Kerry's 1957 Imperial Restoration - part 8

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You ain't gonna believe this!

Got a call this afternoon from my parts guy telling me the brake shoes were in. I drove in a downpour to pick them up and leave my cores. When I looked the new Raybestos shoes I realized that they had not a lot more pad than the new ones. Apparently Imperial brake shoes do not have the 1/4 to 5/16 of material I'm used to seeing. I went ahead and left my old shoes but think I'll go back and get them. The new shoes were $75 and the cores would be $24 if I want to keep them.

I drove across town to the other parts store to pick up the rear wheel seals that also have come in. It was rush hour and I decided to take a side street through a residential area. Driving up the street in a hard rain, I saw out of the corner of my eye something that make me slam on my brakes. It was a dark green 57 IMPERIAL!

Rain or not, I backed up and pulled into the driveway. The car was gorgeous! Knocking on the door, I waited for the owner of the barking dog to make his way to the door. The man who opened it was in his 60's with a full head of white hair and a matching beard. I said, "Hi, my name's Kerry Pinkerton and I have one of those", pointing at the Imperial. He asked me in. The first thing I noticed was a odd intake manifold with 2x4s on an end table, the parts and car books covered the coffee table and in the corner was an upholstery sewing machine. I said, "You must be a car guy?" He replied, "Well, I'm a Mopar car guy."

To make a very long story short. We talked for about 2 hours, I never made it to the parts store. Here is why. This man, Ray Hickey, was the guy who sold my car to Jerry Baker, the young man I had bought it from. Talk about a small world. Huntsville is not a huge city, about 250,000, but the odds of this are PRETTY high!

Ray, told me all about my car. Several years ago, he had DRIVEN his AIRFLOW(!!!) to a car show in Tennessee and left it there while he went to an estate auction nearby. At the auction were two Imperials. Another man in a nearby town bought both of them. One was loaded but had a high performance 383 in it. The other was stripped but had the 392 (this is the car I have now) He kept them for several years and sold them to a man in Huntsville who got the 392 running and drove it around. A divorce made him move to Colorado and rather than move the Imperials he stashed them at a friends restoration shop. Ray Hickey heard about it and sent word to the owner that he would be interested at the right price. He gave $2500 for both of them!

A year or so later Jerry Baker called him and said he was looking for a finned Chrysler. A deal was made contingent on Jerry taking some other car and pulling the Hemi for Ray to keep. Ray has since installed the Hemi in it his Imperial and completed the restoration. It is not a stock color or upholstery but it looks GREAT. We are going for a ride soon.

I told Ray what I had bought and where I was in the restoration. One comment he made was, "Your car should have had pretty good brakes..." which supported the conclusion I had made when I saw the new shoes. When I told him about my 440 and newer torqueflight and my wishes to use a pushbutton, he also was not sure if the older models would fit but thinks they will. Then he offered me a 63 model pushbutton torqueflight and torque converter that he believes were rebuilt for $100.00!!!!! While my jaw was dropped, he added, and if it turns out not to fit or not to have been rebuilt, I'll give you your money back.

Obviously, I stuck out my hand and shook on it.

It was getting dark and he wanted to show me some of his stuff. In addition to the Airflow, he has a 63 Imp, the 67 that he wants to sell (see the message I posted earlier 1/7/97) and a 56 300 Hemi with factory 2 fours. A man after my own heart!

I'm going back tomorrow to get the transmission. He also loaned me a 58 Imperial shop manual to look over.

The shop manual showed me that there are INNER and OUTER rear seals on the axle. I'm so glad I know that because the one axle that comes out DOES NOT HAVE AN INNER SEAL and I would not have put one in. Now I will have to pull the other axle, and find the inner seals.....

What an interesting day.....

Next Chapter...


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