through the brochure for '66 and found three colors that I liked Sequa green, Royal blue and deep plum. I finally decided on the deep plum. When we went at the paint store and looked at the paint chip for deep plum it was terrible!! It looked like a plum, a real dark purple with red lines running through it. So I brought the brochure in and took the color that was in the brochure. The '66 brochure does not have photos but painted pictures. When we mixed it and painted the car it looked chocolate brown when it first dried. Then the color started to come out in about two weeks. I am very happy with it. and it is a hard color to describe. The paint did not sit right so it will be repainted in a few weeks. This time I am adding more pearl to bring out the flecks in the paint.





I don't know what section of the Journal it is because I just heard about it to day when a guy from Edmonton phoned to take about my car and his 1960 Crown.

The 1966 Imperial Crown was a most appropriately named car. Everything about it was magisterial,from the gold trimmed headlights to a carpeted trunk the size of France.

In between there is enough leather to outfit a small herd of cows, acres of ultra-rare clairo walnut veneer, more old fashioned electronics than the Mir space station and chrome for 10 fun house mirrors.

It's the kind of car God might drive on Judgment day.

But for now, Bob Zubkowski drives one. And the recently retired sergeant in Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry looks after his Imperial Crown with the pride and care befitting a car of such regal splendor.

He didn't pick the car. It picked him. That's pretty much how Zubkowski remembers it, in any case.

He was browsing around the Commercial Auto Sale lot one afternoon in 1980 as he often did on slow days. As he approached the gate to leave he spotted the beaten down, badly repainted luxury boat from a bygone era of cheap gas and stately highway passage.

"It had a kind of nifty look and the closer I got the better it looked. I go in and sat down and was really impressed with how plush and unique it was.

"My first car was a 1962 Dodge Saratoga and it was just a great car. It wasn't as plush or as big as an Imperial, of course, but it was big and powerful and a great car to drive."

The next day Zubkowski returned and plunked down $2,500 for the 14 year old four door hardtop Imperial all 191/2 feet, two tons of her.

"We were in base housing at the time and so I had to leave it parked outside in the weather.

But, you know those bad hail storms we had? The ones that ruined so many cars? Well she was out in every one of them."

Waving at the Imperials flat, shimmering hood he challenges you to find one dimple. There are none. "They used real steel in those days," he says, lightly tapping the hood for emphasis.

It also includes many of the extras many of today's car buyers believe were invented by the Japanese sometime in the mid 1980's: power door locks, cruise control, and automatic headlight dimmer, and automatically adjusting power brakes.

In addition at the standard doodads, Zubkowski's 66 Imperial contains some nostalgic extras unique to its period in history.

Most familiar to old time "cruisers" is the reverberator mechanism on AM/FM radio. Available as an add on kit in the 60s and 70s, it made a discrete stroll along "lovers' lanes" a concert hall experience with Mr. Acker Bilk's Stranger on the Shore reverberating at full volume inside chopped Chevies and raked Fords.

The Imperial Coupe offered a "Mobile director's option" which turned the cabin into a mini- office. A good-sized walnut table with attached light pulls out and attaches to the floor in the back with a folding chrome leg. The passenger side of split-bench front seat turns around to face rear and, voila, your mobile office is ready.

Chrysler historian Kevin McCabe in Windsor, Ont. says none of this was particularly new even in 1966. Cruise control was available on most luxury cars as early as 1957.

These options would have been less familiar to Canadians at the time because luxury options were heavily taxed here prior to the Auto Pact signing in 1966.

Zubkowski, being a military man, followed a staged program in restoring his Imperial Crown, beginning with the engine and ending with the hubcaps, which are so heavy they have to be balanced just like the wheels.

The car's original color had been silver, which was covered with a white pearl that Zubkowski says must of been drizzled on rather than sprayed judging from the uneven coat and dribbles. He decided to revive it as deep plum, a popular Imperial color in 1966.

"We thought we got the mix right, but then it went on looking like chocolate brown and that really scared me." But the paint dried to a rich plum that has mellowed and matured with age.

Zubkowski will be giving it a final coat to deepen the luster as the final stage of the restoration process.

This year, he finished the upholstery - all original and in need of only minor repairs - and overhauled the electrical system, which proved a major undertaking, he says.

There were only 163 Imperial Crowns made for Canada in 1966 and just under 9,000 produced in all of North America. Parts are a constant headache helped only slightly by the fact that 1964,'65 and '66 models were virtually the same.

Zubkowski says his best source of parts has been an Imperial page on the Internet that connects the cars owners and devotees around the world. (Chrysler retired the Imperial marque in 1992).

A surprising number of cars now reside in Europe particularly northern countries like Finland, Norway and Holland, he notes. Imperials from the 1950s and 60s are especially prized possessions in Japan and Korea.



The 1966 Crown overhead valve 90 degree V8. displacement. 10.1 to 1 compression ratio. 350hp @ 4400rpm; torque, 480

lb./ft. @ 2800rpm. I know that the weight of Crown is 21/2 tons. The base price for the Crown was $5733.00 then your extra's the build sheet may be in the springs behind the rear seat back or rear seat bottom. I have the dealer ship booklet for 1966, 81-005-6036. It's about 81/2 by 11 inches with 14 pages of text and colored pictures. Hope this helps.



Subject: :Remote mirror removal
Date: Sun, 1 Nov 1998 10:35:04 -0700
From: Bob Zubkowski
1. Take off the trim on the left side of the dash.
2. There is a a large nut that must me unscrewed.
3. Push the control knob out under the dash.
4. The control knob must be disconnected by,
a. Removing the rubber band.
b. Removing the three control wires from their recess. This id done by using needle nose pliers. Grasp the wire about a 1/4" where it exits the control assembly. Hold the assembly so it will not move. then push forward and up until the wire base clears it's recess. Then lift up. The wire base must completely clear the recess for easy removal.
5. The wires once removed will go through a wire plug on the left side of the fender.
6. Remove the access plate from the fender well.
7. Pull the wires through.
8. remove the two screws that hold the mirror to the fender, and pull up and out.


I rebuilt my 1966 Crown over several years. About 5 years ago I redid the motor completely. I kept the original block. It had 289,000 on it. The cost was $3000.00. I started on the body in 1996 and finished it in 1997. The chrome was all redone at a cost of $3000.00 and the body redone at a cost of $3500.00. The body was done privately to take it to a body shop the prices started at $5000.00 and depending on what they found under the paint it would go up from there. I had to strip all the chrome off and put it on myself to get it done for the $3500.00. The new vinyl roof cost $400.00 and to by and install a new windshield,put on the vinyl and redone some leather work on the seats was $1200.00. I had all the electrical checked out and fixed anything that needed to be done. That was $1200.00 as well. I could by a car with 68,000 miles on it for less, but I sure love mine.

R.F. Zubkowski
Calgary Alberta Canada

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