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Picked up a 57 Imperial
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imperial2100
Posted 2018-06-26 8:02 AM (#565634)
Subject: Picked up a 57 Imperial


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Yup, got a 57 white imperial hard top. I don't have the car yet, getting it transported, but thought I'd go ahead and say hello to the community. Hello!

I guess the first few questions I'd like to ask are:
1 - Are there any other forums geared toward Imperials? I haven't found any, so I believe this to be the place to have all my exciting new Imperial discussions, but maybe I missed a well hidden gem.
2 - Has anyone put together a parts list or a guide for installing disc brakes on a 57 Imperial? I think this may be my first investment in the car as I know drums can be irritating.

Thanks!
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jboymechanic
Posted 2018-06-26 10:07 AM (#565638 - in reply to #565634)
Subject: Re: Picked up a 57 Imperial



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Congrats on the find, is it a 2 door or 4 door hardtop? Have any pictures to share?

There is an imperial club website, but I don't believe there is a discussion forum. Good source of information though.

http://www.imperialclub.com/

For disc brakes, check with AAJ Brakes or Scarebird. I have kits from both makers on my cars and both work well. Imperials may not be listed on either website, but give them a call. You won't regret upgrading to disc brakes.
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mstrug
Posted 2018-06-26 12:22 PM (#565645 - in reply to #565634)
Subject: Re: Picked up a 57 Imperial



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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uUh6djJgWuM

https://www._.com/Repairs/Disc_Brake_Conversion/Disc_Brake_AAJ.htm

A club member?

http://ecihotrodbrakes.com/dodge_plymouth_discbrake_conversions.htm...
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KcImperial
Posted 2018-06-26 4:36 PM (#565666 - in reply to #565634)
Subject: RE: Picked up a 57 Imperial



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Online Imperial Club is a great resource for our Imperials.
They do have an email mailing list and there's a wealth of information in that archive but there's no general discussion forum like here.
There are several of us '57-'58 Imperial owners here though

A couple important details for disc brake conversions -
You will need to upgrade to at least 15 inch wheels.
Imperials not only have a different size bolt pattern, the spindles have different diameter too.
Typical 1957 & up Chrysler kits will not work on Imperials unless you change the spindles.
Make sure you confirm any conversion kit you buy is specifically for an Imperial.
You will also have clearance issues with most master cylinders and the Hemi valve cover

It's been a couple years since I converted one of mine so product availability may have changed since them.
http://www.aajbrakes.com/ has a kit for the front, supposedly may also have newer version for 14 inch wheels
https://www.scarebird.com/ didn't have a kit but was working on one, like I said that was a couple years ago and they may have something now.
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imperial2100
Posted 2018-06-26 4:52 PM (#565669 - in reply to #565638)
Subject: Re: Picked up a 57 Imperial


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jboymechanic - 2018-06-26 11:07 AM Congrats on the find, is it a 2 door or 4 door hardtop? Have any pictures to share? There is an imperial club website, but I don't believe there is a discussion forum. Good source of information though. http://www.imperialclub.com/ For disc brakes, check with AAJ Brakes or Scarebird. I have kits from both makers on my cars and both work well. Imperials may not be listed on either website, but give them a call. You won't regret upgrading to disc brakes.


Thanks!  Had been using the information on the imperialclub.com before purchasing the car, it's a little dated, but the facts are still facts.  My concern is I don't have a ton of money to invest in this car, so I don't want to buy any of those $1500-$2000 kits, looking for something sub $500 if possible, and if not at least keep it under $1000.  I'm guessing if I piece the kit together myself I can probably save some money.

Prior to this I had a 66 Lincoln Continental, and those had factory disc brakes, so I'm sure I'll be dissapointed in the stopping power of the Imperial until I get this conversion done.

