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John Griffith's 1970 Imperial Crown Coupe

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This is a story of a car that truly doesn't want to die. I am only 27 years old and have never really been a big land yacht fan. I have always loved the 1970 300 Hurst body style. I have known what Imperials are since 1997 when my grandfathers neighbor was selling his 1964 Crown Coupe. I wanted that car but my dad hated MOPARs so I had to give up on it. Now back to 2007. As I was going to my local MOPAR salvage yard as I do almost once a month, they told me that there was a couple of new cars out back that might have parts for some of the other MOPARs that I have. As I walked out back I didn't even see the 2 Imperials they got in. I was looking at the 1964 Impala 2dr instead. I know that's wrong but I like to look at all cars. After I finished looking at the impala I was shocked to see 2 Imperial 2 drs. On closer inspection I found out the first one was a 1970 LeBaron 2dr that had some rust in the roof fenders and quarters. Someone had put a pop up sunroof and cb in it. The car was the light yellow with tan top and leather interior. The second one caught my attention. It was painted a hideous shade of green and had no rust. After seening this green I decided to name it Sprout after Sprout from the Jolly Green Giant commercials. After seeing one without the top all I could think of was how much it looks like the Hurst from the side. I looked over the car and found it was a 1970 Crown Coupe and only had 8986 original miles. I asked how much for the green one and I took it home for $1000.

Once I got it home I opened the trunk and found the build sheet staring me right in the face. It was hanging by a piece of tape from the back seet. I started to decode everything and found out it is only one of 254. I had no idea it was so rare when I bought it. It was originally EF9 dark emerald green with the painted stripes. Cloth power bench seat, dual outside mirrors, am/fm search tune and head lamp sentinel system. The only thing missing was the radio and the knob on the dash for the sentinel(all of which has been replaced). I fell in love with this car from the very beginning. I love the fact that it has the large rear window. I am not a huge fan of the formal top.

The reason it wound up in the salvage yard was that the previous owner died and the family didn't want the cars.

Someone had tried doing a paint job a long time ago and never finished putting the car back together. all the trim was off and the front and rear glass were just sitting in the openings. After decoding everything I tried to get it started. It still had the original spark plug wires, coil and voltage regulator. After replacing these the car still wouldn't start. After having a friend come over that is a mechanic look at it he determined that the cam was wiped. I replaced the cam on Memorial day 2007 as the neighbors were having a cook out. As soon as I cranked the car It had a huge backfire that sounded like an M80 going off. Needless to say the party stopped briefly as it scarred them.

I drove the car until 2008 but it had a hesitation that I couldn't get rid of so I sent the car back to B+B salvage to have the car tuned( they are also a mechanical shop). I also found out I needed rotors and tie rods. I couldn't find any new rotors anywhere so I had to get used. The only place that had them was in California and cost me $700. The tie rods were hard to find as well but you got to love E-Bay. It took them 4 months to do the car due to the cold rainy days and locating of parts. I got it back March of 2009 as they wanted to tune the car on a warm day.

I decided to give the car a sprucing up while it was in the shop. I got the bumpers off the 1970 4 dr Lebarron that they had and had them re chromed. I picked up the parts at Spring Carlisle 2009 so the resto could begin. I determined the car in about 2 days. Boy those bumpers are HEAVY. I found a perfect set of fenders and trunk lid. After pulling the glass I found a small hole in the lower right corner of the front glass. It took me about 1 week to block the car and make sure all my panels were aligned properly. I took the car to work and painted it on a Saturday in May. It took about 7 hours to tape the jambs and paint it .I had the car back together in about 2 days. All of this I did myself. I had a hard time finding the front windshield as it is the one with the antenna in the glass but I found one from Murray Park. I also found out that the 2dr rear bumper end caps are different from the 2dr end caps. I didn't want to stop and wait to have the 2dr ones re chromed so I painted the originals so I could drive it while I send the 3rd set out to be redone. If anyone needs 4dr rear bumper end caps I have them.

The car was looking and running good. I loaded Sprout on the trailer to go to Carlisle in July. After I unloaded and was backing into the parking spot at the hotel on Thursday the car died. I replaced the carb, coil, fuel filter, and put electronic ignition on in the parking lot. The car still wouldn't start. I never was able to get the car to the show. After hours of tinkering and countless ideas we determined that the cam bolt backed off. I was able to get the car back on the trailer and home in one piece. I took the engine apart and sure enough the bolt was loose. When I replaced the cam back in 2007 I never put locktite on the threads. I learned my lesson. I finally got he car running again at the end of October. I have had the car over 2 years and have only put 900 miles on it. Now that the car runs again I can finally enjoy driving it.

This page was last updated 25 November 2009.  Send us your feedback, and come join the Imperial Mailing List - Online Car Club