In 1955, Chrysler established Imperial as its distinct brand, marking a significant shift in their approach. This pivotal year witnessed a complete overhaul of all five Chrysler lines, a transformation known as the ” $100 Million Dollar Look.” Thanks to the visionary design of Chrysler’s chief, Virgil Exner, the company rapidly shed its conservative image, ascending to the pinnacle of automotive styling.
The top-tier Imperials were built on an exclusive 133-inch-wheelbase chassis and featured a potent 280-horsepower 354-cubic-inch Hemi V-8 engine. As Imperial embarked on its second year as a standalone brand, the introduction of the Southampton name denoted the unique hardtop roofline for the two-door Imperial model. The iconic freestanding taillights made a return appearance, solidifying their place in Imperial’s design legacy. Priced at $5,094 before options, a mere 2,094 Southampton coupes were manufactured for the 1956 model year.