row-of-imperials-small picture

Imperial Home Page -> Imperial Registry -> Body styles


A Primer On Body Styles

Over the years, automobile body styles have been given all kinds of names. Their origin stems from the days of the horse drawn coaches, with modifications as the horseless carriage came of age. A lot of the names also have origins from the regions they were developed in; usually in Europe (i.e. Berlin and Landau - Germany, Sedan - France). In this link, we will see how these names describe a specific body style - and how losely some of them have been used of late by automotive manufacturers.

After the end of World War I, the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) developed a standard nomenclature for body styles. Below we will see what these were.

Phaeton

 
The phaeton is an open body with two fixed cross seats for four or five passengers. Sometimes there are folding seats in the tonneau for two additional passengers. The conventional body has four doors with a removable top and side curtains.

Roadster

 
An open type body, having a fixed cross seat for two passengers, and a space or compartment in the rear for luggage. Folding seats fitting into the luggage compartment are sometimes used. The conventional body has two doors, a folding top and removable side curtains.

Coupé

 
The coupé is an enclosed single compartment body with one fixed cross seat. This seat may be straight to accommodate two passengers, or staggered to accommodate three persons. The conventional body has two doors, and two movable glass windows on each side. The roof is permanent, and there is a luggage compartment at the rear.

Sedan

 
The sedan is an enclosed single compartment body with two fixed cross seats for four or five passengers. Folding seats in the tonneau for two additional passengers are sometimes used. The conventional body has four doors, but some models have only two. There are three movable glass windows on each side, and the roof is non-collapsible.

Berline

 
A berline is a body along the same description of the Sedan. The exception is that at the rear of the driver's seat, there is an enclosed two compartment body. Generally one glass window in the partition is made so that it can be moved horizontally or vertically.

Limousine

 
A partially enclosed body with a non-collapsible roof that extends the full length, and is attached to the front windshield. Only the partition up to the rear of the driver's seat is enclosed. The rear has a fixed cross seat for two passengers, and folding seats for two additional passengers. There are two doors, and two movable glass windows on each side.

Brougham

 
A body style similar to the limousine with the exception that the non-collapsible roof extends only over the portion of the body that is entirely enclosed. This body style is also known as the town car.

Cabriolet

 
A body similar to the brougham with the general characteristics of the landaulet (see below). The B pillar is designed to be collapsible or hinged. The roof is designed to be collapsible entirely or in sections - front or rear. All windows including the partition behind the driver's seat are collapsible in the event of top down driving. The rear has a fixed cross seat for two or three passengers, and folding seats for two additional passengers.

Landaulet

 
A body similar in appearance to the brougham, with the exception that the enclosed section is shorter, and the roof is collapsible up to the partition behind the driver's seat. There is one fixed cross seat for two or three passengers in the back. Only the doors have windows which are movable. Traditionally, the rear quarters are covered in fabric or leather, and outside joints support the roof (a.k.a landau bars). Like the cabriolet, the rear section of this body style is shorter than others, so there is no room for collapsible seats.

Sedan Landaulet

 
A body of the same proportions and description of the sedan, with the exception that the portion of the top behind the doors is collapsible.

Brougham Landaulet

 
A body of the same proportions as the Brougham but with a collapsible roof in the driver's compartment and the rear seat area.

The Munsters' Koach designed by George Barris for the 1960's TV series The Munsters is a Brougham Landaulet body.

Limousine Landaulet

 
The Limousine Landaulet bears the same dimensions as a limousine with the exception of the collapsible roof over the rear seat.

Berline Landaulet

 
The Berline Landaulet has the same resemblance of a Berline body with the exception of the collapsible roof over the rear seat.

Body Styles In The Context Of Chrysler Imperials

Here is a definition of the various body styles used by Imperials from 1926 through 1993.

2 Door Business Coupe

A single seat coupe. This style was used in the 1937 model year

2 Door Club Coupe
This style was shorter than a sedan, but with a full rear seat. This style was used in the 1951 and 1952 model years

2 Door Convertible
This style is the standard convertible, and was used for most years that had a convertible. The last 2 Door Convertible was in 1968

2 Door Coupe
This style is a 2 door car with a b pillar that extends from the floor to the roof. There may or may not be a door frame around the window glass. A coupe has less than 33 cubic feet of rear interior volume (more than 33 cubic feet or rear interior volume makes it a sedan). This style was used in many model years

2 Door Dietrich Coupe
This style was similar to the 2 Door Coupe, but was a custom body by Dietrich. This was only used in the 1929 model year

2 Door Hard Top
This style is a 2 door that has the b pillar that only extends to the top of the door, leaving the space from the top of the door to the roof unobstructed from the front to the rear of the car. This style was used in many model years

2 Door LeBaron Convertible
This style is similar to the 2 Door Convertible, but was a custom body by Lebaron. This was used in the 1932 model year

2 Door LeBaron Convertible Coupe
This style is similar to the 2 Door Convertible, but was a custom body by Lebaron. This was used in the 1931 model year

2 Door LeBaron Coupe
This style is similar to the 2 Door Coupe, but was a custom body by Lebaron. This was used in the 1931 and 1932 model years

