1955 Chrysler Imperial – A Phantom Phenom
The Chrysler Corporation never made a 1955 Chrysler Imperial convertible. But Wayne Davis of Southlake, Texas didn’t really care. He made his own and we have the photos to prove it!
Exactly what would a 1955 Chrysler Imperial convertible look like had it ever been produced is the point of Davis’ regal custom rod. A true concours-quality hybrid, it takes classic Chrysler elegance and elevates it to the 21st Century. But don’t let the modern upgrades fool you! As a self-proclaimed Chrysler purist and traditionalist as well as a renowned collector, Davis went to great lengths to stay with a classic look while giving his car the drivability of a vehicle fresh off the lot.
Built using a low-mileage, rust-free, 2-door hardtop 1955 Chrysler Imperial and the convertible setup from a rare New Yorker convertible, Davis’s custom Chrysler is built to be driven. Attached to a stock Imperial frame reinforced for the convertible modification, is a custom Art Morrison front clip with JRI coil overs and a Flaming River power steering rack, all of which was massaged into place by Tennessee’s Rutterz Rodz. Out back, a leaf spring suspension system supports a Dana 60 rearend with 3.70 gears.
Underneath, the classy Chrysler sports 16×7-inch and 16×8-inch wire wheels from The Wheel Smith, wrapped in Diamond Back radials. Providing stopping power for the car are Wilwood discs on all four corners.
Under the hood of the Imperial, you’ll find even more performance goodies. Disguised as a classic HEMI engine using the car’s original but modified 354 HEMI valve covers and a custom air cleaner cover/air intake, is a modern 392ci Mopar crate engine with a custom mandrel exhaust system and MagnaFlow stainless mufflers. Backed by a 545 RFE automatic overdrive transmission, this potent powerplant hums to the tune of 525hp – plenty of oomph for all that perfect sheet metal.
Aesthetically, the convertible is as classic as they come or would have come rather, with just a few modifications. In addition to the Kalahari convertible top and framework, some of the biggest wow-factors this custom rod brings is that it features straightened body lines, tightened gaps, modified inner fenders and extensively restored chrome work done by Dan’s Polishing. While the car maintains all of its Imperial signatures, the convertible also sports custom hood and trunk badges.
All of this is set off with a beautiful custom Spies-Hecker Hazel Gray paint scheme which takes on Emerald tones. The interior of the convertible is just as nice, featuring classic Imperial elements, from the dash to the seats, covered in a custom tuck and roll leather by Paul Atkins Interiors. Adding interest to the classically-styled interior are original gauges redone by Classic Instruments and a vintage seek-and-scan radio modified to offer modern amenities like Bluetooth.
Davis has accomplished a rare feat. He completely modified a classic car and made it into a stock-appearing phantom. That takes balls. We dig it!