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imperial2100
Posted 2018-06-26 5:04 PM (#565672 - in reply to #565645)
Subject: Re: Picked up a 57 Imperial


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mstrug - 2018-06-26 1:22 PM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uUh6djJgWuM

https://www._.com/Repairs/Disc_Brake_Conversion/Disc_Brake_AAJ.htm

A club member?

http://ecihotrodbrakes.com/dodge_plymouth_discbrake_conversions.htm...

Thanks, watched the video and visited his site... he's wanting $1500 for that kit. woah! I'm sure it's a great kit, but I think I'll live with a little bending of a plate, it's still much better than drums, and hopefully keep $1000 in my pocket. If I'm ever retired with plenty of money in my 401k to spend on a car, then I'll be going for the best of the best, and have someone lined up to install them fore me too

What did you mean when you asked if I was a club member?
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imperial2100
Posted 2018-06-26 5:10 PM (#565673 - in reply to #565666)
Subject: RE: Picked up a 57 Imperial


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KcImperial - 2018-06-26 5:36 PM

Online Imperial Club is a great resource for our Imperials.
They do have an email mailing list and there's a wealth of information in that archive but there's no general discussion forum like here.
There are several of us '57-'58 Imperial owners here though

That's great to hear that the Imperial owners are here... I found the right place then. Too bad we can't get a link from the imperialclub.org site back to here if people want to access forums, would have got me here a few days sooner.

KcImperial - 2018-06-26 5:36 PM
A couple important details for disc brake conversions -
You will need to upgrade to at least 15 inch wheels.
Imperials not only have a different size bolt pattern, the spindles have different diameter too.
Typical 1957 & up Chrysler kits will not work on Imperials unless you change the spindles.
Make sure you confirm any conversion kit you buy is specifically for an Imperial.
You will also have clearance issues with most master cylinders and the Hemi valve cover

It's been a couple years since I converted one of mine so product availability may have changed since them.
http://www.aajbrakes.com/ has a kit for the front, supposedly may also have newer version for 14 inch wheels
https://www.scarebird.com/ didn't have a kit but was working on one, like I said that was a couple years ago and they may have something now.


So my wife has a 60 tbird I bought her a few months ago, and I had already planned out a kit for her car, but was going to track down some newer 14" wheels that are known to fit disc brakes. Has anyone determined if there's a newer 14" wheel from a different make/model that we can use on these early Imperials? I really hate the idea of losing the factory hubcaps.
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KcImperial
Posted 2018-06-26 6:50 PM (#565675 - in reply to #565673)
Subject: RE: Picked up a 57 Imperial



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imperial2100 - 2018-06-26 4:10 PM
So my wife has a 60 tbird I bought her a few months ago, and I had already planned out a kit for her car, but was going to track down some newer 14" wheels that are known to fit disc brakes. Has anyone determined if there's a newer 14" wheel from a different make/model that we can use on these early Imperials? I really hate the idea of losing the factory hubcaps.

The 57-58 Imperials use a 14in wheel with the larger 5.5x5 bolt pattern. Most of the other Chrysler division used 4.5x5
Starting part way into the 1959 model year, Imperial went back to 15in wheels which really isolates the 2 years for 57-58
This is also the same bolt pattern as the F150 and Dodge truck so imagine finding a 14in wheel that fits them
Maybe someone else knows of a some (other) oddball car out there with a 5.5x5 14in wheel but I don't know of any and it would probably be just as hard to find anyway

I'm not a purist so upgrading to 15in wheels would give you wheel cover options of other Imperials from '56 and earlier or '59 and later
The '56 and '59 wheel covers specifically look quite good on these and are used commonly on the 57/58 with 15in wheels
A 15in wheel will also make buying tires much easier too
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KcImperial
Posted 2018-06-26 6:56 PM (#565676 - in reply to #565672)
Subject: Re: Picked up a 57 Imperial



