Saturday, April 10, 2010
San Francisco Street Sighting - 1956 Imperial Southampton
This car is a 1956 Imperial Southampton coupe. It is one of 10,268 Imperials built for 1956, less than half the number of Cadillac Coupe de Villes built that same year (total Cadillac production was 154,577). It would be the second-rarest Imperial until 1975, when the Imperial name was dropped. Imperials were never made to be common. They were made to be the best car on the road, for wealthy customers with demanding standards and excellent taste. This example belongs to the San Francisco vintage car collector I commonly refer to as "Fifties Guy" because of his impressive stable of 1950s cars, all of which are in daily driver condition. This Imperial has slid a long way down since it rolled out of a showroom in 1956, but it is original and unrestored, giving it a level of character that few other cars possess. Part of me wants to see it restored in the factory color; part of me wants to see it conserved in this condition (visually). I'm not a proponent of making people drive a vehicle that is mechanically unsafe, so by all means it deserves the work needed to make everything function properly.