Imperial Home Page -> Imperials by Year -> 1970 -> MD's modified and restored 1970 Imperial LeBaron
Here is the story of the Imperial I bought from Jerry Elias.
1970 Chrysler Imperial Lebaron....low miles , bought in 2005 from second owner (Jerry Elias) in Chicago.
As I drove the car, I was truly impressed with the 440 engine, the transmission, the ride/ handling balance of the torsion bar suspension, the higher quality seat construction, especially comparing these points to my 70's Lincoln and Cadillacs.
I was less impressed with the original paint and chrome quality, the panel gaps, road noise insulation, sloppy steering : the NVH was no better than a Plymouth Fury 1 taxi !
I worked with www.millbrookimports.com. for mechanical work, and http://www.theautoshoppevt.com (winner of best of class Amelia) and Richmond Upholstery, Vt. (winner of 3 Pebble Beach awards).
In 2006, (with impaired judgement during a major illness !), I amused myself with this project :
What if Mercedes Benz had built this Imperial with the standards they had in the 70's for paint, chrome, panel gaps, sound insulation, steering, etc.?
So after a lot of effort, I now have the best driving, most refined, fuselage Imperial around.
The Autoshoppe did a nose/doors/trunk off restoration. Paint down to bare metal, all new chrome , many NOS pieces (insignia, grilles, doorhandles, etc.) New rubber, window, trunk, hood, seals, rimblow steering restored... and we put on NOS 69 hubcaps. They seem much heavier and finer than the 70 hubcaps. Basecoat/clearcoat, with the color slightly blended in the topcoat to reproduce the depth of the old style hand rubbed lacquer.
If you look at the first pictures of the car with original paint, the car was greenish gold, clean, but not perfect. I did not like the gold, as many 1970's gold paints contained green. We chose a purer gold from an early 70's Citroen SM coupe (with the Maserati V6)...it's like liquid bullion. When I inspected the original car, it seemed relatively rust free, but of course, as we removed the chrome trim and battery etc. etc. , we found some rust. All new metal was used in those minor spots.
Richmond Upholstery removed the interior and put in a full Dynamat insulation kit (floor, doors, cowl, trunk), recolored the armrests, and changed the belts with NOS buckles.
Mechanically, Millbrook did the usual carburator, water pump, fuel pump, all hoses belts, clutch fan, exhaust work, complete front end with upper and lower ball joints, .We installed Bilstein shocks and a faster ratio Borgeson 80119 steering box. Rear leaf springs were restored but we kept the special quiet material between the leaves. Brakes are all NOS parts.
The car is very much "Imperial" and it is fast and safe. The first few pictures are from when I bought the car, to show the colors... then below, photos of the restoration in 2006, and then the final batch are recent ones with the 69 hubcaps.
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