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1981 Imperial Value?

Discussion in 'F-J-M: Volare, Diplomat, etc, 1977-89' started by Imp81318, Sep 16, 2020.

  1. Imp81318

    Imp81318 New Member

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    Hi all, new here! I have a 1981 Chrysler Imperial that I've had since I turned 16... My Uncle bought it and fixed it up (chrome wheels, painted it black cherry with pinstriped flames, etc to go along with the factory leather interior and power moon roof), then sold it to me for my first car. It has been sitting in my parents for around 18 years now, and I'm thinking about selling it. I hate to see it go, but since I just inherited my dad's '55 chevy project car I think it might be time...

    Anyway, can anyone offer insights on what value to put on it? With as old, rare, and unique as it is, I figure the 'standard' references like NADA and KBB likely aren't accurate. Thoughts?
     
  2. AHBGuru

    AHBGuru Active Member

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    Well, these are very rare cars. That doesn't automatically equate to high dollar value, however.

    Condition is everything, but ... everything else being equal, a true collector will generally willing to pay more for a car that's "correct", especially classic Mopars.
    There have been a couple M-body squads making the rounds lately, including a couple of 1989 Diplomats, that appeared to be in 100% correct (as-delivered) condition, and priced accordingly. There are dozens of other M and J body cars that have been hacked up - Lean Burn removed, 4bbl carbs and other aftermarket junk, etc. Nobody really wants these, at least not for anything beyond pennies on the dollar, and they eventually wind up in demolition derbys.

    Bottom line, however, especially in the precarious economic state the US is currently in, is that any vehicle is worth exactly what someone is willing to pay.
     
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  3. valiant67

    valiant67 ...

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    You missed one of the most important value indicators. Does it still have its working fuel injection? Or was it converted by a dealer or someone else?

    Condition is really, really important. You can buy almost every part for that 55 Chevy. But body and interior parts will be extremely difficult to find for the Imperial. Condition will make a huge difference. The paint, flames, and chrome wheels won’t attract the usual Imperial buyer.
     
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  4. Scrounge

    Scrounge Got parts?
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  5. voiceofstl

    voiceofstl Well-Known Member

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    If I had "fun" money, I'd love to have one and make it look stock except with a modern hemi drive train.
     
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  6. ImperialCrown

    ImperialCrown Moderator
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    These were strikingly beautiful coupes based on the Cordoba/Mirada platform. While not really 'collectable', they are rare. Rust areas were the rockers and lower trunk lid (preventable with good, open water drain holes).
    Some might prefer wire wheel covers and wide whitewalls for an original look. It would be a matter of finding the prospective buyer who was attracted to owning the car.
    The early digital fuel injection was troublesome (mainly due to a lack of diagnostic capability) and many were factory-converted to a Holley 2bbl, intake manifold and non-DFI fuel tank.
     
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  7. valiant67

    valiant67 ...

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    1981 was the only year this style Imperial offered a sunroof. About 30% of the 1981s had the power sunroof.
     
  8. voiceofstl

    voiceofstl Well-Known Member

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    I also liked the early 80;s 4 door caddy sevelle with the bustle but trunk.
     
  9. Imp81318

    Imp81318 New Member

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    The car hasn't been started in 15 years or so, but I believe that with a quick carb clean it should start up pretty easily. Issues that I remember it having include an electrical gremlin wherein the entire dash sometimes shuts off (short/loose connection that just developed right before I took it off the road), leather seats are ripped open at the seams, and left front fender and grill were damaged in an accident. It is driveable, but needs a bit of body work there. I have the main piece of the grill, which I know are very hard to find, but not the smaller rectangular pieces for the bottom. Other than that, it is a solid and complete car that shouldn't need too much other than regular hoses and stuff from sitting.

    I'm thinking about selling it to a buddy as a project car for his 14 year old son. I think somewhere around $1,000 or so seems like it would be in the right ballpark.
     
  10. Adventurer55

    Adventurer55 Well-Known Member

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    We had a new 83 Imperial, it was silver, and was the nicest car I have ever driven. Everything was top shelf, the carpet pile seemed like it was a foot thick. The leather seats were fantastic. We never had any issues with the EFI. I'd love to have it back.
     
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  11. Scrounge

    Scrounge Got parts?
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    You'll probably want to drain the gas tank and add some fresh gas before you try to start it. While you're at it, check the tank for rust. And replace the gas filter. What carb does it have?

    Headlight switch? Or maybe the back of the dash needs a good cleaning. Yes, check for loose and/or frayed wires.

    The body issues and ripped seats will certainly detract from its value.

    It's probably a fair price, given the condition. If you get it running, it's worth at least that as a driver. As a project, the body parts will be hard to find, and maybe pricy.
     
  12. valiant67

    valiant67 ...

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    The Imperial instrument cluster is an early digital cluster. They were problematic.

    The cluster is different between a car running the original fuel injection and one converted to run a carb.
     

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