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Technical 55 Chrysler Imperial

Discussion in 'Traditional Customs' started by Acleveland38, Mar 28, 2017.

  1. Acleveland38
    Joined: Mar 28, 2017
    Posts: 14

    Acleveland38
    Member
    from Athens, AL

    Hey guys my names Andrew. Been looking thru all the threads and there's all kinds of great ideas and advice floating around here. I figured Id sign up and get a few opinions on what my best route would be for my car. I just picked up this 55 Chrysler Imperial to be my first all out custom car. I picked the Imperial because I had honestly never seen one and I believed this to have a lot more character than the more normal build. I have always been a fan of the lead sled cars I figured I'd give it a go with this massive car. The floor boards, rockers, and trunk are completely shot so its a perfect candidate for my project in my opinion as the rest of the body has no serious rust. As for my plans I am looking to go all out with this with sectioning, chop, bagged, and body drop. I am wanting to slim it down a bit and have the ability to lay this thing out from front to back. I have worked in auto repair for a few years and worked with sectioning quarters together and such as that so I'm pretty competent in that area. The first topic I want to throw on the table is the sectioning. As I said I will be building a custom 1x1 floor in this car (inside of car will not be stock as I did not receive any interior with car), so i plan on removing 3" out of the bottom section of doors between the wheel wells to even the bottom line on the car out with the front and rear bumpers. Again this is so it will lay all the way out. So my question being is there anything stopping me from using a 2x6 tubing as my rockers and chopping the rockers off at about 4" up from the bottom? Im talking doors and all. Here's a pic of my car to reference with area in question outlined. Thanks guys I'm happy to finally be part of the HAMB.


    fdg.jpg
     
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  2. scotts52
    Joined: Apr 7, 2008
    Posts: 2,514

    scotts52
    Member

    Out of curiosity, since you're going to all that work, have you considered making it into a two door and fashioning it to look kinda like the 300?
     
  3. manyolcars
    Joined: Mar 30, 2001
    Posts: 8,750

    manyolcars

    No manufacturer ever found it necessary to add all the weight of 1"X1" square tubing for floor. Just do it right so the next owner wont have to cut that out and fix it..
     
  4. Acleveland38
    Joined: Mar 28, 2017
    Posts: 14

    Acleveland38
    Member
    from Athens, AL

    I haven't considered that, would be neat to do but I am wanting to avoid having to do frame customization at the moment anyways unless it gets in the way of my ideas as far as the bags are concerned.

    The 1x1 I was referring to was for framing the floor not as a whole floor. Would just say maybe 14 guage sheet metal be sufficient as floor pan by its self welded directly to body?
     

  5. Acleveland38
    Joined: Mar 28, 2017
    Posts: 14

    Acleveland38
    Member
    from Athens, AL

    A quick paintochop for visual reference as to what I am aiming for.
    door trim.jpg
     
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  6. NAES
    Joined: Dec 24, 2008
    Posts: 491

    NAES
    Member

    I would think sectioning the rear quarters and bringing them and the bumper down would be easier to do and look somewhat factory. Chopping the bottoms of the rockers and doors and losing the rocker molding doesn't seem as though it would look right.

    Sent from my SM-N910V using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
  7. Acleveland38
    Joined: Mar 28, 2017
    Posts: 14

    Acleveland38
    Member
    from Athens, AL

    I figured that would be the easy way out her too but my real issue with the sectioning is the front haven't been able to figure out a way around the grill and the headlights.

    20170328_184114.jpg
     
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  8. 006.JPG COOL car. Almost looks like mine .I think mine sits low enough though. LOL .Bruce.
     
  9. Unless you have great skills and the patience of a saint... make it look like Bruce's '56.
     
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  10. d2_willys
    Joined: Sep 8, 2007
    Posts: 4,224

    d2_willys
    Member
    from Kansas

    At least keep the tail lights!
     
    Acleveland38 likes this.
  11. Hnstray
    Joined: Aug 23, 2009
    Posts: 12,326

    Hnstray
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Quincy, IL

    I first read the OP's post when there were no replies. I resisted commenting because, based on the OP's stated intentions, I had nothing encouraging to offer. But, since others have posted with cautionary comments, I will 'pile on'.

    As a solely practical consideration, the top chop you propose is the most difficult operation to pull off. Primarily because of the curved windshield and back glass. The four doors add to the difficulty as well. The windshield COULD be cut, with ample skill and lots of luck, it is laminated safety glass, but the rear window is tempered glass and cannot be cut without shattering. Laying the window forward to keep from cutting it is complicated by the rear doors.

    Beyond those practical considerations is the matter of the resulting proportions. While almost all discussions of what 'looks good' are a matter of opinion, the fact is there are shapes, proportions, scale, etc. that find wide spread approval and others that are considered something 'only a mother could love'.

    Why anyone finds the idea of 'laying frame' as an attractive attribute will forever escape my comprehension, but that is the most attainable of your goals, along with restoration of the rocker sills and floor panels of course.

