Diagnosis and Repair Issues Concerning Your Imperial's Ignition Keys


Imperial Home Page -> Repair -> Electrical System -> Ignition -> Keys

Question from Dave:

Is it possible to reconfigure a new ignition switch to the original key?  I had too replace the switch in our L/B a few years ago, & wanted to keep the original key. 


From Mark:

Any locksmith should do it for you. I had both my last Crown and my Polara done. Still need to do the "new" one though.

From Don:

I've rekeyed all my ignition switches, door locks, and trunk locks of my '65 Dart GT convert, '65 Coronet 400 convert, and '69 A108 cargo van to use the same key as my '81 Imperial (original keys). Takes time and some patience (and a lot of spare switches to get enough of the little cylinders that go into each switch.

From Dick:

If the key blank has the same groove setup, the lock can be made to fit it.

From Paul:

If I am not mistaken, I think the original lock cylinder can be removed from the old switch and put on the new switch. I had to do the same to my '60 LeBaron 20 years ago.

Question from Tony (1956):

Does anyone know where I can get key blanks for a '56 Imperial.


From Tony:


He has the key blanks, but not with the crown on them.

From Ron:

Try this source! ....... Jesser's Classic Keys

Question from Clay (1960):

Would anyone know what a factory '60 Imperial ignition key would look like? Mine is square with a three tiered with a crown on the key face, set over a cross hatch type background. Though it looks nice it doesn't seem original


From Dave:

I still have the factory keys they are as follows, the ignition key on mine has a single crown with the cross hatch in the background this is the same on both sides. the trunk / glove box key is just a plain Yale key, this has written on it The Yale & Town Manufacturing Co. The keys are pretty well worn & now only show the gold plate in their recessed areas.

From Paul:

I have both sets of factory keys for one of my '60s and one set for the other. The original keys are as Dave has described gold in color with a cross hatch and a Crown. The trunk key has the same design only it has a round top. I believe that they looked like this through 1963, and maybe '64. I have one key like this for my '63 Crown. My '65 came with one of its original keys also, but it has the Chrysler Pentastar.

Follow-up from Clay:

I must have an original ignition key. What you described is the same as mine. As an interesting side note my trunk key has what looks to be the Desoto "D" on one side of its face, with a crusaders era helmet on its other side. Given the previous owner was a long time service writer for a Chrysler dealership, perhaps it is a Desoto key.

Reply from Roger:

I'm looking at a NOS '57-'58 Dodge trunk key, which is round, has alternating horizontal stripes and solids, a "D" on one side and a "lancer" helmet on the other. The '58 DeSoto trunk key is also round, has "DE SOTO" on one side and the DeSoto crest on the other.

Also have a '59 Chrysler NOS key, the handle is shaped like a shield; it has a "C" and three crowns on one side and a lion, shield with three crowns on the other.

The reason I mention this is that apparently the blanks are the same for most/all Chrysler Corp. cars of a particular year in the mid- to late-'50's.

I would suspect that the "Yale" key is a replacement. I've never seen a factory key without corporate logo. The standard issue key in the '50's was an octagon for the driver's and a triangle for the trunk, each marked DPCD for Dodge, Plymouth, Chrysler DeSoto. The original owner was issued one brass set and one aluminum set.

Question from (1963):

Until recently,when I turn the key, it would go to the extreme right side before the car would start. Now it's worse. The key still goes over to the extreme right but nothing works. It now feels like something inside gave way because the key is nearly turning freely. I would appreciate any comments.


From Chris:

Your lock cylinder has come loose and is rotating in its dash mount. Take the escutcheon off that encircles the keyhole - the escutcheon should unscrew with 2 slots on the outside edge. Behind the escutcheon is a large flat nut around the lock cylinder. Just seat the cylinder - there is an aligning slot - and tighten. You should be fine after that.

From Mark:

Broken ignition switch. Luckily, they're pretty available. Check out the parts section on IML.

From John:

It sounds as though the nut that holds the switch is loose. I had that happen a couple of times on 63's. You need to remove the chrome bezel around the switch, then carefully remove the plastic piece & the E. L. panel behind it. Be extremly careful with that piece, as it has a wire attached to it & is a bit delicate. You don't want to disturb the lighting. Once this is pulled out. you should see that the ignition has slid out of the notch & the whole thing is turning freely. Rotate the ignition till it lines up in its notch & snug the nut. Carefully reasemble in reverse order.

Question from Brian (1963):

Anyone know where I can get the key codes for a '63 crown?

Reply from Rollin:

If I remember correctly, the key code was sometimes found on the lock cylinder in the door. If you can't find it there, you will have to decode it by taking the door cylinder apart and decoding each of the five numbers. OR measure the keys and use a decoding book. There are about 3000 different numbers.

Question from Dave (1968):

What style ignition key was used for 1968? Was it the square-headed kind used in '67, or the Pentastar head used both earlier and later?


From Ross:

I have the original keys for my '68 sedan, and the ignition key is the "square" type with the Chrysler Corp. logo on it. I vaguely remember that my '70 Crown Coupe had the Pentastar style keys, and one set was gold plated. I would like to find a blank set for the '68, as I only got one set with the car, so the extra set I had made is the newer design.

From Brian:

I see the '67, '68 style key blanks on Ebay every so often. The square key was used in '67 and '68 only. '69 and up was the Pentastar keys. I found some at a local locksmith after all the hardware stores just looked at me funny.

This page last updated April 28, 2004.  Send us your feedback, and come join the Imperial Mailing List - Online Car Club