1969 Imperial LeBaron
2dr Hardtop Coupe
8-cyl. 440cid/350hp 4bbl
With an experienced team and a lot of data.
The Imperial Crown received a bodywork update for 1969, smoothing and rounding the sharp edges of the middle-1960s design in favor of Chrysler’s new “fuselage” styling. The headlights were hidden behind the grillework, flipping around when in use.
Imperials came as four-door sedans or as two- or four-door hardtops, and a LeBaron trim option on hardtop models offered a vinyl-covered rood and upgraded interior.
The engine for the 1969 Imperial was a 440-cid V-8 with 350 horsepower. The only available transmission was a 3-speed TorqueFlite automatic.
Almost all of the roughly 22,000 Imperials produced in 1969 came with a vinyl-covered top, while the optional bucket seats were only ordered on 12% of the cars, making it a desirable configuration today. More than 19,000 of the cars produced were hardtops with the LeBaron package, and just 1,617 sedans were made.
For 1970, production dropped to about 12,000 Imperials, and the sedan was dropped altogether. Four-door hardtops accounted for 9,759 cars, and 2,057 were two-door hardtops. Engine and transmission configuration remained the same, and only minor bodywork changes were made.
1971 was significant for Imperial because it marked the first time since the 1950s that the name “Chrysler” appeared on the car. Instead of “Imperial” on the trunk lid, the 1971 badge read “Imperial by Chrysler.” The 1971 Imperial also included the first offering of four-wheel anti-lock brakes on any car made in America. The system was optional, produced by Bendix, and not many were ordered.
Finally the Imperial Crown line, which had dwindled to about 10% of production, was dropped – all 1971 Imperials were LeBarons. Engine power from the 440 V-8 dropped to 335 horsepower.
Imperials during this era were the largest non-limousine models made in America, and for fans of full-size cars of this age, they are hard to beat. Options such as a tow package and limited-slip differential were available, and would increase a potential car’s attractiveness for restoration.