On a hot summer day in July 2001, four brave and daring Imperialists began an odyssey to search out and rescue a wayward 1960 Imperial Crown four door hardtop. This is the story of their adventure!
"Hi Jeff, you up to riding to Dallas with me? I have to go for a meeting and am thinking about taking my truck and trailer and checking out Wayne Davis' 61's", Kerry Pinkerton asked Jeff Carrothers. "Sure." Jeff replied, "Think we could go to Abilene and look at the 60?" One thing led to another and pretty soon Jeff and I, along with Mark Harris and Elijah Scott had piled in my GMC and headed west from Jackson Mississippi.
Jeff found this car on the IML classified and is probably the only person I know who had the patience required to obtain it. The car was owned by Ruby Ann Glover of Abilene, she is 93 years old and sharp as a tack. However, like a lot of seasoned citizens, she is somewhat set in her ways. Jeff saved a couple messages she left on his answering machine. Try to read this with a deliberate old ladies voice. "Jefffery, This is RUby AnN GLover of Abbileennn Texas callling about the IMPErial. I NEed to tallk with You about the IMPERial. I NEed you to call me as sooon as PoSSible. PLEase Calll ME at ....." 10 minutes later another message, I guess she was not sure what she said the first time. "Jefffery, This is RUby AnN GLover of Abbileennn Texas callling about the IMPErial. I NEed to tallk with You about the IMPERial. I NEed you to call me as sooon as PoSSible. PLEase Calll ME at ...... I NEED yoou To BRINg with YOU a Copy of PROof of INSURance Showing FULL COVERAGE! I'm 93 years old and I cann't let somethinnnng happen to thee IMPERial beCAUse theey would takkke EVERYthink I have...." Jeff said that every conversation with her took at least 45 minutes.
We got up at 6am on July 4th and hit the road by 6:30. Since we had to drop some doors that Kerry was taking to Travis in Dallas, we decided to go by and look at the first of Wayne's 61s. It is a pink (Malibu tan) 4dr crown partially disassembled. It was not certain that we would be bringing back the 60 but if we did, the 61 would have to be another trip. If Kerry decided to get them.
We pulled out of Dallas at 2:30 and realized we would be in Abilene by early. Jeff was climbing the walls and we decided he should call Mrs. Glover and see if we could look at the car tonight.
"Mrs. Glover, this is Jeff Carrothers, we're leaving Dallas and should be in Abilene by 6 this evening."
"Jeffffery, you're TOO early. I CAN't POSsibly seee you tonigHT. I'm already in MY Nightgown", she replied. "I did not thinK YOu would bee heere BEFore NOOn TOMorrow. I HAVe PLANS. I HAVE to TAke my LINCOLN to the SERvice Station and get a STICKer. ALAn needs to giVe me an INSPection. ALAn doees ALL thee Work on My cars. I HAVE to TAke my LINCOLN to the SERvice Station and get a STICKer...". I COUld'nt POSSISsibly be at the car before 10:30"
We all groaned..
"Well, Mrs. Glover, do you think we could unlock the garage before you went to the station?"
"Whaaat? I don't UNDerstand. I"MM 93 YEars OLD. I HAVE to TAke my LINCOLN to the SERvice Station and get a STICKer. I'tts alREAdy ExpiRED. ALAn has to insPEct my LincoLN."
"Yes'um" Jeff replied. For the next 30 minutes, the above conversation was repeated with Jeff saying "Well, we'll just meet you at the garage at 10:30"about 10 times before he finally got off the phone. We were laughing our eyes out!
We got the Abilene and checked into the Motel 6, turned on the AC in both rooms and hit the road to find something to eat and check out the locations of her house and the garage where the car was. Abilene is a dusty, dry town and Mrs. Glover lives on a nice shady street. The Lincoln parked askew in her carport did not appear to be dented. We had just about convinced Jeff that Mrs. Glover was delusional and there was no car or that the 'perfect body' had been dented in every possible place so this was a good sign. We then located the house where the car was and were shocked to find the only possible place for the 60 to be was in a 10x20 metal building!!!???
Back at the motel, one room was still hot so a change was made. One hour later that room AC died and another change was made. One hour later the one cool rooms AC died. 5 motel rooms in one night! Perhaps Motel 6 should turn off some lights so they can buy some AC units!
Kerry let everyone sleep in till 7 the next am and we went to Denny's for breakfast. On the way back we drove by Mrs. G's house and was shocked to find her car still there at 9:15.
Jeff called her and she told us where she was taking the "Lincoln". We were waiting when she drove up.
