Me And Matty McGhee


I am a 17‑year‑old diehard Mopar/Jeep/
AMC/Kaiser buff who discovered a pink
1950s Mopar that I thought was a 1955‑56
Chrysler 300 back in the late 1990s. I
later found out that it was an early‑model
Imperial. I illegally entered the abandoned
garage that it was parked in, and I discovered
that it was a rare 1955 Imperial Newport
2‑door hardtop with an engine bay that was
all‑original, with the exception of a Ford
voltage regulator. I talked to the owner of a
classic‑car parts store, and he told me that
this Imperial had been owned by the late
stage and screen actress Ginger Rogers and
that it was purchased in the 1970s by one
of her fans and seldom driven. The speedometer
reads 68,476 miles, and it has 1978
tags on it. The interior is in horrible condition
but it has little, if any rust. The hubcaps are
missing; the 354 Hemi engine looks like it will
run with a little bit of work. What do you think
this car is worth, and is it worth restoring?
Matthew McGhee, Eugene, Oregon
The value guides currently show a properly
restored example as being worth about
$20K. However, the celebrity connection, if
verifiable, might double this figure.
To me, this is certainly a car well worth
a proper restoration. If you’re doing this for
financial gain, though, you need to carefully
consider the cash outlay necessary to do it
correctly, remembering that it will probably
take anywhere from two to five years to see
the car to completion, and all that time your
investment is tied up. Projects like this, when
undertaken without ample cash reserves,
are the cars you see on eBay selling for 25
cents on the dollar as “90% complete”. Plus,
you must remember that the celebrity history
demands a top-shelf job; anything less may
actually diminish the value vs. the present

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