Information on these 1981 to 1983 Imperial stretch limousines is sparse! Please contact us if you have information to share!
From Gregory Gryczan & Sandra Hudson Gryczan:
Check out the August 1987 issue of Collectible Automobile magazine. According to the article, the only stretch limo of these years was made by Russ Brown in Michigan. It was owned by Kenyon & Eckhardt in New York City.
From James Hannaford:
In addition to the Kenyon & Eckhardt Advertising car, there were at least three other Imperial limos done. Burt Reynolds (the actor) apparently had a fondness for the cars. They have shown up in three of his movies STICK, and Cannon Ball Run 2, and you'll notice the cars are different than the Kenyon & Eckhardt car as they have a thin spacer between the front and rear doors. Universal Studios had at least one car that showed up in several episodes of "Hart to Hart" and "The A-Team," and apparently the car has been seen around Hollywood recently. I saw an '82 Imperial limo in Salt Lake City in 1989 that was painted gold (of all colors!) and was owned by the Mormon Church. I spoke to the driver for a few minutes and he said the church really liked the car. I asked him who converted it, but he said all he knew was that it was a company in Ohio.
I have tracked down one of the 1981-83 Imperial limos along with pictures of it. It is owned by a fellow in Iowa. He and I have been conversing and he tells me at least five '80s Imperial limos were done. Two were 24" stretches (his and one for a Chrysler VP at the time), and the other three were 30" stretches. One of the 30" stretches was purchased by Burt Reynolds (probably the one used in his movies painted army green). Another was 30" stretch was purchased by Frank Sinatra, while the last went to Universal Studios (where I'm told it still resides) in Hollywood. The 24" stretches were converted by Russ Brown and Associates outside Detroit. The 30" stretches were done by a company called ASC, also located somewhere outside Detroit. I saw an 82 Imperial limo (30" stretch) in Salt lake City back in '89 painted gold that was owned by the Mormon Church, and the driver told me it was converted by a company in Ohio (possibly Hess and Eisenhardt, who did the 73 Secret Service limos). As to their fates, I don't know. I remember seeing 2 for sale in 1989 in Hemmings Motor News. The fellow selling them was Bill Ziegenbein (outside Detroit), and I think the two might have been Frank Sinatra's and the Chrysler VP. I have tried to contact Bill to find out where the two went, but to no avail. One was seen outside Phoenix in 1986 and was owned by a Chrysler/Plymouth dealer out there, but don't know if it is one of the five I have mentioned, or another. I have spoken to a conversion company, and they have told me one could be converted today, but in addition to the Imperial, you would need a 1979-81 Newport or Dodge St Regis for the center door pillars, an additional set of Imperial doors, and a roof. I was thinking it would be neat to do, as there are many (unfortunately!!) of these Imperials in junk yards.
From James Hannaford:
|I have located some pictures of one of the 24" stretched limos. This one resides in Iowa, and was apparently owned by K & E Advertising in NYC. The first picture (at left) was taken in October 2002, and the car was in fair shape at this point. The owner says he's going to get it running again. At the center and right are two more pictures of the same car, taken in the fall of 2004. At this time, the owner reports the interior is in fair shape and could stand a re-do, and that the head-light doors are frozen open and need repair. It is apparently running well and looks pretty good at a distance.|
|This sheet shows one of the 36" stretches, quite likely
the one that belonged to Frank Sinatra. It was (may still be) owned by a Chrysler Dealer out in the Phoenix,
According to Jim Hannaford, "I found out the Sinatra family (a friend of mine met Frank Jr. last summer) still owns the car (as Frank Sr. loved it), and it is in Palm Desert, CA." [January 2006]
From Elijah Scott :
|According to Classic American Limousines: 1955-2000 Photo Archive (Iconographix, 2001), the limousine pictured at left was the last '81-'83 Imperial limousine. It was created by Andy Hotton, Inc., of Belleville, Michigan in 1982. Plans were to offer it as either an executive four-door sedan or as a limousine with a glass divider window. However, only two were made, and only one is known to still exist.|
From James Hannaford:
I have done some more of my "snooping" and have found out that two of the companies that converted '80s Imperials, Andy Hotten, Inc. and Russ Brown & Associates (both of which were in the Detroit area) are long gone, although ASC (who did at least a couple of the 36" conversions) is still around. I spoke to a fellow named Mike Dunn of Metro Coach ,Inc. (they do limo conversions), who said he remembered Andy Hotten doing a lot of Chrysler work. He did not recall Russ Brown, though. Mike said he could still do an Imperial stretch for around $25k, but the car needs to be in pretty good shape. Like I mentioned before, to do it would require a "donor Imperial" for the roof, doors, and part of the floor pan, as well as a '79-'81 St. Regis or Newport (R body) for the center door pillars.
In 2006, this limousine appeared for sale at the Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale, Arizona, with the following information:
Custom stretch from original 1981 Chrysler Imperial Coupe. Provided by Chrysler Corp for use in two major movies Canon Ball Run II and Stick both with Burt Reynolds. Purchased February 1985 by present owner a Chrysler dealer at that time.
According to Jim Hannaford, "this 1982 Imperial 36 inch stretch limousine sold at the Barrett-Jackson auction last weekend [January 21-22, 2006] for only $11,380. It only had 17,000 miles on it! This is not the Frank Sinatra 36 inch stretch car (see above). This car was owned by a Phoenix area Dodge dealer, and was the one owned by Burt Reynolds in the early '80s and used in his movies Stick, Cannon Ball Run II, and Sharkey's Machine. Interesting to note how much different it is (longer) than the 24 incher!"
Here is yet another '81-'83 Imperial Limousine that appeared for sale online in 2005. This car is similar to the one shown immediately above, but differs in several details -- note the more squared trim around the vinyl top at the bottom of the C-pillars, as well as the different colored pinstripe and interior.