The Eighties were a sorry decade.


The music sucked in an androgynous bad disco’s illegitimate offspring way.


Sure there were a few highlights like Afghanistan as a last-days-of-Communism Soviet problem and U2 as a band instead of vehicle for Bono’s personal ego-driven march toward godhood.


But let’s discuss the collectible cars of the Eighties.


One of the more iconic cars of the decade was the 1981-83 Chrysler Imperial.


Chrysler was a company in financial crisis that needed a home run with the buying public.


Lee Iacocca was chosen to lead Chrysler out of the wilderness.


The path was cleared by the success of the K car and its derivative mini-van platform. Chrysler’s future was secure with these vehicles.


But Iacocca also wanted to present the Pentastar brand as more than just an economical family hauler company. So he showcased the 1981-83 Chrysler Imperial in its customary role as a flagship in the company fleet.


The two-door Imperial featured a long rakish hood and short deck- a look that basically defined the North American automotive style of the 70s and early 80s.


Lee didn’t want to reinvent the wheel with the Imperial, he just wanted to assemble a stylish high end car for Chrysler. For the most part, he succeeded in the assembly standards. But the 1981 Imperial had a seriously flawed fuel injection system that plagued the car.


In fact, it was a big enough problem for Mopar they offered a retro-carb refit on the 1981 models. Then they switched to carbs in the ensuing model years.


The fit and sheet metal on the Imperial was a notch above its cousins, the Mirada and Cordoba. Great care was taken to ensure that an Imperial owner was a happy owner. The car had every available feature available to an upscale buyer.


An upscale front man in 1982 was the legendary Frank Sinatra. He was a pitchman for the Frank Sinatra Edition that came in blue-and blue only. Besides, who would argue with the Chairman of the Board about color choices-or anything-for that matter?


Despite the best efforts of Lee and Frank, this model of the Imperial lasted only three years. Chrysler’s K car campaign was the life- blood of the company.


So we find ourselves in 2011, looking back at potential collector cars from a forgettable decade. The low sales volume of the 1981-83 Imperial makes this car a strong candidate for a collectible in a future era when this car picks up steam in the collector car world.



Right now a solid Imperial can be bought for far less than $5000.00 in most cases.


Look for these cars to gain momentum by 2020.


Jim Sutherland @mystarcollectorcar.com 


Much more from collector car world at https://www.mystarcollectorcar.com/

COMMENTS: “I hate to say this but I agree whole heartily with this article. I’ve seen a few Frank Sinatra versions come up every once and a while and might have to bite down on one some day. Of course anything looks good next to a Mirada or Condorba”.