RESEARCH Jay Leno shows off his all-original 1957 Imperial

Jay Leno shows off his all-original 1957 Imperial

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Cars may seem big today, but they were absolutely massive back in the day. Case in point is this early Imperial which was showcased on a recent episode of “Jay Leno’s Garage.”

It’s from 1957, which was the first year for the second-generation Imperial. Sure, there were many earlier Imperials, but these were Chryslers. Starting from 1955, Chrysler made Imperial its own brand and it lasted as a standalone brand right up until 1983.

Unlike many cars from the era, Leno’s Imperial is an all-original example. Yes, that’s the paint the car left the factory.

The engine is a Hemi 6.4-liter V-8, i.e. the hot-rodder’s favorite, and according to Leno’s it’s putting out around 325 horsepower.

Interestingly, this particular year for the Imperial saw the nameplate reach its zenith, at least in terms of sales. According to Leno, 36,000 of them were sold. It was well short of Cadillac’s sales tally of over 100,000 cars, but it was enough to edge out Lincoln which was a huge deal considering Imperial only a few years prior was still a Chrysler.

Imperial as a standalone brand was disbanded after 1983 but then Chrysler resurrected the name in the early ’90s for one of its own sedans. Chrysler also previewed a modern Imperial in 2006 with a concept, but the ensuing global financial crisis a few years later put an end to any chances of production happening.

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