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Thread: Project 68: The Imperial Crown Coupe Saga

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  1. #1
    Casual Cruiser

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    Cool Project 68: The Imperial Crown Coupe Saga

    When I was a kid, my father used to take me to all the cars shows around. An avid Mopar guy and lover of everything from hot rods to land yachts, he had his share of interesting cruisers. One of my earliest memories is of going to shows in his '68 Chrysler Imperial Crown Coupe.
    When I graduated college and started working in the automotive industry in Detroit, the money started coming in after years of it going out, so I started looking to build my own collection of toys. Being a car designer, and a hot rod/custom/early lowrider fan, it's not in my abilities to leave shit well enough alone... but more on that later.

    This is the ongoing saga of my 68.



    Chapter 1. "The Find"

    I came across this car in 09 while perusing Craigslist. It came up in Tampa FL. The ad was vague, there were no pictures and it had the phrase "would make a great parts car" in it. Usually that's 3 strikes and I would just move on, but for some reason, (maybe curiosity), I decided to respond to the ad.

    I got a call from the gentleman and we talked at length about the car. Turns out that the the original buyer in 1968 was an older couple. They bought the car new new and used it sparingly until 1981. In the garage it went, and sat there until they passed and eventually their estate was handled. The previous owner saw it in the garage at the estate sale, and bought it on the spot. (I want to say this was around 2002) He had it towed to a storage unit, and proceeded to attempt to get it running. His mechanical know-how was lacking, so when a battery and some gas down the carburetor didn't yield results, he was stumped. He bought a bunch of parts, and fiddled with a few odds and ends like removing the front grille to repaint behind it, but never really got much of anything done. For the most part, he ended up sitting on it until 2009, when years of storage fees and absolutely no enjoyment of the car inspired him to get rid of it.

    I was definitely interested at this point, since he had told me that the car was 100% solid, undamaged, and complete. "Can you send me pictures?" I asked. "Sure! whats your address?" A week later an envelope of 3"x5" photos showed up. They were of the car when he'd had it delivered to the storage unit almost a decade before. No recent shots, no close ups, no interior shots.




    Perhaps someone with more sense would walk away... I decided to roll the dice. From his discription of the interior, it was base model black cloth. Not the greatest of interiors but what the hell, I cant afford 5k to replace a leather interior anyway. So I hit him with an offer, sight unseen, and a week later the car was loaded on a transport truck and headed back to the city that it was made in.



    much more to come...
    PISCITELLI DESIGN: HOT ROD & CUSTOM DESIGN
    Website: www.piscitellidesign.com
    IG: @piscitellidesign

  2. #2
    Harvey's Front Row

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    Just saw this on FCBO. I love these 2 door hardtops. What are your plans for it?

  3. #3
    Casual Cruiser

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    lol, I'm a forum whore... and figured the crowd here might dig the direction I'm taking with it more than FBOC though.
    PISCITELLI DESIGN: HOT ROD & CUSTOM DESIGN
    Website: www.piscitellidesign.com
    IG: @piscitellidesign

  4. #4
    Casual Cruiser

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    1973 Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser - 455 Rocket Big Block - (0)(0) PROJECTILE AFTERBIRTH (0)(0)
    1979 Ford T-bird - 351 Windsor - Project DIRTY BIRD
    1970 Dodge Charger 500 - 383 Big Block

  5. #5
    Harvey's Front Row

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    Looks like a beautiful starting point. I remember some renderings of an imperial done right, you posted here a while ago... I guess it was all about this car . Can t wait to see more.
    5 on 5

  6. #6
    Casual Cruiser

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    Thanks, yeah i gotta do some new sketches of it to show what direction its taking. Those ones were about 4 years old, so a few ideas have changed.
    PISCITELLI DESIGN: HOT ROD & CUSTOM DESIGN
    Website: www.piscitellidesign.com
    IG: @piscitellidesign

  7. #7
    ♠ LBCC East ♠

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    This is shaping up to be a good read. Thanks for sharing!

  8. #8
    Boulevard Bomber

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    Looking forward to the next post..
    All I want to do is cruise an obscenely over sized vehicle while consuming our precious fossil fuels at an alarming rate.

  9. #9
    Casual Cruiser

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    well, I should mention that I am further now than the posts look, but in the interest of a good story, I'll give you guys the long version that I've written up already, so bare with me and we'll be current before ya know it!

    Chapter 2.)
    The car showed up a week later, packed to the brim with stuff. At first glance, I almost had a heart attack, since everyone knows what the fate of interiors that double as parts storage… and this was PACKED. Upon inspection around the car, the guy’s statement of the car being rock solid was true. Aside from some pitting in the paint, and only surface rust on the underside, the car was surprisingly straight! In hindsight, I got reallllly lucky. I've had things go VERY poorly buying stuff sight-unseen before so this was a huge win in my book.








