This page originally published in Fedrelandsvennen on 10 December 2001. MANY thanks to Hans Tore Tangerud for his help in translating the text of this story.
Addicted to Chrysler
American fullsize cars from the early seventies are as big as dinosaurs. The two door cars look especially extreme because of their long "unbroken" lines resulting in enormous rear fenders.
Rolf Skog (54) from Kristiansand, Norway, is the owner of a beautiful two door 1971 Imperial LeBaron. Only 1,442 two door Imperials were produced that year. Even in America this car turns heads. Skog, who loves American Chrysler products, bought this car from a friend who imported it from California in 2000.
The exterior dimensions on this car are extreme compared to contemporary European standards. It's 586 cm long, 201 cm wide, and weighs in at 2320 kg!
Imperial is an ultra luxurious car; therefore many people will think of this as a very quiet car. Not so, because it is equipped with the same engine that Chryslers used in their hot muscle cars. The engine is a big 7.2 litre V8 (440 cubic inches) that delivers 335 HP. No wonder it screams when you hammer your foot down on the accelerator! Don't misunderstand, this car is not noisy, but it makes a wonderful sound on acceleration.
It gets you addicted to American cars!
The fresh unrestored interior tells us that this car has been used with care, and that early owners most likely were aware that it was born to be a collectors item. It has only been driven 65,000 miles (104,000 km) in all these years.
Imperials were available with lots of options. Skog's Imperial has automatic climate control and all the power options. One unique feature is the radio antenna, which is mounted inside the windscreen. In addition, the steering wheel has tilt and telescope adjustments, while other cool options available were auto-dimming headlamps, headlamp wipers, power sunroof, and "Sure Brake" ABS brake system.
Hard core enthusiast: Rolf Skog has been addicted to American cars since he was a kid. He bought his first car when he was only 16 years old, and has owned American cars ever since (he is now 54 years old). He started with a 1949 Studebaker - after that (mistake :-)), he has been loyal to Chrysler.
He tells us that he may have a special disease, because every time he see an old Chrysler he gets a "need to own feeling."
In his garage there is another hot Chrysler: a 1969 Dodge Coronet 500 convertible that is undergoing a complete restoration. He estimates this car will be finished within two years.
Short history: Chrysler launched the Imperial as a brand in 1955. It was Chrysler's answer to Ford's luxurious Lincoln and General Motor's Cadillac. All Chrysler cars received new designs for 1955. The retooling process cost $100 million, which was a tremendous expense in the fifties, so in marketing the new cars, Chrysler used "The 100 Million Dollar Look" as an advertising slogan. And Chrysler sold a lot of cars! 1955 saw a total production of 189,727 Chrysler cars, of which 13,727 were Imperials. 1957 would be the record sales year for Imperial, with 37,557 cars produced.