1968 Imperial LeBaron
4dr Hardtop Sedan
8-cyl. 440cid/350hp 4bbl
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After three years of Elwood Engel’s Lincoln-esque Imperial design, complete with faux spare cover on the trunk, the Imperial was completely redesigned for 1967. The new car was three inches shorter and much squarer than the preceding model, looking like the rest of the Chrysler family. The cars now had a unibody construction, the model name was spelled out across the grille, and there were two full-length ribs protecting the side panels, with a chrome strip in between. Rear fenders were integrated into the bumpers, and the full-width taillights featured an Imperial eagle in the center. The engine was a 350-hp 440-cid V-8.
Sales rebounded from 13,742 in 1966 to 17,614 in 1967. It wasn’t much by Cadillac standards, but Imperials always appealed to a discriminating buyer. There were three Imperial models in 1967: the Imperial four-door sedan and convertible, the two- and four-door hardtop Imperial Crowns, and the Imperial LeBaron—a one-model series of four-door hardtop with a formal roofline. The Crown four-door hardtop was a top seller with 9,415 examples, while the convertible was rarest with 577 sold.
The base Imperial line was dropped for 1968, but the sedan and convertible were included in the Crown Imperial series. Changes were minor. The grille had an eagle in the center and was redesigned into two huge castings; and the trim across the side panels was now carried on the lower ribs. Side marker lights were added. Most cars had vinyl tops and all power accessories.
Total sales for 1968 were 15,361, with the Crown four-door hardtop leading the way with 8,492 examples. The convertible found only 474 buyers, making it one of the rarest convertible models—this would be the last year for an Imperial convertible. The formal Imperial LeBaron four-door hardtop registered 1,852 sales, slightly fewer than the year before.
The boxy 1967 and 1968 Imperial was replaced by the “fuselage” design for 1969, which was made through 1973. These cars are recognized as excellent highway cruisers and a fair number still survive. Almost all have every power option, with 97.2 percent having air conditioning. Original owners also tended to hold on to these cars for long stretches of time, pampering them in the process, so good examples are relatively easy to locate today. Trim pieces, on the other hand, are difficult to source and the 1968 grille in particular is both fragile and complicated. Prices are quite reasonable considering these were limited production, and the very last Imperial convertibles to be made.