In 1955, the Chrysler Corporation's Imperial model stepped into the modern world with a complete redesign as its own brand. Up to 1954, these top-of-the-line cars were designated “Chrysler Imperial,” but for 1955 they simply became “Imperial.” Visually, the bulging rear fenders held over from 1940s styling cues were gone, replaced by a sleek 1950s-era design with long chrome side spears and a bold split grille. Unique “gunsight” taillights were mounted atop the rear fenders.
The Imperial was available as a two-door hardtop or a four-door sedan, and tipped the scales at a massive 4500 pounds with a 130-inch wheelbase. A 331.1-cid Chrysler Hemi V-8 engine produced 250 horsepower and was mated to Chrysler’s two-speed PowerFlite automatic transmission.
Power steering and power brakes were standard, along with leather upholstery. Available options included only air conditioning, power windows, and the first-ever signal-seeking all-transistor radio.
For 1956, a four-door hardtop was added to the line, but major styling changes were few. More chrome was added to the side spears. The Hemi engine was upgraded to 353.1 cubic inches and 280 horsepower. The new three-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission was introduced mid-year, and a power seat was added as standard equipment.
during this generation, 11,430 Imperials were made in 1955 and 10,268 in 1956. Of these, 5,512 were two-door hardtops, 1,543 were four-door hardtops, and the balance were four-door sedans. Collectors will want to gravitate towards the 2,094 two-door hardtops or the four-door hardtops of 1956, especially those with the later TorqueFlite automatic. However, with only a few differences available between cars, condition should be the primary decision factor.