(Click on the small pictures to see larger versions.)
|Our first view of Ms. Glover was as she pulled her '78 Lincoln Continental up to the service station. The Continental was a beautiful car in good condition, which gave us additional hope for the status of the Imperial.|
|Jeff walked over and introduced himself to her and Ms. Glover asked him to chauffeur her around town. Somewhere in the background, we could hear a voice saying, "To the Commerce Bank!"|
|Mark's expression mirrors the amazement that we all felt in finding such a nice Imperial in an unexpected place.|
|Although Jeff got to see the Imperial before the rest of us, we were still amazed that this itty-bitty "garage" could house an Imperial. It was indeed close quarters!|
|While Ms. Glover searches the contents of her handbag, Kerry and Jeff ponder ways to get the Imperial out of the "garage."|
|Although Kerry looks pretty hip in his "headgear," Jeff is especially fashionable with his new walking aid!|
|Once we had convinced Ms. Glover to find a shady spot to rest (across the street at her friend's house), we began to evaluate the situation. As you can see, we had a small shed with a LOT of Imperial in it.|
|Abilene, TX, is pretty warm in the summer (read that 7 degrees hotter than the hinges of hell). The temperature on this day was around 97, turning the "garage" into an oversized EasyBake oven. With only one small window at the end opposite the doors, air flow was practically nonexistent.|
|Ms. Glover told us that she had parked the car in the shed herself. We were all VERY impressed by her driving skills! She had placed the Imperial in the shed with only inches to spare on the passenger side.|
|Once we opened the hood, we found an amazingly well-preserved engine. The gold on the air cleaner was 40+ years old, but still showed it's Imperial presence. Even the original "IMPERIAL" stickers were still on the engine!|
|Much like the rest of the car, the engine compartment was in amazingly good condition. We had a hot battery and once we hooked it up, Jeff turned the key and we all gave a sigh of relief when the engine turned over smoothly.|
|Inside the car, we found an instrument panel and dashboard in near-perfect condition. Later, we would discover that ALL of the electroluminescent elements work, creating and resplendently Imperial glow at night.|
|Kerry and Jeff brave 40+ years worth of grime and begin checking the ignition system. Bad spark plug wires and a faulty fuel pump eventually proved to be the biggest hindrances. Even worse, the fuel pump was spraying gas over everything. Jeff had brought an electric pump but it turned out to have died.|
|Our original plan had been to get the car running and then drive it out of the garage and up onto Kerry's trailer. All things considered, the carburetor was still in pretty good shape.|
|The back seat of the Imperial is amazingly well-preserved. Suddenly, it's 1960!|
|At this point, Kerry is wondering how in the heck we're going to get this car out of the garage?!?!|
|After some work, we managed to get air in three tires (one of which was the spare). This left us a tire short! So we jacked up the car and placed a couple of casters under the rear wheels so that we could shift the car away from the door opening a bit (It was parked about 4 inches from the right side).|
|And here's why we had trouble with the tires -- after being flat for so many years, they had dry-rotted and cracked. I'm sure the "toaster-oven" Abilene heat didn't help either!|
|Although it's not obvious from this view, the garage was on a small incline. Since we couldn't get the brakes up on the Imperial, rolling it out into the street really wasn't a good option.|
|While we were considering options for getting the Imperial out of the garage and onto the trailer, Jeff was wrapping up the deal with Ms. Glover.|
|At 93 years of age, Ms. Glover had lots of good stories to tell -- and since she had owned and loved the Imperial since 1964, she had plenty of good stories to tell about it, too! Mark was drafted to drive her back to the garage to get her 'sticker'. "I Should NOt have DRiven it." she said. We don't think she will ever drive again.|
|And like any good car lover, Ms. Glover had a collection of advertisements for some of her favorite cars.|
|The solution to extracting the Imperial from the garage proved to be a rollback tow-truck. Took $45 bucks and 10 minutes to have it out.|
|The rollback was able to safely and easily remove the Imperial from the garage. Rather than taking our chances on trying to roll the car out, the rollback slowly and carefully extracted the car. This method also eliminated the possibility of injury to man or car.|
|Having safely secured the Imperial on the rollback, it went for a short ride. . .|
|And was ready to be loaded onto our trailer. Using a rollback to move the car was MUCH easier than trying to do it ourselves!|
|The following shots show the car once it was loaded onto the trailer. This was the first time in over six years that the car had seen the light of day! Even with a flat tire, I'm sure it was glad to be out and about again.|
|The combination of truck and Imperial made quite a rig! Clearly, however, this Imperial is a solid, well-preserved car. Kerry lashed it down with ratcheting tie downs at all 4 corners. With the one flat tire, it sat a little lopsided and was on the trailer a little too forward but it rode ok.|
|By this time, I think the Imperial was ready to go, eagerly anticipating the new adventures that awaited her.|
|In our opinion, this car was a beautiful example of an original 40+ year old car. Even though it's a bit tired and dusty, it's obvious that the car was well-loved and will soon display its Imperial splendor.|
|The Imperial was a beautiful sight to behold -- watching that Imperial "smile" through the rear window made the trip home all the more pleasant.|
|This shot was taken at a rest stop west of Dallas. Kerry kept checking the tie downs for some reason.. Even on the trailer, the Imperial looks right at home -- a big car under a big sky!|