Too Soon For Irony? 1981 Imperial Frank Sinatra Edition

Here’s a rather rare car, with production numbered in the low five figures, and this special edition at only 271 cars. The 1981 Imperial was another attempt at giving the brand a chance, with a price and a level of effort to match Cadillac and Lincoln. To that end, Chrysler put special effort into manufacturing, including several technical checks and a final coat of wax as the car came off the line, and a 5 1/2 mile test drive. The cars also had some significant advances, including fuel injection, automatic climate control and a digital dash. But the piece de resistance for the first year was the Frank Sinatra edition, blessed by OBE himself. You can find this 1981 Imperial Frank Sinatra Edition coupe for sale for $2650 in Apache Junction, AZ.

1981 Chrysler Imperial Sinatra right front

Based on a shared platform with the Chrysler Cordoba and Dodge Mirada, the car retailed for around $18,000, a remarkable price back then. Unfortunately, due to major inflation at the time, Chrysler had a hard time keeping the price under control. For this first year, the special FS edition included a set of 16 Sinatra cassettes, along with a spiffy storage compartment to hold eight of them at a time. As with all Imperials, it was delivered with Cartier crystal pentastars on the hood ornament, door pillars and ignition key, and came with a spare blank key, umbrella, leather portfolio, leather key fob, and Sounds of Stereo cassette tape. This car’s Glacier Blue Crystal paint has faded somewhat, but you still get the idea.

1981 Chrysler Imperial Sinatra left rear

This car is said to still have its original fuel injection on the 318 V8, which is interesting since many had it replaced by a carburetor due to reliability issues. As a mark of progress, at 140hp and 240 lb.-ft. of torque, this car has similar power output to a modern 4-cylinder VW TDI engine. Unfortunately, this car was specified with the optional faux-wire-wheel hubcaps, although those were probably just right for the car’s target demographic. However, the overall design, with its knife-edge influences from fifties/sixties British cars, is actually quite successful, and certainly more restrained than the Cadillacs and Lincolns with which it competed.

1981 Chrysler Imperial Sinatra interior

Here’s what you got for your extra $2000 over the standard Imperial – blue paint, a blue interior, a storage compartment, and 16 cassettes. Wait, what? This car is said to have had seat covers its entire life – hopefully that’s the stained material seen on the seats in this picture, so they can be easily tossed in the garbage. It’s not clear if the cassettes are included, so who knows if you’ll be able to drive around the neighborhood blasting “I Did It My Way”. Are you enough of a fan of Old Blue Eyes to put yourself through this driving experience?


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One Response to “Too Soon For Irony? 1981 Imperial Frank Sinatra Edition”

  1. steve in podunk Says:

    I’d want an 8-track player in mine.

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