    The stockpile of stuff that the last owner had accumulated:




    PISCITELLI DESIGN: HOT ROD & CUSTOM DESIGN
    Website: www.piscitellidesign.com
    IG: @piscitellidesign

  10. #10
    Casual Cruiser

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    Next came the interior. Everything was packed in tight, but luckily it seems that the previous owner had enough foresight to cover up the seats with multiple blankets. When I got it cleared and removed the blankets, I was super surprised to find that it wasn’t the base black interior that he mentioned. It was chocolate leather with brocade inserts. On top of that, it was in great shape. The front driver and pass side bolsters were a little stressed, but the back seats looked like they had never been sat in (the seat belts were still in the plastic wrap) and all the brocade was in perfect shape! He had liberally doused the carpets in baking soda so it would stay dry.



    PISCITELLI DESIGN: HOT ROD & CUSTOM DESIGN
    Website: www.piscitellidesign.com
    IG: @piscitellidesign

  11. #11
    Casual Cruiser

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    sweet!
    1973 Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser - 455 Rocket Big Block - (0)(0) PROJECTILE AFTERBIRTH (0)(0)
    1979 Ford T-bird - 351 Windsor - Project DIRTY BIRD
    1970 Dodge Charger 500 - 383 Big Block

  12. #12
    Harvey's Front Row

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    Wow...what a score Congrats! You have a stock pile of some rare stuff I believe.

  13. #13
    Sidewalk Spectator

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    awesome buy and cool looking car

  14. #14
    Casual Cruiser

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    Now... hopefully more than a few of you guys can relate to the downward spiral that happened next.. it's what turns a 'cut and polish' into a full blown paint job, and in this case; pulling the heads into "well I might as well pull the motor, to freshen it up as well"


    Why would I do that? I'm not sure at this point, but it happened. lol



    PISCITELLI DESIGN: HOT ROD & CUSTOM DESIGN
    Website: www.piscitellidesign.com
    IG: @piscitellidesign

  15. #15
    Casual Cruiser

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    The story takes a hiatus, since amidst the "2 week" project of pulling and refreshing the motor, I bought my first house. Since with a house payment, I couldn't afford to keep renting the garage in the above pics, the car had to sit outside my new house until I had the time and resources to get back to it.

    ...2 years, 2 bathrooms, 1200 sq ft of hardwood, about a thousand feet of door and base trim, a kitchen worth of tile, and about 20 gallons of paint later, I was ready to get back into it. I pulled it into the garage (scary that it hardly fit) and started the process of prepping it for bodywork, and reassembling the motor.



    On a random side note, this car is so damn heavy, that , it put 4 dents in the blacktop from the 2 years of sitting covered up on my driveway!
    PISCITELLI DESIGN: HOT ROD & CUSTOM DESIGN
    Website: www.piscitellidesign.com
    IG: @piscitellidesign

  16. #16
    Casual Cruiser

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    Thanks!

    Chapter 3:

    So with the honeymoon over, it was high time to get this badboy running. First thing we noticed was that the carb was in serious need of a rebuild, and that the gas lines had gone bad. After tinkering with it, we pulled the valve coveres and saw the reason that the car had never started for the previous owner.
    After years of sitting, the valve springs had frozen up. When the dude attempted to fire it up, the bottom end turned, but not so much on the valve train, so it bent up a good share of the push rods. Off the heads came for a recondition.


    PISCITELLI DESIGN: HOT ROD & CUSTOM DESIGN
    Website: www.piscitellidesign.com
    IG: @piscitellidesign

  17. #17
    Casual Cruiser

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    awesome car and project, cant wait to see what you do with it
    mopar or no car

  18. #18
    Casual Cruiser

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    When I first bought it, I had a few ideas as to what I wanted to do with it. While I dont have the money for bags, a solid static drop would definitely be in order. So I sketched up some ideas.

    Here's what I first came up with (the wheel size was way too exagerated when I did this; they read more like 24"s than 20's):

    The wheels are Centerline polished "Smoothies."

    After mulling it over and over again, I decided that 20"s would look ok on the car, but not perfect. Maybe even a little too big.
    Also, if I got them, they wouldn't be the only wheels i would be running. I wanted a set of 15"s/whitewalls to rock as well.

    2 sets of wheels, with 2 TOTALLY different vibes:

    With Caddy wires:
    Last edited by dart165; 01-14-2014 at 07:36 PM.
    PISCITELLI DESIGN: HOT ROD & CUSTOM DESIGN
    Website: www.piscitellidesign.com
    IG: @piscitellidesign

  19. #19
    Harvey's Front Row

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    It would be drop dead sexy with some wires, 2" WW. Have you seen the traditional Chrysler wires? A little pricey, but they rock a 2 spoke knock-off.

  20. #20
    Casual Cruiser

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    Wow, that´s clean coupe!

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