Eileen.... She says her name is Eileen....
Below is the tale of Eileen the '59 Imperial. Click on any of these images to see a full size version.
Imperial? What in the heck is an Imperial? Well I had only seen a couple and never even dreamed that I needed to own one. My friend Tom reads the want ads in the paper every day of the week come hell or high water. One Thursday he called and told me there was a '59 Imperial in the paper and how fabulous they were and that we HAD to go see it. Who would have thought we were on the trail of the elusive Eileen?
Eileen's story goes something like this.... In 1977 a husband and wife from North Dakota retired to St. Petersburg FL. Shortly after they moved he passed away and the wife did not drive. The 59 Imperial was parked in the garage and sat there for the next 23 years until the wife was moved to a nursing home and the house sold. The car basically had not been touched in 23 years. The guy who bought the house had messed with the engine a little to try to get it running and tried to blow up the tires and that is a about all....
Friday we went to see the car. Although it looked like there was potential we thought this was a bit more than we should take on. After we left I immediately changed my mind and Tom was in love with the car too so we decided he should buy it. Saturday morning first thing Tom called and made an offer and off we went on an adventure to get Eileen.
We went and checked the car over for any rust that we may have missed in our excitement the day before, paid the owner, and called the roll back to come get her. It took quite a while to get her out of the garage where she had been sitting for the last 23 years because both back tires were flat and there was no hope of getting in there to change them. Eventually we got Eileen loaded up and safely delivered to Tom's house.
Well by Saturday afternoon I had an awful case of the "oh my God what have we done's" and was running on about 3 hours sleep. I think Tom was suffering as well so we quit and went to play in the pool.
By Sunday night Tom decided that this was just more than he wanted to take on and that he wanted to sell the car. I agreed that this was the best thing to do. We both hated to see the car go because it is so beautiful but we just couldn't do this much work.....
Well I couldn't rest... Sell Eileen? Blasphemy!! This is probably the only chance we will ever have to own one of these cars. After all how many 59 Imperials do you see in a lifetime? So when I returned from a work related trip I let Tom know that if he didn't really want the car I did and the rest is pretty much history. Now I am the proud owner of a 59 Imperial that doesn't run, doesn't roll, and has no brakes..... Am I smart or what?
The last weekend of August will be spent pulling the
engine apart to see just why that pesky cylinder #1 keeps filling with water.
April 2000 update... Eileen has been running well with her rebuilt engine and is now awaiting funds for paint.