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imperial2100 - 2018-06-26 4:04 PM
Thanks, watched the video and visited his site... he's wanting $1500 for that kit. woah! I'm sure it's a great kit, but I think I'll live with a little bending of a plate, it's still much better than drums, and hopefully keep $1000 in my pocket. If I'm ever retired with plenty of money in my 401k to spend on a car, then I'll be going for the best of the best, and have someone lined up to install them fore me too

$1500 is high for a kit. I did my last one for about half that
That said, brace yourself when shopping for parts for these Imperials
Most of the time it isn't a matter of "how much" it's a matter of "where can I find the absolute only 1 supplier that has it" and most of the the time it's "good luck"
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imperial2100
Posted 2018-06-26 7:38 PM (#565679 - in reply to #565634)
Subject: RE: Picked up a 57 Imperial


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Here's some pictures of the Imperial.  These are from the guy selling it.  Unfortunately it sounds like the previous owner passed away and his wife wasn't able to keep the car, so it has been passed on.  So I'll take care of it while I have it and pass it on to the next person at some point.

I know there are a few things not original to the car already, but to be honest I really like them, such as the later model swivel seats which I thought were very nice starting in 59, but I liked the 57/58 body look more.  Also the interior isn't original obviously, but I think it looks nice.  Two other things I've noticed is the turn signal appears to be the 58 model style (did they use that style in any 57's?) and the rear view mirror is not on the instrument cluster, it's on the dash at the base of the windshield - was there ever a model year that designed it this way?

 Did anyone happen to know who owned this car before?



Edited by imperial2100 2018-06-26 9:32 PM
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imperial2100
Posted 2018-06-26 9:06 PM (#565680 - in reply to #565675)
Subject: RE: Picked up a 57 Imperial


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KcImperial - 2018-06-26 7:50 PM

The 57-58 Imperials use a 14in wheel with the larger 5.5x5 bolt pattern. Most of the other Chrysler division used 4.5x5
Starting part way into the 1959 model year, Imperial went back to 15in wheels which really isolates the 2 years for 57-58
This is also the same bolt pattern as the F150 and Dodge truck so imagine finding a 14in wheel that fits them
Maybe someone else knows of a some (other) oddball car out there with a 5.5x5 14in wheel but I don't know of any and it would probably be just as hard to find anyway

I'm not a purist so upgrading to 15in wheels would give you wheel cover options of other Imperials from '56 and earlier or '59 and later
The '56 and '59 wheel covers specifically look quite good on these and are used commonly on the 57/58 with 15in wheels
A 15in wheel will also make buying tires much easier too


Seeing as my Imperial isn't exactly "pure", I guess it wouldn't really matter too much if I switched it out for a 59 or later set of wheels. It's already got front seats from what I believe is a 61 or 62... can't really tell.

I would like to keep a set of original parts that can be passed on with the car if someone wants to roll it back to original. Like the original wheels and an original set of 57 seats. Can worry about that later though and try to focus on tracking down a nice set of wheels somewhere.

Any suggestions on where a good place to find them would be? Any modern equivalent 15" wheels that could be bought new for same amount or less?
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jboymechanic
Posted 2018-06-26 10:52 PM (#565687 - in reply to #565634)
Subject: Re: Picked up a 57 Imperial



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Great car! Thanks for the pictures.

About your wheels, what is the hub diameter? Curious as to how it compares to earlier imperials that had 15" wheels from the factory (as my '56 did).
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imperial2100
Posted 2018-06-26 10:56 PM (#565688 - in reply to #565687)
Subject: Re: Picked up a 57 Imperial


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jboymechanic - 2018-06-26 11:52 PM

Great car! Thanks for the pictures.

About your wheels, what is the hub diameter? Curious as to how it compares to earlier imperials that had 15" wheels from the factory (as my '56 did).

I'll measure for you once it arrives. It should be here in about a week as it has to travel cross country.
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KcImperial
Posted 2018-06-26 11:40 PM (#565690 - in reply to #565679)
Subject: RE: Picked up a 57 Imperial



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imperial2100 - 2018-06-26 6:38 PM
Two other things I've noticed is the turn signal appears to be the 58 model style (did they use that style in any 57's?) and the rear view mirror is not on the instrument cluster, it's on the dash at the base of the windshield - was there ever a model year that designed it this way? Did anyone happen to know who owned this car before?

