- Beautiful ’55 Imperial (not a Chrysler…well not one on paper)
Imperial continued as its “own” company until 1975. Even though it was always sold in Chryslers dealerships, it was, on paper, a separate its own company. From 1976 to 1978 no Imperials were made, at least by name the Chrysler New Yorker Brougham was the name plate used at the time.
However, in 1981-1982 Chrysler was looking for a luxury model to add to its line up and decided it would try it again. The new luxury car would be named the “Imperial”. This was in fact a K car but let’s not dwell on that. What was really important was the latest Aerospace technology that was being used under the hood for the first time in a car.
The Imperial was the first car fully fitted with a continuous-flow injection system. Oh and the workhorse engine they choose to make this historical leap…yup the one, the only 5.2L, V8….318, thereby, making this a historic event in the auto industry and for the 318. This new fuel delivery system was monitored by a combustion computer and adjusted the fuel/air mixture to the driving conditions. The idea was to improve gas mileage. The 318 was able to produce 140 hp and 240 ft lbs asphalt gripe and go from 0 to 50 mph under 10 seconds.
- EFI Set Up from a 1982 318
Unfortunately the design was flawed. There were issues with the fuel, octane content and vacuum connections (not unlike issue with GM’s Crossfire engine used in the 82 GM models and including my 1984 Corvette). It was so unfriendly that customers began trading the Imperials in 1981. It reached a tipping point and Chrysler recalled the 318s and most were fitted with a two barrel carb instead. It is difficult to tell but according to some sources the 318 Imperial may have been fitted with 2v or 4v carb, producing 130 and 165 horsepower, respectively, in 1982 and 1983.
Either way the 318 had been the center piece for a leap forward in design…ok…ok…there was a leap and then a fall and then a backwards somersault. Nonetheless it was historical.
Thanks for reading. Next up with the how Dodge used the 318