Driven: 1969 Chrysler Imperial Sedan

I must confess that I have a newfound affection for fuselage-era Chryslers. Something about the way they look just looks “right” to me. From the headlamps to the tip of the tailpipes, I think these cars are just pure design gold.

I spotted this 1969 Chrysler Imperial sedan at Cars and Coffee in Las Vegas. It was parked a few rows away from the other cars, humbly minding its own business. No one paid it much attention, but I was smitten.

Admittedly, I don’t know much about old Chryslers. The first time I saw a fuselage-era one was on the blog “Old Parked Cars” where they featured a gorgeous 1970 Newport coupe that really caught my eye. Then, Cameron posted about the 1971 New Yorker he spotted earlier this year.

The term ‘Fuselage-era’ refers to Chrysler cars produced between 1969 through 1973. These cars share some common design elements across Chrysler’s entire line in the Imperial, New Yorker, and the Newport. You’ll notice that they all have recessed headlamps, subtle use of chrome, and somewhat subdued exteriors.

With other cars, the styling reflected trends of their respective times. Ugly bumpers? It’s gotta be a 1970s car. Big tailfins? It’s gotta be a 1950s car. But with these cars, Chrysler held back on the wild designs and in doing so, created cars that look quite handsome today.

The large body panels have a dominant look that you just don’t see in cars anymore. As the top of the line model for its time, this Imperial would have ferried passengers around town or on road trips like no other. At a time when the average price for gasoline was just 35 cents per gallon, it would cost a mere $8.40 to fill up.

Call it what you want: a barge, a land yacht, a tank, a rolling environmental disaster. I call it: beautiful. I’m just glad someone out there in Las Vegas is keeping this thing on the road.