Nice Crown Southampton!
The rear view mirror is in the correct location for 1957. 1958 moved to the side of the instrument cluster. I'm not sure which year moved it to the roof?
Yes, that's a 1958 turn signal switch. They are very simple to interchange but leave that '58 version! It's soooo much easier to use while driving than that annoying '57 rocker type
I've used mid 90's F150 wheels for spares on my Imperials many times. They bolt right up, are easy to find and usually economical too.
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imperial2100
Posted 2018-06-27 12:13 AM (#565693 - in reply to #565690)
Subject: RE: Picked up a 57 Imperial


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KcImperial - 2018-06-27 12:40 AM

Nice Crown Southampton!
The rear view mirror is in the correct location for 1957. 1958 moved to the side of the instrument cluster. I'm not sure which year moved it to the roof?
Yes, that's a 1958 turn signal switch. They are very simple to interchange but leave that '58 version! It's soooo much easier to use while driving than that annoying '57 rocker type
I've used mid 90's F150 wheels for spares on my Imperials many times. They bolt right up, are easy to find and usually economical too.


Thanks! From what I've read, all four door models without pillars were considered to be "Southampton" - is that correct?

Good to hear the mirror is in the right spot, I thought they moved it for some reason. All pictures of a 57 dash I've looked up show it on the instrument cluster, haven't seen one yet with it in that location - but you guys would know best.

And I agree, that 57 rocker type was a terrible design... it was bad enough to move it away from the steering wheel, but to maintain the up/down instead of left/right was poor planning. I absolutely will not change that feature back to stock

I assume the mid 90's F150 wheels were designed to allow space for disc brakes?

Edited by imperial2100 2018-06-27 12:19 AM
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imperial2100
Posted 2018-06-27 12:17 AM (#565694 - in reply to #565693)
Subject: RE: Picked up a 57 Imperial


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imperial2100 - 2018-06-27 1:13 AM
All pictures of a 57 dash I've looked up show it on the instrument cluster, haven't seen one yet with it in that location - but you guys would know best.


I must have been smoking something, I just looked again and every picture for a 57 dash shows the mirror in that spot at the base of the windshield. So I must have been looking at 58's.

Additional question for you... was AC a common option in 57? Seems that most do not have it. From what I saw, it was a very expensive option priced something around $400 or $500 for the upgrade. As mine clearly doesn't have AC, is it a difficult option to add on after the fact?
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KcImperial
Posted 2018-06-27 1:55 AM (#565695 - in reply to #565694)
Subject: RE: Picked up a 57 Imperial



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Southampton simply means pillar-less hardtop, it can be either 2 or 4 door
The OIC claims 1/3 of all '58 Imperials had AC (nothing specifically stated for '57)
I think it was more of a regional climate preference. In today's money it was equivalent to a $4,000 or $5,000 option

I've owned six 57-58 Imperials (still have 5). 2 had standard AC, 2 had Dual AC, 1 had dealer add on, and only 1 had no AC at all
Passenger side mirror and hood ornament were always very rare to me even though it seems like nowadays all have them
Only 1 of mine had the hood ornament and none had passenger mirrors. I also have a sedan with manual windows, manual seat but with factory AC

Difficult to add AC?
replicate factory installed original = yes, very
typical under dash hang on unit = same as installing on any other car
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Phil_the_frenchie
Posted 2018-06-27 5:23 PM (#565720 - in reply to #565694)
Subject: RE: Picked up a 57 Imperial



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As some forum members know i'm the owner of a '57 convertible ! Without disc brakes and i think i'll stay with the drums because upgrading to discs need a lot of money in addition to the 15" disc kit: spindles / wheels / tires / hubcaps and headache to install the dual MC ! So when you say that 1500 $ is too high if you add all the parts i describe you'll be at more than that ...
In my case if i only change the four tires i'll go to 1000 $ (this car needs WWW, not 1" narrow white wall)....

