Up with U.S. Imperialism!

Nothing succeeds like excess!

We espied a truly amazing sight in a Palm Springs supermarket parking lot: a dusty ’61 Imperial bearing British Columbia plates, at least 1300 miles from home.  A very elderly couple, perhaps the original owners, had apparently driven the beast down for the winter and we were duly IMPressed.  When all other car makers, even Cadillac which started the trend back in 1948, had abandoned or diminished their rear fender appurtenances, Chrysler equipped its luxury marque with the tallest, most extreme pair of tail fins the car biz had ever seen.  Would  you look at the size of those things?  What a pair!  Note the shadow they cast — seems like some kind of Bat signal projected on the blacktop.  These are bigger than even those on the ’59 Cadillac which usually serves as the definitive hallmark of 50s-era “jukebox” styling excess.  Imperial’s fantastic aft quarters were downsized the next year so this is something of a last hurrah for this kind of design think — the literal “end” of the line.

We offer this this rolling art statement of a ’59 Cadillac for comparison purpose.59 Cadillac Limo

It’s kind of telling that the voice over of this ’61 Imperial commercial makes no reference to the fins.  The emphasis is on the free-standing lantern style headlights up front as well as the usual luxury trappings of a “fine car.” The fin party was pretty much over and Imperial seemed to stay too long.

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2 thoughts on “Up with U.S. Imperialism!

  1. Commodore Hornblow

    My favorite Imperial fact dates from the 1990s when I learned that strident anti-Imperialist Alexander Cockburn, a columnist for The Nation and several left-leaning publications (and latterly known as the paternal uncle of cinema hearthrob Olivia Wilde,) in fact owned five Imperials at one time. I believe there was a report in Car & Driver, possibly by the man himself, though my memory is dim. I’d like to see it, if anyone has a copy.

    1. feralcars Post author

      I find this to be truly amazing. I had him pegged as a Volvo or Peugeot kinda guy.. or Skoda or Lada, maybe.


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