Imperial Home Page -> Mailing List & Club -> Member Spotlight -> Markku Jaakkola
Here is a brief interview we recently had with IML member Markku Jaakkola. All the pictures displayed on this page are from Markku's impressive Imperial collection. If you have any other questions for Markku, please feel free to send him a message!
Question: When did you purchase your first Imperial?
Answer: I purchased my first car, 1965 Chrysler 300 2d Ht, at the age of 17 in July 1997. My brother had (and still has) 1964 Imperial Crown 4 door and I thought that it was the coolest car in the whole world. So I wasn’t quite happy with my Chrysler, ‘cause it had bucket seats, console and it wasn’t as big as my brothers Imperial. I like those options, but I think that they don’t fit to a big luxury car. At the summer 1998 I decided to let the Chrysler go. I found 1962 Imperial 2d Ht for Sale in Finnish us-car magazine. I gave the owner a call and he was interested to trade my Chrysler in his Imperial. He lived in Joensuu that is located 600 kilometres (375 us-miles) from Turku, where I live. Owner came to Turku to check my Chrysler and brought some photos of his ’62 with him, he liked my car and it was ok for him to make the deal. In August me, and a friend of mine, loaded the Chrysler in to truck and headed to Joensuu. It took 23 hours (19 hours of it was just driving), to get to Joensuu, load the Imperial in to truck and get back in Turku.
Q: Do you still own it?
A: Yes I do.I have done so much work to that car, put lots of money in to it, I’ve learnt many things about cars because of my Imperial. I even went to Turku polytechnic school to study Automotive engineering because of this hobby, so, I’m quite positive about the fact that I’m going to spend many years more with driving and enjoying of my ‘62.
Q: What, if any, restoration did you do to that car?
A: My ’62 had stood in garage since 1994.It needed some brake work, so did the steering gear. Previous owner gave me some suspension parts so I rebuilt the whole front end. There was also a leak in exhaust system, so I replaced entire exhaust system. I got it licensed in April 1999 and I was very happy to get it on the road again. It worked fine until the end of July, when everything started to go wrong. Power Steering Pump started to leak, so it was like driving without power steering, it needed some work. Then the distributor broke and because of that some gas got in to exhaust system and muffler blew up. It sounded like somebody had shot with a riffle. We took the new distributor, got the car working again and took it back home, but just before my hometown white smoke started to come out from exhaust pipe with some weird “shhhzzzz..” -noise. It was the head gasket. All of this at the same month! I decided to rebuild the engine. I did that with the help of my friend who has 1961 Imperial. I’ve been driving it every summer since I finished the engine. Now the transmission needs some repairing and Imperial needs also little things here and there and a new paint.
Q: What is your favorite year Imperial?
A: I really like them all, but my favourites are years ’57-’59.
Q: Why is it your favorite? What do you find appealing about that particular year?
A: I like the styling of those years, big gauges on the dashboard and the Hemi engine of ’57 and ’58. Interiors look very temptating, especially those little crowns on the seats of 58 Crown 4d Ht.’59 grille and headlights are also awesome looking and of course if you can hear the engine when it’s on, there’s something wrong with car, they are really quiet, like all Imperials. That really is what you can call a LUXURY.
Q: Do you have a favorite Imperial gadget or styling feature?
A: Those little crowns on the seats of 58 crown 4d Ht and dual A/C.I have both of them, but they are in my 58 parts car, so maybeI should get another 58 Crown? In 1971 there was an optioncalled ”Four-wheel sure brake”, the first computer controlled four-wheel anti-skid braking system. That kind of option sounds
really great, it would be interesting to own Imperial with anti-skid braking system. Imperials Mobile Director Package would also be great to own. 392 cid Hemi has always been top of the list things.
Q: Any other automotive gadget or styling feature that you like or would like to own?
A: If I never have chance to own Dodge Daytona or PlymouthSuperbird with 426 hemi I really would like to take a ride in one.
Q: What does your Imperial collection consist of? (Note: Please click on any year to see the complete story of any particular Imperial in Markku's collection.)
