Row of Imperials

Spotlight on Joe Machado

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Here is a brief interview we recently had with IML member Joe Machado.  If you have any other questions for Joe, please feel free to send him a message!

1) When did you purchase or acquire your first Imperial?

I purchased the first Imperial I ever bought in Sept 83. It was $300. and a complete car, not running.

2) What motivated you to purchase or acquire that car?

In July 63, my brother-in-law and I hitchhiked to Phoenix, Az. from Long Beach, Calif. A 61 Imperial LeBaron picked us up in Fullerton, Ca. and took us to Coachella, Ca. It was cloudy and overcast when we left Long Beach and was 117 degrees when we arrived in the desert. When we got out of the Imperial in the desert, I could not believe how hot it was and the car did not let me know it was so hot. That impressed me at age 17. The worst part of being in the heat was my brother-in-law, Dave, was in his dark blue wool uniform, not the dress whites. He was cooking as we waited for a ride East to Ariz. The next vehicle was a 60 Falcon wagon and no air. Wow, was it hot.

Well, 20 years later, Summer of 83, I started looking for a 61 LeBaron based on that ride 20 years earlier. I finally found an ad for one in a paper called The Recycler, in Sept 83, for $400., not running. I did not care what condition it was in, just that it was a 61 LeBaron. I called and got the address. I loaded up a tow bar into the trunk of my 69 Dodge Daytona and head out about 15 miles to get it. It was all there, nothing missing.

I got the owner and was talking with him and he was the son of the person who bought it new. He said his dad had a stroke about 5 years earlier and that the water pump blew the fan into the radiator and was never driven again. The old man asked the son something and relayed what his dad was trying to ask and he said his dad wanted to know why a young man, me, would want such a big old car. I commenced to tell the story from 20 years ago and we thought the man was having another stroke. He was the man who gave us the ride and wanted to know, if Dave still had his Winter wool suit? I knew then he was the one who gave us that ride and that this was THE car. It will never be for sale. B

Then the old man said something to his son who then told me that his dad cannot sell me the car for $400. but that I could have it for $300. if I promise to bring it by when finished. 23 months later I finished it. We took a 7,000 mile, 32 state and Canada vacation. After the trip, I tried to remember the house where I purchased the car and could not get the exact house. The area had changed just enough to make it difficult to find. I felt bad. I spent several weekends trying to find him, but to no avail.

The car had 123,000 miles on the odometer. It now has 504,000 miles. The car's last cross country trip was July 07 pulling my loaded 28 enclosed car trailer to Chryslers at Carlisle, in Pennsylvania.

3) What, if any, restoration did you do to that car? How much of the work did you do personally? Did you have the help of a colleague or did you pay a restoration shop to do the work? Was there a combination of all of the above?

I did all the work on the except for sewing the upholstery, machining the new engine and rebuilding the trans. I did everything else and all the other labor. I did it in a 2 car garage that also had my Daytona in it. I had 7 cars at the time. I spent $8,000. back then.

4) Do you have any other Imperials that you currently own?

I have 3-61 Imperials, 1-62 and 2-63's. I had 2 more 61's in the past and 3-59's. Between my son and I, we house 20 of our cars. The rest are outside waiting their turn at being restored. I am about to finish a 63 and am also doing a 61 Crown.

5) Do you have a favorite year Imperial? This does not have to be one you own, and why would this be your favorite?

61 Imperial and the 59's are my favorites.

6) Is there a style feature or gadget that you like best on the Imperial? This does not have to be one you own.

The 61 to me is the most outrageous and that is part of why I like them first.

7) If you had a choice of installing one modern day feature on your Imperial, what would you like?

A feature I would like from today's cars if AM-FM.

8) Is there a book that you have read relating to Imperial or Chrysler that you enjoyed reading and would suggest to others to get?

I have never ran across a book on only Imperials.

9) Do you have other collector cars that you currently own or would like to own, or have owned in the past that you would like to mention?

Cars I have owned, wow, I cannot name them all as it is over 400.

10) Considering all the collector cars youíve currently own or have owned, is there one that you would consider your favorite and why? (I strongly suggest you donít answer Cadillac as Iím sure Kenyon will tag your name on the membership list)

Some of my other favorites are: 69 Daytonas, 2 of them. 3 69 Charger 500's. Several Charger RT's, one I bought new in 68. A new 66 Charger. 62 Continental Convert. 61 Dodge Phoenix Convert. 42 and 47 Cad converts. 41 Ford woodie wagon. 59 Chevy Impala. 58 Pontiac. 59 Buick. 57 Coronet. 61 Phoenix 4 door hardtop.

11) Do you have any short term and/or long term plans for your present collection?

My long term plans are to always have and drive as everyday cars, these oldies.

12) What do you enjoy the most about working on or owning collector cars?

I love working and maintaining my cars and friends who also appreciate them. To help supply parts so their's also can be driven. I drive any and all of them, no matter the value. If I bought a new car, I would loose in 2 ways. Not the fun in a new car and the value lost when you hit the street. The old car keeps going up in value while driving.

13) Do you currently belong to any car clubs? Are you a member because you gain knowledge of the trade or is it more of a social gathering?

I not only have been a member of clubs like AACA, WPC, and Imperial, and am still, but I created an organization back in Summer of 74. It is Winged Warriors. The group for the 69 Daytona and the 70 SuperBird. I also race in vintage racing.

14) Do you have someone that you can pass your knowledge of collecting and restoring cars onto? How important of a factor is that for you?

My son has picked up from me many years ago and has quite a collection of Mopars. No Imperials. He does have 2 60 Dodge Polara D500 Ram Induction converts and a couple 69 Daytonas, one used to be mine that I purchased back in 1971. It is again a restored car and he drives it like I did. I had 210,000 miles on that car when I sold it in 89.

15) Do you have any local, regional, or national car show(s) that you have enjoyed attending that you would like to mention?

I still do car shows all over the country. I have done 3 already this year, 09. I have Vegas in 2 weeks. Spring Fling in April. June, I have 2 more , one in New Mexico and then Branson, Mo. Their will be many more I forgot to mention. I also am working with Darrell Davis of Chrysler who has been writing books and recording production figures. I took it upon myself to help him and correct errors and misprints and wanted to help him with accuracy as we both want that for future generations to use.

This page was last updated 9 April 2007.   Send us your feedback, and come join the Imperial Mailing List