    The '55 Chrysler, and Imperial models in particular, were kinda the high point of Virgil Exner's Baroque styling tendency. It is, in my opinion, worthy of being maintained mostly intact as an example of 'period styling'. Paint and upholstery choices offer a lot of latitude for creative expression.

    In the interest of full disclosure of my bias, I am a long time owner of a '55 Chrysler Hardtop.

    Ray
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2017
  12. 1936dodge
    Joined: Jul 26, 2015
    Posts: 41

    1936dodge

    I would also leave body mainly stock with mild changes.A lot of cars get started and never finished.I know from experience.Also am a Mopar guy.

    Sent from my XT1254 using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
    Bruce Fischer likes this.
  13. philo426
    Joined: Sep 20, 2007
    Posts: 2,097

    philo426
    Member

    Your car and you do what you want....but I think turning it into a two door would be a great exercise and skill building experience without having the complications of cutting the front and rear glass.Good looking car with a lot of potential.
     
    Acleveland38 likes this.
  14. But with paint. Mines going to be metallic grey. Bruce.
     
  15. I drew this seketch for Bruce. I'll re post it for you.I think they are great looking cars. The one way to gain space in the front, is to lose the bumper. And then make a thin pan with nerfs. But I think you can make a cool ride, without so much work. Sometimes less is more. I do like the chop, though. Good luck Ron... 2235.jpg
     
  16. Acleveland38
    Joined: Mar 28, 2017
    Posts: 14

    Acleveland38
    Member
    from Athens, AL

    Thanks for all the replys guys.

    This has been my main area of concern when it comes to the chop. It was at the bottom of my list to be done for these very reasons. Are there aftermarket glass available that is not tempered?

    As philo said I am mainly wanting the experience of being able to make as I like. I have always wanted to venture into a full custom car. I have built many cars and bikes in my life but when it came to my vintage cars I was always co-owner with my dad and was very restricted in freedom when it came time to get out the cut off wheel. lol

    Ron that drawing is awesome I wish I had the ability to draw. :cool:

    Haha I have ample amounts of patience and am excited about having a project to come home to.
     
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  17. Ron .I will be happy once I get the old girl painted and NOTHING falls off going down the road. LOL. Now I am thinking maybe a white roof and a metallic gray for the rest of the body.What do you think? Bruce.
     
  18. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,617

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    I understand what you are trying to do, more or less. You have some good ideas.

    My suggestion is, you restore the floors and rocker panels more or less stock, and get it on the road. Lower it a couple of inches. Then, go to work on the paint job. There is a lot you can do with color to lower a car visually. Look at the wild 2 tone and 3 tone paint jobs coming out of Detroit in the mid fifties, especially Packards.

    Your Imperial is already long, low and distinctively styled for a 55. When I look at the body proportions I don't even think it needs to be chopped. Compare to lesser Chryslers and other cars, the Imperial has similar lines but longer doors and fenders and looks low because it is longer. Even the factory chrome is cool looking.

    Get it on the road and out where you can stand back and look at it in different settings before you make up your mind what you need. Back in the day, by 1955 they weren't doing major body mods very often because the cars were already so low and sleek, compared to what they had been 5 or 10 years earlier.
     
    Hnstray likes this.
  19. What does the frame do in relation to the rockers?
     
  20. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,617

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    Back in the day they used to put Cadillac tail lights on Chevs and Packard tail lights on Fords, DeSoto grilles and Buick side trim on Mercuries to give them more class. Notice they were always taking parts off luxury makes and sticking them on cheaper cars.

    With an Imperial you can't do that, you already have the best quality most expensive parts. I notice the "microphone" tail light is missing off yours. I think the car looks better without it. I might smooth off the eagle and emblem on the nose too. Other than that, it is a hard car to improve.
     
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  21. Definitely go slow with the mods. Get it running and driving, always a good motivator to work on something that runs.
     
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  22. Acleveland38
    Joined: Mar 28, 2017
    Posts: 14

    Acleveland38
    Member
    from Athens, AL

    Thanks for the info. I will look into the paint as thats the only thing I would like to job out on this, tried it before with little success. The taillights are the only chrome missing on the car I have some taken off, I have a split opinion on them may come down to avaibility when the time comes for that part. My plans as of now are to retain all of the factory chrome on the car as thats something I personally love about old cars is the amount of character it brings to the car. I have found a picture of a Belair that has the rockers done as I am asking about to lay out nice, and no my Imperial will not be sporting a roof rack. Lol
    Screenshot_2017-03-29-18-11-29.png
     
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  23. sawbuck
    Joined: Oct 14, 2006
    Posts: 1,904

    sawbuck
    Member
    from 06492 ct

    your dad is a wise man...
     
