Carburetor Conversion: 1983 Chrysler Imperial – Sold?

by | Nov 2022 | Classifinds, Malaise Monday

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December 4, 2022, Update – We confirmed the listing for this “Classifind” expired, so with no replacement found, we’re assuming this ride is “Sold?” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call us directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.

One of the first projects Lee Iaoccoca initiated when he took over leadership at Chrysler was to bring back the company’s storied Imperial brand.  The early 1980s Imperial was only available as a stunning two-door, rear-wheel-drive coupe. Among other technology that included an all-digital dashboard, Chrysler’s Electronics Division supplied Imperials with an innovative electronic fuel injection system developed following the conclusion of the Apollo Space Program. The space-age EFI design ended up being the Imperials Achilles Heal, as many owners complained the cars were hard to start and would stall out. Rumor has it that even Frank Sinatra’s version embarrassed its namesake by stalling out in public so much that he had Chrysler remove his special edition version and endorsement from all of the advertising. Consequently, Chrysler ended up reimbursing the cost to have owners convert their cars to a more reliable two-barrel carburetor setup.

This survivor-quality, 47K original mile 1983 Chrysler Imperial, once listed in November 2022 on Criagslist in Lake Zurich, Illinois (Chicago), features one of these dealer-installed carburetor conversions. The seller reports the dealer even affixed a door tag indicating the retrofit occurred when the car had just under 2,000 miles.  Additionally, the pictures posted indicate the car’s leather interior looks brand new, while the rest of this Imperial shows only minimal blemishes.

Once offered for $8,900, Classic.com, the analytics and search engine for the collector car market, confirms the ask is at the low end of this guide’s five-year summary for sixth-generation Chrysler Imperials produced between 1981 and 1983.  By clicking on the green dots in the graph below, you can navigate to each comparable car sold as a way to help you evaluate the price of the car featured here:

As a second data point, the  Collector Car Market Review Online Tool reveals the seller’s ask falls between this guide’s #2 Very Good” estimate of $8,100 and its #1 “Excellent” appraisal of $12,600.

Using part of the money received from Congress’ passage of the Chrysler Corporation Loan Guarantee Act of 1979, Lee Iacocca re-introduced the Imperial brand on the company’s traditional rear-wheel-drive, torsion bar front-, and leaf spring rear suspension J-body platform. Available only as a “premium personal luxury” two-door coupe, the Imperial featured a long hood capped with hidden headlights. At the rear, Chrysler designers incorporated a “bustle-back” style trunk similar, yet much cleaner, than what Cadillac’s Seville featured at the time.

Designed to provide the ultimate in luxury, Chrysler Imperial came standard with just about everything imaginable at the time: power everything, very deep pile carpeting, velvet upholstery, a futuristic-for-the-time fully electronic, vacuum florescent display dashboard, remote trunk release, cruise control, an integrated garage-door opener, air-conditioning, even a Mark Cross gift set complete with an umbrella was part of the package. Even the Chrysler Pentastar in the hood ornament, steering wheel, and B-Pillar were made of real Cartier crystal. The only two extra-cost options available were Mark Cross leather seats and a power moon roof.

The only engine available was an electronically fuel-injected, 140 hp version of Chrysler’s venerable 318 cubic inch V-8 mated to a three-speed, column-shifted Torqueflite automatic. Chrysler’s Electronics Division originally developed the fuel injection system following the conclusion of the Apollo Space Program. The space-age EFI design ended up being the car’s Achilles Heal, as many owners complained the cars were hard to start and would stall out. Rumor has it that even Frank Sinatra’s version embarrassed its namesake by stalling out in public so much that he had Chrysler remove his special edition version and his endorsement from all of the advertising. Consequently, Chrysler ended up reimbursing the cost to have owners convert their cars to a more reliable two-barrel carburetor setup.

The Classic Cars Today Online YouTube Channel provides this 1981 Chrysler Imperial commercial featuring background music and a cameo by Ole Blue Eyes himself:

With only 47,000 original miles and a documented dealer conversion of the EFI to a two-barrel carburetor at only 1,700 miles, this 1983 Chrysler Imperial for sale presents itself as a very nice survivor-quality ride that can be both shown and enjoyed.

Here’s the seller’s description:

“PLEASE INCLUDE YOUR phone # for a callback, no email or text responses
No one has seen this car yet, fair weather meet only

 

1983 Chrysler IMPERIAL last of the big MOPAR luxury cars b4 the K car era
Car was featured in movies(Sharky’s machine, Stick, Gumball Rally, Fast Furious etc) because of its unique styling, Lee Iaccoca’s first project
with Chrysler. Hi Tech for the time, Digital dash etc
I also like Cadillac s, but your getting more looks in this, more unique and a real cool guys car. The Imperial uses the bullet proof 318/5.2L Unlike the Cadillac goofball engines in the 80’s that were fried at 90k miles. I own a 82 Biaritz same color, does not get more looks.

PLEASE INCLUDE YOUR phone # for a callback, no email responses
Not interested in offers (( Last one on Ebay sold for 6800,it had Dull paint, cloth seats, bondo)) This car has the Mark Cross leather interior and Cartier crystal penta star badges. Money was spent,from paint, radio tape restore, NOS steering wheel etc. Not a restored car, but clean updated.

Rare to find in this low mileage only 47k miles , carb convert at 1,970miles tag on door

Not a sunbaked southern car or rustbelt car driven daily. INTERIOR is stunning, and no body rust

Super COLOR combo, Midnight Blue (Nightwatchman blue) you usually find these that have survived in a Granny color like Green, or beige.
Runs like new, drove 300 miles straight home, firm shifting transmission

Low miles AND the engine was re-sealed (gaskets perish in time) no leaks, and the oil pan is painted showing work

Everything works…. original radio restored at $350, Gas gauge always shows FULL, Lots of paperwork comes with the car, including sealed Chrysler music cassettes 2 photos are from last fall in the sun

Show or go: What would you do with this survivor-quality 1983 Chrysler Imperial?  Please comment below and let us know!

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