1954 Imperial Sedan Barn Find on Ebay

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This 1954 was posted for sale on Ebay in May of 2012.

Here is what the seller had to say about this car:

1954 Chrysler Imperial, 331 Hemi 4BBL, TorqueFlite automatic transmission, only 72,633 original miles!!!! Only 4,324 of these cars were produced, and approximately only 10% had Air Conditioning, making this quite the rare car!!!!

This is an amazing example of a barn find. I call it 98% original and complete, the body is solid with only minor issues in a couple of spots and virtually zero rust! The car came out of New Mexico where it appears to have been sitting since 1978 hence the amazing preservation. It fires right up and runs great, drives smooth, and it even stops! This car is totally unmolested! Through some of the general repairs I made as described below, the access panels and other items I removed had never been taken off before in the cars life. Everywhere you look you can see that this car is virtually untouched. Amazing for a 58 year old car…



331 Hemi, 4 barrel

Power Steering

Power Brakes

Power Windows

Power Seat

A/C – with the 2-stage condensers in the front, and the massive evaporator in the trunk, this car boasted the best in-car A/C available at that time, over twice the cooling capacity of the competitors! Obviously it’s in need of a recharge though. The compressor turns free, I just removed the belt since it’s a full-time running unit.

The body is remarkably solid and straight, except for a couple of minor dings which are obvious in the pictures, but these are barely issues at all. The only is rust is in the rockers below the front doors on either side, and it is not bad at all. It really doesn’t even need to be repaired if you just want to drive it the way it is! Every piece of trim and every badge is present and in great condition. The lower rocker moldings are damaged as you can see in the pics but still could be repaired if desired. The front bumper has some rust but once again not that bad. The glass is absolutely amazing for its age. The windshield has a few light scratches from the wipers, but the rest of the glass is perfect! When cleaned it looks like it is brand new!! Electrics mostly work, the only thing I couldn’t get to work was the horn. The horn itself works, but there’s something between the horn and the button. The windows operate fast and smooth, for a 6 volt system they are faster than my late model truck!!! Power seat works, radio makes static, all lights work, interior lights, dimmer, blower, wipers, even the cigarette lighter works!!!! The seats are dry and crumbly as you’d expect, but someone has recovered the bottom of the front seat. The rest of the interior is complete, but suffering from old age. Remember it is 58 years old!!!

The mighty Hemi fires right up and sounds great. Although the factory dual exhaust needs some work as you’d expect…


Recent Work:

New Water Pump & Thermostat

Rebuilt Carb

Replaced seals in the Power Steering Gear

New Power Steering pressure & return hoses.

Re-sleeved Master Cylinder with new kit assembled.

New Ignition Switch.

New Battery, Oil & Filter, Belts, the usual little stuff…

Some of the wiring has been repaired/replaced where needed. Most of it is still the original harness which has deteriorated in places hence the repairs. The gas tank was removed and cleaned so it’s good to go.

Oh, the radiator that’s in it is just a temporary one, beaten into submission to allow the hood to close. The original radiator is in the trunk and just needs a recore. The fan shrouds and everything are there as well. Also the brakes still need work if you want to drive this thing right way. The rear lines are capped off at the wheels as one of the wheel cylinders was leaking pretty bad. They are readily available at NAPA at a reasonable cost. Also it would probably be wise to put in a new Power Booster. There’s a place here in SoCal that has fully rebuilt units sitting on their shelf ready to go. Tires are just used take-offs but with enough life to get around on for a while.

I also have the shop manuals to go with the car.


Click on photos to see larger versions



Additional notes from Club Members:


This one needs to be bought restored and enjoyed! Look at that Air conditioning stuff that compressor looks like a 54 Harley engine!


Looks pretty complete plus some. Did you get a gander at the AC compressor? It's a whopper!

Mike C.

I had a 54 with this compressor and had it rebuilt about 18 years ago in Tecumseh, Mich. They look like store fridge compressors. joe machado

This compressor is indeed from a commercial freezer, if information on the 54 IML page is correct. I think there was a clutch on the 55’s. You had to remove the belt from the 54’s so that the compressor would not run. Look closely at the compressor. This car is similar to my 54, the inside is the same. I have an ivory wheel as mine was built very late in the model year. I figure this has better floors than mine had. What a decent headliner. I wonder what the box like fixture is on the firewall. It looks to be covering the body plate and I have never seen this on any other 53 or 54 Imperial. Any guesses out there? It is nice to see this era being discovered and saved. (What I did 6 years ago.)

From: David

I can tell you that is not stock for sure. Some kind of a home aid add on for what I would love to know. Looks like a line or thick wire coming threw the firewall just below it and into bottom of box. wooden box with smaller box on front and what looks like tar paper and thumb tacks

D C Ellis

I emailed the owner and he said the box was the wiper control and motor?

D C Ellis


This page was last updated September 13, 2012. Send us your feedback, and come join the Imperial Mailing List - Online Car Club