Chrysler Imperial

Remember when ... Avis promised to upgrade to a more expensive car class if your reserved vehicle was sold out? This practice is taken for granted today -- if we reserve an intermediate (mid-size) and nothing in that class is available, there will be an upgrade to a standard or full-size car. Fifty years ago, rental car companies only carried a few different models, so it was pretty clear what model a renter was reserving! Yet there are times (even today) where we reserve a car class we don't really want.

This commercial from 1969 predates every member of the AutoSlash team but we can relate in some ways. We're always on the lookout for free upgrades and like the protagonist, we would likely be avoiding the Plymouth of the era! Of course, we're not going to do reconnaissance on the Avis lot to figure out how many Plymouths were available, allow other people to pick up reservations, and then swoop in to nab the upgrade to the Imperial*!

* We do reconnaissance on the Hertz Ultimate Choice aisle, let others pick their cars, then swoop in to take the Mercedes Benz GLC from the Prestige Collection at the same rate.

The ad does feature the 1960's stereotype that the Texan renting from Avis must be busy with oil wells. We could also be wiseguys and point out that the poor Avis associate always had a line but no backup ...

Waiting for the Imperial does show a low opportunity cost of his time.

So what's the difference between the two-door land yacht (Plymouth) and the four-door land yacht (Imperial)? Not all that much, to be honest. In the era, Chrysler was trying to get consumers to recognize multiple nameplates, so a driver might end up buying or driving a Dodge, Plymouth, Chrysler, or Imperial. The Imperial was intended to be a long-term competitor to Cadillac (General Motors) and Lincoln (Ford Motor Company) but instead is a nameplate lost to automotive history, just like Plymouth.

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