Chrysler Heritage: The 1956 Imperial Southampton Coupe

Chrysler Heritage: The 1956 Imperial Southampton Coupe

Many classic car enthusiasts would agree that the second half of the 1950s was a golden age in Chrysler design. Credit for that goes to Virgil Exner, the legendary Chrysler designer who helped usher in a new design aesthetic marked by sleeker lines and lower, more aggressive profiles.

But one could also argue that in some ways the post-WWII economic boom was just as important as Mr. Exner’s vision. After all, without a thriving, highly competitive automobile market driving innovation and design, particularly in the luxury car arena, automakers may have been less inspired to push ahead with the same intensity into new territories of design.

Chrysler Heritage: The 1956 Imperial Southampton CoupeThe Chrysler response to the booming luxury car market was to give the popular Chrysler Imperial its own stage on which to shine. In 1955, the Imperial became its own division, and in 1956, this Imperial Southampton Coupe rolled off assembly lines to compete head-to-head with its luxury rivals.

According to the Walter P. Chrysler Museum, “For 1956, Imperial retained its distinctive two-section grille but sprouted modest, softly contoured tail fins surmounted by the freestanding ‘gun sight’ taillights first seen on the ’55 Imperial. The wheelbase was stretched to 133 inches (338 cm). Inside, Imperial’s instrument panel incorporated Chrysler’s new pushbutton automatic transmission gear selector.”

1956 Imperial Southampton Coupe | Vehicle Specs

  • Wheelbase: 133 inches
  • Length: 230 inches
  • Weight: 4,530 lbs.
  • Engine: Overhead valve “Firepower” V-8 hemispherical head
  • Horsepower: 280
  • Displacement: 354 cubic inches (5.8L)
  • Transmission: Powerflite two-speed automatic
  • Base Price: $4,700

Chrysler Heritage: The 1956 Imperial Southampton Coupe

Have you come across an Imperial Southampton Coupe? Let us know! Please leave your response in the comments section below.

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