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Murray Pfaff’s ‘59 Imperial Speedster is the Mopar moonshot that never was

In the fab ‘50s, when GM and Ford blessed America with tantalizing two-seaters, Chrysler failed to rise to that challenge. Who says that misstep can’t be fixed, no matter how many decades have passed? Certainly not Murray Pfaff, Royal Oak, Michigan’s most creative and industrious automotive imagineer with some 300 car, truck, and motorcycle designs to his credit.

 

Read the full article on Hagerty.com:

https://www.hagerty.com/media/car-profiles/murray-pfaffs-59-imperial-speedster-is-the-mopar-moonshot...

Replies (53)

Replies (53)

Amazing. Kicks Chip Foose to the curb and splashes mud in his face as it drives by.

Pit Crew

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I don't behold it here at all.

Pit Crew

I love the '59 Imperial, as I do many of Exner's creations. The Speedster does it justice. 

Intermediate Driver

It's wonderful and one of the great things about the Hobby is that people create things like this to enjoy and for us to admire. It's a beautiful job. Very well done.

Intermediate Driver

Two fools met; twice! this things a hot mess!

Passenger

The Imperial Roadster is amazing and beautiful,only improvement IMO would be a full windshield surround it looks a little awkward with no  top rails . And does it have a top?

Passenger

What a fabulous car! Creation meeting perfection and beauty all combined into one stunning automobile. 

Passenger

I want to love this, but I can't get over the front fenders abrupt connection to the door.  This is accentuated by the chrome spear that stops at the door jamb.  I think this chrome piece should have continued along the door another foot or so to where the crease in the door stops.

Passenger

The engine looks like it could take flight right out of the engine bay. 

Passenger

As the grandson of a Chrysler, Plymouth, Imperial dealer I have mixed emotions about this project. The craftsmanship is impressive for sure. Not a fan of the windshield, the wheels or the body size. Think the car would still be impressive with the body of the original 2 door convertible. I own a 59 Imperial 4 door that is a survivor car and was my grandmothers dealer demo. The one comment I always get is that car is beautiful and it is huge!! While I appreciate Mr. Pfaff's concept I always hate to see a good restorable vehicle chopped up.

Passenger

To my eye, this is a great creation and if it was manufactured in the time period it was meant to replicate it would have been in strong demand. Wish I had the money.

Passenger

Had me until the wheels....

Navigator

Love it! (Except for the ridiculous giant wheels and the unfinished windscreen, of course.)

Passenger

While I too might have built it differently (if I had Pfaff's skill, dedication and budget - which I don't), I certainly respect his design choices.  I guess the question is: what was his concept?  Is this a car that Chrysler might have built in the late 1950's? A 21st Century hot rod that re-interprets the design ethos of the 50's?  Or simply one man's dream?

 

To me, a re-creation of what might have been would have been more interesting.  To accomplish that, a full windshield surround, 15" wheels with Chrysler hubcaps and a vintage powertrain would be more appropriate. 

 

But hey, it's Pfaff's car and if he needs 425 hp and a 300 watt stereo, so be it.

New Driver

Fantastic execution done by talented and passionate people.  

To dream it is one thing (we all built those plastic models), but to execute with this level of craftsmanship is beyond admirable. Exceptionally well done!

Even if this is not within the scope of your personal area of interest ( I like post-war microcars ), this project still demands respect and admiration for the pure joy and energy apparent in the result ... and I can only imagine how much fun the builders had when getting together each week for those 4+ years.  

New Driver

I respect a builders interpretation, particularly when they put their money and effort where their mouth is (as this builder certainly did). That being said, when you create art for the public to see, you get legitimate opinions. I agree that the car is too stubby, the lowering of it and the large wheels may be better for performance, but I don't believe for one minute that Chrysler of the 1950's (and Exner), would produce such a car...particularly one without a convertible top. Kudo's to the builder, though, great craftsmanship!

Passenger

What about the '49-50 Dodge Wayfarer Sportster? It was a 2 seater convertible and although it didn't sell well it was still a classic.

Passenger

i have to agree with a couple other comments. workmanship notwithstanding, proportions are awkward, wheels are ugly, and worst yet, a barn find survivor was cut up to create this. when you own something, you can do what ever you wish with it. for good or bad.

Pit Crew

Some "works of art" are not to be messed with. As a '59 Imperial Custom Coupe owner I'm glad he did not find it before me. The original designers would be either laughing or rolling over in their graves.

New Driver

 A dream realized.  Sweet, what more can one say? 

New Driver

I think he took about 4" too much out of the door. Proportions are a little off. But I love everything else, But the Plaid inserts.

Passenger

Those that can, do. Those that can't, rant.

Pit Crew

While I appreciate the craftsmanship that went into this, to my eye the proportions seem wrong. This style of car needs to be long to make the design work, particularly the back end. The oversized wheels don’t quite work for me either. Just one person’s opinion.

New Driver

Too short...!!!

New Driver

This chopped Chrysler is a work of honest art. Don't look real. Maybe the hero car of

a feature length Disney cartoon?

Intermediate Driver

Everybody has their own opinion of what they like in a car, exhibited by what one sees on the road. In my opinion, there are many that were designed by the ugly stick method, knowing that someone would buy the thing, and then there are the most beautiful cars to wear tires that have ever been seen by humans. In my eyes, this is a beautiful car, excellently prepared, well executed, attention paid to detail, and I imagine a great pleasure to drive. I couldn't be a caretaker of this magnificent machine, the same as I could not be a caretaker of many others, because it would take a lot of love to keep it as it is, but I wish the new caretaker the best of luck in caring for it. Kudos to Mr. Pfaff for his vision and bringing his vision to fruition. Comments regarding other builders are offensive, as each brings something to the automotive world. Not everyone is a Picasso, DeGas, or some other artist that can now bring in fantastic $$. There are other artists that produce exceedingly beautiful works of art as well.  This is automotive ART.

Pit Crew

Murray showed up at my house one day to pick up a car I sold to his friend. Not to understate this vehicle which I love, but he is much more than just this car. He showed me all the custom trim and details on the late model Ram truck he was driving that he designed then had 3D printed. He is one cool dude, super nice, and he loves cars.  

Pit Crew

Simply beautiful. 

Pit Crew

Hot mess?!!! Look at that engine bay and interior. The "amateur" builder killed it! Another great story,  thank you Hagerty 

New Driver

Hot mess?!!! LOOK at that engine bay

New Driver