The Carpenter Family's

1975 Imperial LeBaron
Crown Coupe

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The most exclusive among the Big Three's 1970s luxury coupes, Chrysler' Corporation's 1975 IMPERIAL LeBaron Coupe was a rare bird when new. Consequently, it is almost extinct today.

Mouse Over the Photos to Enlarge.

Unearthing a pristine example of any 45 year-old automobile is quite unusual per se; finding a mint condition, triple black, ultra-low mileage '75 IMPERIAL 2-door Coupe is like winning the powerball lottery.

1975 being the last year for IMPERIAL as a stand-alone manufacturer of full-size land yachts, quasi-independent from Chrysler, the car for sale here possesses historical significance in and of itself.
The fact that is was ordered by a world-famous pop musician at the height of his career and delivered to his parents just a few days after the release of his 7th Gold Certified album unquestionably adds to the excitement. That man is Richard Carpenter, male half of the immortal duo "The Carpenters." The record was called "A Kind of Hush."

One of just 1,641 1975 LeBaron 2-doors manufactured with the special, $569.30 Crown Coupe Package (code #V4A), VIN *YM23T5C172214* was first registered on September 21st, 1975 to Harold and Agnes Carpenter of Downey, Calif. The cars owners proudly displayed their initials "HC AC" on a blue-and-yellow California vanity plate, a facsimile whereof is included with the car. Grateful son Richard, a noted MoPar collector, carried the bold black IMPERIAL on his personal automobile liability policy as evidenced by a couple of period State Farm insurance cards.

A plethora of documents accompanies the car to this day. There's the original window sticker, the owner's manual in its mottled beige-and-white leatherette pouch, factory warranty card, Chrysler Owner's Club card, Customer Assurance brochure, automatic speed control hangtag, GOODYEAR tire certificate, "Man in Detroit" folder, several old registrations, invoices and even a self folding Freeway map.

The majestic Coupe was sold by venerable Southern California dealership Moothart Chrysler Plymouth Imperial in Lakewood, just a few blocks from the Carpenter's Downey home. Loaded to the gills, the car retailed for an astonishingly high (at the time) $11,031.50.

Apart from IMPERIAL's generous standard equipment, with included conveniences like AUTOTEMP A/C, Corinthian leather, platinum-tipped spark plugs, catalytic converter, 4-wheel disc brakes(!) and automatic height control, the following options were specified:

  • PLX9 50/50 Leather bench seat with dual arm rests
  • A14 IMPERIAL accessory group
  • G01 Electric rear window defroster
  • N88 Automatic Speed Control
  • N95 Emission control system
  • P28 6-way Power seat, left and right
  • P41 Power door locks
  • P45 Power deck lid release
  • R38 AM/FM radio with search tuner
  • S13 Heavy Duty suspension
  • S61 Tilt and telescopic steering wheel
  • V4A Crown Coupe package

Above: close-up images of the aforementioned ephemera.

Naturally, this all-original car still features its matching numbers 440 engine # *5C172214*.

The big Coupe has been driven just 550 miles during the past five years, according to this service sticker, affixed to the windshield at 17,225 miles.

We've changed the oil with high-zinc Valvoline VR1 20W-50 and filter, went through the entire fuel and brake system, installed a new brake master cylinder, and had the air conditioning system serviced.

What else would you find under the IMPERIAL's long hood but the mighty 440 cubic inch cop motor? Mildly de-tuned to digest unleaded gasoline, the 7.2 liter engine was upgraded in '75 with electronic ignition and a cat but thankfully does not feature Ma Chrysler's notorious lean burn system.
Yes, this 5,000lbs behemoth can get out of its own way and cruise America's beautiful highways at a steady 80mph clip if asked to.

Engine compartment looks like the car came just off the showroom floor. All factory inspection grease-pen markings are present, all decals and labels. Hose clamps are original, too. The hood pad looks immaculate. There are no fluid leaks.

Not a hint of corrosion in the battery tray. The original Thermo Guard battery cover is pure unobtainium. In fact, we've never seen another one!

Above: some additional details of the show-ready engine compartment.