2 Door LeBaron Roadster
This style is similar to the 2 Door Roadster, but was a custom body by Lebaron. This was used in the 1931 model year

2 Door Locke Custom Roadster
This style is similar to the 2 Door Roadster, but was a custom body by Locke. This was used in the 1929 model year

2 Door Roadster
This style is a 2 door convertible, with a single bench seat, and a luggage compartment in the rear deck. Roadsters, generally has a rumble seat that holds another 1-2 passengers. This style was used throughout the 20s and 30s

2 Door Sedan
This style is similar to the 2 Door Coupe, but a sedan has at least 33 cubic feet of rear interior volume, where as a coupe has less than 33 cubic feet. This style was only used with th 1975 Lebaron

2 Door Touring Brougham
The Touring style is an open style, longer than a phaeton, where the car was open from the top of the door to the roof, with no windows. Later there were detachable side screens and curtains. This style was used in the 1937 model year

4 Door Close Coupe Sedan 5 Passenger
This style was used in the 1931 model year

4 Door Convertible 5 Passenger
This style is a convertible with 4 door, This style was used in the 30s.

4 Door Deluxe Sedan
This style has 4 doors, and a b pillar that extends from the floor to the roof. I don't know the differences between the sedan and the deluxe sedan. This style was only used in the 1950 model year

4 Door Dual Cowl Phaeton
This style is similar to a phaeton, but there are 2 cowls (windshields), one at the front for the driver, and one behind the driver for the passengers. This style was used in the 1931 model year

4 Door Hard Top
This style has 4 doors, and the b pillar only extends to the top of the doors, with no door frame around the side windows. This style was used in most years starting in the 1951 model year

4 Door LeBaron Convertible
This style is similar to the 4 Door Convertible, but was a custom body by Lebaron. This was used in the 1932 model year

4 Door LeBaron Dual Cowl Phaeton
This style is similar to the Dual Cowl Phaeton, but was a custom body by Lebaron. This was used in the 1932 model year

4 Door LeBaron Limousine 7 Passenger
This style is a 7 Passenger Limousine with a custom body by Lebaron. This was used in the 1932 model year

4 Door LeBaron Sedan
This style is similar to the 4 Door Sedan, but was a custom body by Lebaron. This was used in the 1932 model year

4 Door Limousine
This style was intended to be chauffer driven. The limousine style generally had a divider window (or some other means to isolate the passenger area from the driver). In general Limousines are longer than the standard cars all the extra space being used in the rear for the passengers. Limousines are generally for 8 passengers. This style was used in most model year

4 Door Limousine 6 Passenger
This style is similar to the limousine, but for 6 passengers

4 Door Limousine Sedan 7 Passenger
This style is similar to the limousine, but for 7 passengers

4 Door Locke Convertible Sedan
This style is similar to the 4 Door Convertible, but with a custom body by Locke. This style was used in 1929

4 Door Locke Sport Phaeton
This style is similar to the Phaeton, but with a custom body by Locke. This style was used in 1929

4 Door Phaeton
This style is a 4 door convertible with doors, but no door glass, hence from the windshield to the back of the top it is open. This style was used in the 1920s, and sporadically until 1940 the model year

4 Door Sedan
This style is a 4 door, with a b pillar that extends from the floor to the roof. This style generally held 6 passengers, and was used in many years.

4 Door Sedan 5 Passenger
This style is similar to a 4 Door Sedan, but held 5 passengers, this style was used in the 1930s

4 Door Sedan 7 Passenger
This style is similar to a 4 Door Sedan or a limousine, it held 7 passengers, but there may or may not be a divider between passenger and driver area. this style was used in the 1920s and 1930s

4 Door Sedan 7 Passenger Laundaulet
A Laudaulet is a style with an open drivers area, and an enclosed passenger area with one cross seat and (the look of) a collapsible roof (the roof may or may not actually be collapsible). This style was used in 1926

4 Door Sedan 8 Passenger
This style is similar to a 4 Door Sedan or a limousine, it held 8 passengers, but there may or may not be a divider between passenger and driver area. this style was used from the 1940s through the 1970s

4 Door Town Car 7 Passenger
This style is generally a limousine with an enclosed passenger compartment and an open (or convertible/transformable) driver area, it held 7 passengers

4 Door Town Sedan 5 Passenger
This style is similar to a 4 Door Sedan or a limousine, it held 5 passengers

4 Door Town Sedan 6 Passenger
This style is similar to a 4 Door Sedan or a limousine, it held 6 passengers

4 Door Town Sedan 7 Passenger
This style is similar to a 4 Door Sedan or a limousine, it held 7 passengers

Chasis
This is just a bare chasis (generally, the frame, running gear, driver train, and maybe the front fenders/grill or the whole front end). These were generally sold to put custom coachwork on.

Custom Coachwork
This is for custom coachwork not defined above

Town Limo
This style was used in the 1954 model year

If you find any inaccuracies in the above descriptions, or if you have better descriptions for the styles, please contact us so that we can get this information updated.


This page was last updated .   Send us your feedback, and join the Imperial Mailing List online car club today!


donationbanner picture