A/C was not very common on Imperial but i think more popular than on Dodge or DeSoto. To add the factoty unit you have to tear down all the dash, ther's a lot of parts you must change and some of them are made of unobtainable ...

A pic of my car last weekend in a small village



(P1070959 [1280x768].JPG)



Attachments
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Attachments P1070959 [1280x768].JPG (287KB - 11 downloads)
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hemidenis
Posted 2018-06-27 9:06 PM (#565729 - in reply to #565634)
Subject: Re: Picked up a 57 Imperial



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Beautiful Imperial.
Regarding to the AC, it is a complex system. It works with the engine oil pressure to move dampers and such. The complexity of this system was probably the reason why Chrysler switched vacuum power instead of oil pressure.

I spoke to a guy who restore a 57 Imperial AC system once, he basically told me "don"t mess with it" I asked him how about if i find a whole system from a donor car and he said "don"t mess with it".

57 brakes are good, my 61 New Yorker lock up the wheels with drums, something that some of the disk kits in the market can't do.
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imperial2100
Posted 2018-06-28 1:16 PM (#565756 - in reply to #565729)
Subject: Re: Picked up a 57 Imperial


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hemidenis - 2018-06-27 10:06 PM

Beautiful Imperial.
Regarding to the AC, it is a complex system. It works with the engine oil pressure to move dampers and such. The complexity of this system was probably the reason why Chrysler switched vacuum power instead of oil pressure.

I spoke to a guy who restore a 57 Imperial AC system once, he basically told me "don"t mess with it" I asked him how about if i find a whole system from a donor car and he said "don"t mess with it".

57 brakes are good, my 61 New Yorker lock up the wheels with drums, something that some of the disk kits in the market can't do.

If the brakes are good on it when it shows up, I'll leave them alone until something happens, but if I have to push the pedal through the floor like on every other drum brake car I've driven in the past, then that's getting fixed.

As for the AC... I had no idea they were so complex and used oil pressure to function. That's got to be the weirdest ac design I've ever heard of. I'm actually kinda happy now that I don't have it as I'd hate to work on it. I'll keep a fan handy in case I get hot
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jboymechanic
Posted 2018-06-28 4:09 PM (#565763 - in reply to #565729)
Subject: Re: Picked up a 57 Imperial



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hemidenis - 2018-06-27 8:06 PM

Beautiful Imperial.
Regarding to the AC, it is a complex system. It works with the engine oil pressure to move dampers and such. The complexity of this system was probably the reason why Chrysler switched vacuum power instead of oil pressure.

I spoke to a guy who restore a 57 Imperial AC system once, he basically told me "don"t mess with it" I asked him how about if i find a whole system from a donor car and he said "don"t mess with it".

57 brakes are good, my 61 New Yorker lock up the wheels with drums, something that some of the disk kits in the market can't do.


You don't want your brakes to lock up, locking the brakes and skidding the tires INCREASES stopping distance. It is also much more difficult (or impossible) to control a car when the brakes lock up, that is why anti-lock brakes are standard on todays cars.
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imopar380
Posted 2018-06-28 4:14 PM (#565764 - in reply to #565756)
Subject: Re: Picked up a 57 Imperial



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Beautiful car, as to the interior, I'm sure the seats are the standard cloth/leather combination for a 1960 Imperial Crown.
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imperial2100
Posted 2018-06-28 5:02 PM (#565765 - in reply to #565764)
Subject: Re: Picked up a 57 Imperial


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imopar380 - 2018-06-28 5:14 PM

Beautiful car, as to the interior, I'm sure the seats are the standard cloth/leather combination for a 1960 Imperial Crown.


