Imperial Home Page -> Imperials by Year -> 1981 -> Differences
The interiors were available in either cloth or leather, at the buyer's option. They were all labeled "Mark Cross." The 1981 seats are much more comfortable than the later cars, as the cushions are of the "floating pillow design," whereas the later cars used a more simple construction. The 81s with cloth seats are superbly comfortable, and very durable. All interiors have separate front seats with arm rest attached to the driver's seat, but in the exact center of the car, a true 50-50 seat. Also, all have 6 way power on the driver's seat, 4 way on the passenger seat. None of these models came with consoles in the armrests.
The Frank Sinatra models had a holder for cassette or 8 track tapes and some other goodies, and had a unique paint color (in 1981), plus mandatory interior color to match. However the option of cloth or leather was still available.
All cars have the same equipment as far as power options, all standard at no extra cost. The only available options on the cars were the sun roof (at extra cost), the two choices of wheels, and a selection of different radios. All had AM-FM Stereo with power boost amplifier and 4 speakers plus automatic power antenna, plus you also got one of the following: Quartz lock tuning (like a modern radio) or cassette player or 8 track or CB radio in addition. These options were not all available on the FS model. In 1982 and 19833, the Quartz lock radio option also included a cassette player. The CB radio required a special antenna.
Listed below are a few pictures of the different radio options in Imperials from 1981 - 1983.
1982 Frank Sinatra dash
There are some minor exterior trim differences between the 81's and later cars, primarily the elimination of some of the chrome around the headlights in the later cars.
1981 Headlight Chrome 1983 Headlight Chrome
Another exterior difference for 1983 was the hub center on the aluminum wheels. On the 1981-1982 models, the center was red. For 1983, the center was clear. The 1983 brochure does not help matters by showing a photo of the Crimson Red 1982 Imperial on page 8, complete with 1982 wheel centers. All the other photos have the correct centers. The saddest part about the elimination of the color is that the name "IMPERIAL" on the center medallion cannot be easily seen in 1983.
The power seat mechanisms are the same for many years and models, so you don't need to find an Imperial in the junk yard to get the right parts to fix these. If you are somewhat handy with tools, you can figure out how to fix these mechanisms; the problems are usually quite simple and obvious.
This page was last updated on December 02, 2002 . Send us your feedback, and come join the Imperial Mailing List - Online Car Club