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OUT OF THE PAST: After 50 years 1958 Imperial’s fins still soar
Mr. Chatak explains that the hand brake takes the place of a parking gear. He adds that the starter is activated by pushing the neutral button.
Standard features on the car include the “Constant Control” power steering and the “Total Contact” power brakes. On the top of the cushioned dashboard is a day/night mirror that Mr. Chatak says is, “a real pain. It blocks your vision and is a safety hazard.”
Beneath the mirror on the face of the dashboard is a user-friendly AM radio. All the windows in the air conditioned cabin are of solex tinted glass. When the air conditioner isn’t needed, the power windows can be lowered for a convertible-type openness because there is no “B” pillar.
About five years ago Mr. Chatak had his Imperial running and took it to an antique car show in Rockville. “It wasn’t working well,” he admits. There he met Charles Tynes, a fellow Imperial owner who is mechanically skillful.
Since then Mr. Tynes has performed major surgery on Mr. Chatak’s Imperial and now has it running like new. “He made the difference,” Mr. Chatak says regarding Mr. Tynes.
Mr. Chatak concurs with one advertising claim made by Imperial and that is, “No dip, no dive, no sway.” Riding on a 129-inch wheelbase supported by 9.50x14-inch tires, the suspension handles the massive car extremely well.
Occupants of the Imperial can ride in virtual silence thanks to a pair of mufflers as well as two resonators.
At the rear of the car the trunk lid angles down to meet the rear bumper, making the fins appear even taller. A pair of backup lights are incorporated into the bumper.
“The trunk is big enough to live in,” Mr. Chatak observes. The round door covering the gas cap is by the lower left corner of the trunk lid. Its position there necessitates a sharp-turn in the filler pipe which can make refueling somewhat tricky.
In the last half century, the Imperial has been driven about 150,000 miles. “I’m proud of the fact that it’s mostly original,” Mr. Chatak says.
Thanks to Mr. Tynes’ mechanical abilities, Mr. Chatak says, his Imperial runs very well. “I like to take it out on Sunday drives,” he says.
About the Author
Taxpayers must pay the freight for over-budget train projects
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