The Imperial LeBaron's body is gigantic by anyone's standards. Measuring no less than 20 feet in length, we can't think of another stock 2-door passenger car that can top that.
Note the unusual Crown Coupe option, which consists of a very attractive three-quarter vinyl roof with opera window treatment plus a larger rear window. As mentioned above, a scant 1,641 IMPERIALs were so equipped in 1975.

The big Coupe is sporting near new, very expensive, correct wide whitewall AMERICAN CLASSIC radial tires of the size P235/75R15 and factory-equipped, smooth stainless turbine hub caps on massive 15"x7" steel wheels.

We measured the Formal Black paint and determined with confidence that it's 100% factory original, with no blend-ins, and virtually no flaws of any kind either. It's like this car has lived in a protective bubble the past 45 years!

Perfectly preserved, original pebble grain vinyl roof.

Additional details of the exterior, including the hand-laid, ivory, dual coachline.

IMPERIAL's interior is every bit as immaculate as its exterior, as evidenced by the flawless headliner and sunvisors (passenger side features a then-unusual, lighted vanity mirror).

Vast black dashboard is 100% warp- and crack-free.

IMPERIAL prided itself for providing complete instrumentation embedded in a rich, wood-like panel overlay, not just "idiot lights" like most of its Detroit competition. Naturally, all gauges, lights and switches work flawlessly, even the CHRONOMETER-certified, electronic digital clock, the AM/FM radio and the power antenna.

Absolute high water mark of 1970s passenger comfort: IMPERIAL's button-tufted Corinthian leather (yes, those are real bovine hides) -- each seat is a deep pillow comprised of still smaller pillows as the factory brochure describes it.

Stunning to behold, front and rear seats look like they have never been sat on. The 6-passenger Coupe has never been smoked in and we're quite certain that nobody ate as much as a cookie inside this car, either!

Additional details of the pristinely preserved interior.

Flawless brightwork and supple weatherstripping are furhter hallmarks of this fine automobile.
Let's have a look at the luggage compartment now.

Trunk floor and spare tire are generously clad with loop-pile carpeting, just the right wear-resistant material. Any hard-working Cosa Nostra boss will appreciate the sheer size of the accommodations.

All orginal is the theme, even here.

Zero water damage or other mishaps to bemoan.

Clean, clean, clean!

Fully original, unmolested, unrestored undercarriage. Only in California will a car survive 45 years like this -- and it has to be a low-miler, too!

100% rust free floor pans.

Additional details of the fantastically well-preserved undercarriage. Note: all factory markings are still intact.

Wednesday, August 26th proved to be another warm and sunny day here in downtown Ventura and we were happy to take the big, black IMPERIAL out for a cruise.

The car starts, idles, runs, drives, handles and stops like it just rolled off the showroom floor. Thanks to power steering and power disc brakes on all four wheels combined with Chrysler Corporation's supple torsion bar suspension, the car is superbly maneuverable around town.

Nothing beats adjusting the Autotemp II to a nice, cool setting, flooring the LeBaron's accelerator pedal, pushing the automatic speed control's "on" button and gliding along effortlessly at any legal and beyond-legal freeway speed.

Around town and on the highway, the triple-black IMPERIAL makes a jaw-dropping appearance. Stunning in size and condition, it's a true masterpeice of automobile design.

The 1975 IMPERIAL LeBaron is the last of a unique breed. With it, you'll enter the realm of true American luxury at its zenith, just before ever-tightening environmental rules and regulations irretrievably altered the industry's output. Exquisite examples of any of the "big three's" 1970s luxury coupes are hard to find today, but a triple black, all original, 17k-mile IMPERIAL LeBaron Crown Coupe with celebrity provenance certainly must be the primus inter pares. Here's an unrepeatable opportunity to own the boldest and finest Coupe Detroit built during the era of Martin Scorsese's "Taxi Driver" and "Mean Streets." It's every bit as legendary and unforgettable as one of those immortal cinematic masterpieces.


You are most welcome to inspect this fine automobile at our location in Ventura, by appointment, or have someone inspect it for you.
Please, direct all inquiries to or call us at 805-653-5551.