1957 Imperial Crown 4d Ht, with single headlights. Mileage is unknown, but I’m almost sure that it was lastdriven sometimes 1978 and has been in the same family from 1957 to 2001. This car is project car. 1958 Imperial Crown 4d Ht, This is going to be parts carfor my 57, it has dual A/C. 1962 Imperial Crown 2d Ht, Needs to be repainted, transmission fixed and lots of other things to do,but it’s decent looking at the moment. Don’t know the mileage,‘cause speedometer cable was cut in two, when I purchased my car.
Q: What other collector cars do you own today?
A: At the moment I have no other collector cars.
Q: What other collector cars (at least 20 years old) have you owned in your lifetime?
A: As I told before my first car was 1965 Chrysler non-letter 300,I have had 66 chrysler that I parted out. Then I had ’56 DeSoto Diplomat. Diplomat is made for export only. It looks like Plymouth, but has Desoto grille. I have had also1962 Chrysler New Yorker 4d sedan and 1971 Plymouth Fury III.
Q: Which car has been your favorite and why?
A: If we don’t count the Imperials, my favourite has been ’62 New Yorker. It’s really great looking car, and it was coloured Dawn Blue, so that’s one of my favourites too. Plymouth ran like a dream with its 440 engine.
Q: What are your future plans for your present collection?
A: Restore both my 57 and 62 Imperials. In the Future I think that I have to expand my garage a little, this is my future vision: http://www.imperialclub.org/Yr/1960/Ads/Factory.jpg Looks like the “area 1960” of my garage.
Q: Do you have any, "I can't believe I let that car get away from me" stories?
A: There once was a 1960 Chrysler New Yorker 4d Ht StationWagon for sale here in Finland. It was drivable and cost only circa $1500, but I has just purchased my first car and didn’t have enough money to buy it. That time I just couldn’t even imagine for me to own two cars at the same time.(ok,ok,I was a child back then..)Second time was at the same trip when we were going to Joensuuto get my sixty-two, There was a 62 Imperial 4d Ht For Sale nearby, but we didn’t have time to go even and see the car. It had no engine or trans, but It would have been great partscar for my 2d.
Q: Do you have any funny or interesting stories about purchasing an old car?
A: Because I live so far away from the states and I purchased my ’57 from Napa Valley, Sacramento, it was really difficultto get somebody to pick the car up from there. I had an agreement with one company and of ’course I trusted them completely. It took about 4 months for them to pick my car up (they promised to get it next week) and haul it to Los Angeles harbour! I tried to contact to other companies,but they weren’t interested ’cause the car was non-drivableand in the middle of nowhere. I wasn’t a member of IML at the time, so, I was all on my own.
Q: Are there any other collector cars (besides Imperials) that you would like to own?
A: I have always liked forward look mopars, and muscle cars like Challengers, ’cudas, super bees, and roadrunners (and everything between ‘em). I have 440 cid waiting to be rebuild. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with it, but I want POWER!
Q: Do you belong to any other antique car clubs?
A: I’m a member of www.moparts.com and ’55-’56 Nordic Mopar Club.
Q: What is the best car museum you have ever visited?
A: Here in Finland there really aren’t any good car museums, only some small ones, but I would love to visit W.P.C. museum in Auburn Hills, Michigan. One fellow imperialist visited in that museum few years ago and showed me some photos of their cars and other cool things inside. He also gave me a brochure of WPC museum.
Q: What was the best car show you ever attended?
A: Big Power Meet in Västerås, Sweden. That is Scandinavians biggest us-car meet and there you can see many forward look era mopars and mopar muscle cars as well as many other brands.
Q: Do you have a favorite car related book or movie?
A: Stephen Kings “Christine” (’58 Plymouth Fury) is top of the list – book and the movie. I’m reading Stephen Kings “From A Buick Eight”(’54 Buick) at the moment. First hundred pages were quite boring. Vanishing Point (1970 Challenger) is oneof my favourites too, both versions. I have collected some of the car related movies: Cobb (1959 Imperial); Criss Cross (1957 Imperial); Mean Streets (72 or 73 Imperial); It Happened at the Worlds Fair (two 62 Imp. convertibles); Tucker(Tuckers and many other older cars); Choke (1970 Dodge SuperBee)to name a few.
We would like to thank Markku for sharing his wonderful Imperial collection with us!! Please check back next month when we will be spotlighting another Imperial Club member.