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  24. Acleveland38
    Joined: Mar 28, 2017
    Posts: 14

    Acleveland38
    Member
    from Athens, AL

    @sawbuck My dads got a 60 Rambler American 2 Door that is going to rust away to dust because he wont let anybody touch it. I love that car, got it when I was 14 in the same condition the Imperial is in and I threw some new floors in it and fuel cell. I have kept it running tho every now and then I throw some new ballast on it and start it up. Havent touched it in 8 years because he gets mad at me but started it up the other day old flathead still runs like a champ. Some may say hes smart I say let the past live on cars are rolling art and bring happiness to all that see them they should not rot. I'm super excited about getting this thing back to life its been rotting in the woods since 1988, maybe a better life for the car...but to each his own. It may not be the traditional custom but everytime I get in it and drive it down the road I'll feel nostalgic and be reminded that theres still good in this world just as there was in the past. Which I didnt get to witness. 20160911_160455.jpg :D
     
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  25. I've always believed the act of customizing a car was to improve it. In my opinion, any of the things you want to do will not improve it's looks. It's already been said the car is long and low...the length giving the impression of it being even lower. I'd prolly lower it a little more because I believe it would improve it's looks. Chopping it's top, slicing off it's rockers, and especially sectioning that car would not make it look better in my eye....squashed is more like it. If you can get mister Moose [has a photo shopping thread going] to do your changes in cyber land, you'd get a better idea of how your changes would look...
     
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  26. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,617

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    The Imperial was Chrysler's top car with the big Hemi V8. They used the same engine, and grille, in the Chrysler 300 hardtop first car with 300HP and a 127.58 MPH top speed (officially timed at Daytona Beach). The Imperial wasn't that fast but was plenty fast at over 100MPH and very luxurious.

    If your car still has the Hemi engine I wouldn't worry about the tail lights too much.

    What I am trying to say is, in stock condition the 55 Imperial has plenty of moxie for today's road conditions. Even the brakes, a weak point on many fifties cars, were state of the art for the times and work very well if in good repair and set up right. All you need to do is go over it and put everything back in shape.

    Do you have any plans for the interior?
     
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  27. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,617

    Rusty O'Toole
    Member

    I keep looking at the pictures and trying to figure out how you can slim down the rocker panels. And, I keep thinking the way the chrome outlines the wheel wells and runs right from the front to the back of the car really makes it look slimmer. Your idea of shortening the doors and raising the rocker panels could work, but would be a lot of work for not much difference in appearance. The 58 Chev is a different animal, shorter with a blockier silhouette.

    The more I look at the pictures the more I like the rear fender line without the stock tail lights. How about some small tail lights tucked inboard of the fins just above the back bumper? Maybe something like these 50 Pontiac blinkers? Those mirrors should go, they spoil the sweep of the fender line.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2017
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  28. Acleveland38
    Joined: Mar 28, 2017
    Posts: 14

    Acleveland38
    Member
    from Athens, AL

    @Rusty O'Toole Sadly the car doesn't have the hemi in it. The guy that I purchased it from bought it for the motor for his Model B rod hes building. The car had also had the dash removed at some point so the only existing interior is the door panels or whats left and the seats. The car is also 6v neg ground so I plan on trying to convert that and rewire the whole car as the wiring has been ate by an army of rats or squirrels. Carnivores at that!! Found a substantial pile of bones all over the car the previous owner consolidated them in front of the radiator. Lol Plus I know nothing about that type of electrical system so for side of road sake it will be converted. As for the taillights I like the simplicity of going with something as you suggested but worried about them looking out of place on such a rolly area of the body. I have always liked the late 50s chevrolet tails so I was kinda thinking about some Impala lights turned vertical and fin the rear fenders a bit as im sure they will be a bit tall, but they could fit too. Just an idea.
     

    Attached Files:

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  29. stanlow69
    Joined: Feb 21, 2010
    Posts: 6,523

    stanlow69
    Member

    Imperial was a stand alone company. Saying a Chrysler Imperial is like saying A 57 Ford Mercury.
     
  30. gene-koning
    Joined: Oct 28, 2016
    Posts: 3,112

    gene-koning
    Member

    The Imperial has a full frame. The bottom of the frame is the same height as the bottom of the rockers. cutting the rockers will only expose the frame. Channeling the body over the frame, once the rockers have been removed will be a huge challenge because there will be nothing between the A pillar and the C pillar at the rear wheels to attach the body to the frame. It all sounds like a lot of work for little results. If you really want to section the car, take a couple inches out just above the straight chrome strip, that might also solve the desire to cut the roof lower with all the issues involved with that.
    I might suggest you bag the suspension and get the car on the ground before you decide to cut the bottom of the car off.
    I also believe if to narrow the car, you will ruin its proportions. If you insist though, I believe you need to take the section out at the center of both grill sides, I don't see any one place to do it.
    Metal work is fun. Its easy to cut stuff up and remove pieces, it becomes much more difficult to put that cut up stuff back together with a smooth flow to it. There are lots of guys that have cut up car only to discover that truth. I suggest you only take on 1 major modification at a time, and follow it through to near completion before you start the next. gene
     
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