Thanks, was really wondering what year those seats were likely from. It's actually an interesting combination as I prefer the 57/58 body styles, but the swivel seat that started in 59 would be a nice to have and even the taller driver seat style from those 60's would be a nice to have as I'm on the taller side. The previous owner also swapped out the 57 turn signal for the 58 which is a better style IMO, so all around the car is an interesting collection. It's one of those modded cars that actually matches what someone else would have liked as well - good choices!

Was really hoping to hear that someone knew who owned this before me, and that he's a great guy that always treated his cars well, but maybe I'll never know.

Edited by imperial2100 2018-06-28 5:04 PM
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imperial2100
Posted 2018-07-08 6:55 PM (#566304 - in reply to #565634)
Subject: RE: Picked up a 57 Imperial


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Just realized I never posted any pics of the actual car. Here's several pictures of the car outside and in.





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Attachments re_800_20180708_191442_HDR.jpg (106KB - 9 downloads)
Attachments re_800_20180708_191458_HDR.jpg (108KB - 9 downloads)
Attachments re_800_20180708_191528_HDR.jpg (96KB - 9 downloads)
Attachments re_800_20180708_191652_HDR.jpg (114KB - 9 downloads)
Attachments re_800_20180708_191753.jpg (52KB - 9 downloads)
Attachments re_800_20180708_191641_HDR.jpg (93KB - 9 downloads)
Attachments re_800_20180708_191613_HDR.jpg (110KB - 9 downloads)
Attachments re_800_20180708_191627.jpg (93KB - 9 downloads)
Attachments re_800_20180708_191723.jpg (148KB - 9 downloads)
Attachments re_800_20180708_191734.jpg (126KB - 9 downloads)
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51coronet
Posted 2018-07-10 2:19 AM (#566387 - in reply to #565634)
Subject: Re: Picked up a 57 Imperial


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Nice Imperial!

Ok Disc brakes. Easy! AAJ kit for the fronts maintains the original bolt pattern so a 15 inch wheel is needed...no problem in my opinion there are good looking 15 inch hubcap options. This is a simple disc kit that is not complicated and uses a very very common rotor and caliper which = cheap easy to buy parts replacements. AAJ will send you a bracket kit you then go to the local auto parts store and buy the appropriate rotors and calipers or order them online.

The rears are a little more involved. Buy a bracket kit off ebay for 8 3/4 axle. Pull the old drums off and reuse the hubs. Some lathe work is needed to turn the hub outside diameter down a bit so it fits into a 1990 F150 4x4 rotor which is the same for the fronts except for the 4x4 part. Same bolt pattern etc. Turn down the outside diameter of the rotor to 11 inches as they are typically 11 3/4 (the kit is for 11 inch rotors this is why I would recommend this step or drill a new hole like I did which is not as clean). Use a belt sander on the pads of the kit you got so the rotors fit in between them (1 inch space in between but the new rotors are just over 1 inch). Keep the shims etc in order with each side and reuse them as well as now is a good time to consider replacing the bearings. here is the thread I made to give you an idea http://www.forwardlook.net/forums/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=65789&... This was my first try and sort of a trial and error so it can be done better with the right machining and better know how as I made the mistakes for you. Others have converted to rear discs as well. Remember to get the right caliper, if you get the one with a parking brake built in you must use the parking brake in order to keep the calipers calibrated. If you buy the non parking brake calipers then you use the stock parking brake. Its not expensive and I think its a better set up than those really expensive rear kits as it retains much of the stock parts and bolt pattern.

Then its time to look into the master cylinder. A dual reservoir is the best option but making one fit can be tough with the hemi (disc disc type and yes there is a difference). People have made the swap. There are mounting brackets that raise the MC as well as the lower profile slimmer types typically seen on newer cars that use a remote type reservoir. You may need to stop using the spark plug wire cover on the driver side for clearance which isn't an issue in my opinion for the added safety.

Edited by 51coronet 2018-07-10 2:27 AM
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