Now that the car was is order it was time to enter and attend some shows.
We started small, going to local shows and winning awards, but it wasn't the winning but the accolades received that was most satisfying. It seems that like us, others who saw the car were in disbelief. We started hearing the same comments over and over:
"this can't be the original interior"
"the rubber trim (windows and door frames) looks factory fresh, had to have been restored"
"the wood applique (on all the exterior door handles) looks brand new"
And the most frequent comment:
"this car was obviously repainted"
In addition, people were eager to share stories about similar Imperials they owned or were familiar with, back in the day. Throughout every show we would hear "I'd love to own this car" or "this is the best car here today". The Judges thought so too.
Here are some awards:
May 1, 2022 Annual NJ AACA in Denville NJ
Weren't sure what to expect. It was our first NJ AACA show. The car was well received.
People were standing around the car all day wanting to see the interior and learn about its history. It was a lot of fun.
We are happy to share that the Imperial won "Best Unrestored" in New Jersey. We also repeated for the 2023 show.
May 15, 2022 All Mopar Show in Doylestown, PA
We weren't sure what to expect here. It was our first time in attendance. There were over 125 cars including restored 60's Hemi's, a Superbird an original unrestored Hemi and countless other classic Mopar's from all years.
They were handing out the Class awards and passed right over the Imperial. We were surprised because it seemed like the Imperial was well received. We had a crowd around the car all day. Anyway toward the conclusion of the awards ceremony, while we were loading up the car, unbeknownst to us, there was one last award, Dealers Choice - Best in Show. We didn't even know about it, but we did hear our names being called. The Imperial won, Dealers Choice Award - Best in Show.
June 18, 2022 All Mopar Show in Califon, NJ
Again, we weren't sure what to expect. It was our first time in attendance. Was a decent showing of Mopar's featuring Hemi's, classics and a variety of other Mopar's. All told there were over 110 cars on the field. Again, we were passed up in the Class awards and again we started loading the car towards the conclusion of the awards ceremony and again we heard our names being called and again we won Best in Show. We were starting to see a pattern.
October 7, 2022 AACA Show in Hershey, PA
We took the Imperial to Hershey for the 2nd time to receive the more difficult "HPOF Original" designation. We had successfully received the initial level "HPOF" designation during our first visit in October of 2021.
For those not familiar, the AACA has a class for unrestored cars called HPOF, which stands for "Historic Preservation of Original Features". In order to earn the HPOF designation, the car must have a certain level of originality, including paint, interior, engine, etc. Judges poured over our car in 2021 during the initial judging. One Judge was in disbelief that the interior was original. Something not new to us. Anyway, we got through the Judging and waited to learn the results. After three months we got the "HPOF" plaque in the mail.
We went back in October of 2022 to to get the higher distinction "HPOF - Original", which can only be obtained after achieving HPOF status. The HPOF-Original distinction requires an even greater level of originality and scrutiny by Judges. Long story short, the Imperial is officially an HPOF-Original AACA car, just confirms what we already knew.
For 2023 we decided that we were going to limit the Imperial to a couple key shows a year including the NJ AACA show. As mentioned, we won our 2nd in a row Best Unrestored at the NJ AACA Show in East Hanover, NJ on May 7, 2023. In the meantime, we are showing our other cars at various shows. The Imperial is truly an amazing car. It actually drives better than it looks. We feel honored to have have the opportunity to preserve this unique luxury icon from over 50 years ago.