NYC's Imperial Parade Phaeton

… was brought out yesterday for the Parade of Heroes honoring healthcare workers and others who helped the city to pull-through the pandemic. IIRC, Chrysler built three of these vehicles, with one going to NYC, one to L.A., and one to remain in Detroit.

Under the skin, it is a '52 Imperial, massively stretched and customized, but Chrysler took all 3 cars back in '55, and re-bodied them to look like a '55 Imperial. This is the same car that has carried astronauts and military heroes in NYC parades for many decades.

Here, you can see the very first person who was vaccinated (a NY Nurse) in the parade car:

And, here is what this behemoth looks like in full view:

What a car!


Yes, I saw that too. Very impressive car.

Bet there’s a Hemi in that thing! :wink:

I’ve been fascinated by that car ever since I was a kid.
I liked it better when it was painted white, but nobody asked me what color it should be.

Yes, I did see the view under the hood on a TV show a few years ago.
Definitely a hemi.

Maybe with the dual-4-barrel option?? Big car needs BIG power!

On the other hand, it’s a parade car. Its mission requires it to top out at around 2mph. You could almost get away with tossing a VW Beetle engine into it. :wink:

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I suspect it had fairly low rear ended ratio, maybe 4.11 or 5.56.

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Parade run at a little higher rpm with the high numerical gears to keep the engine cool. Seems like a good idea.

While they had a ‘hemi’, it wasn’t THE hemi (the 426). Mopar had several smaller hemis in the '50s, these Imperials used 331 and 354 cid versions.


I’m pretty sure that the photo you posted is of its twin, in L.A., which now resides in the Petersen Auto Collection.
The only original difference was in the color of the leather interior. I don’t think that the one in NYC was repainted in black until many decades later.

Why the strap across her legs is it suposed to act as a seatbelt otherwise a good looking car?

Yes, that strap is intended to keep people from tumbling out of the car in the event of a collision.
I’m not sure that it is very effective, but…


First generation Chrysler Corp Hemis came in 3 different bore spacings with no interchangeable parts Dodge with dispacements between 241 and 325, Desoto, 276 to 345 and Chrysler and nd ys, it was the Hemi in its day with guys like Don GarlitsImperial with 331, 354 and 39 with the 354 coming out in 56 and the 392 in 57 and 58,

Yes it was THE Hemi in its day and all sorts of dragsters steeing record with 392s