Yat Ming’s newest Signature model is the 1961 Imperial (don’t call it Chrysler) Crown convertible, available in white with a red gut or in burgundy with black. Both models will feature an included snap-on up top and boot, poseable side and quarter windows, steerable wheels, and opening doors, hoods, and trunks. All the hinges are real aspect, with spring-and-scissor units holding up the hood.
It’s a great call for the maker, as a follow up to its sweet Lincoln Connies (both ’56 and ’61 vintages) of last year. Like those cars, this model’s proportions and stance are dead on, and fit, finish, and assembly are good – very good, considering the cars’ projected price of around forty bucks. The presentation, on wide whitewall tires, is a knockout, and the chrome is a definite upgrade over YM’s standard issue brightwork – a real plus, on the model’s giant bumpers. Separate castings are deeply chromed and perfectly placed for the sweep that surrounds the model’s beltline, with tampos used only to replicate the trim around the wheelwells and the “Imperial” trim at the trunk, flanks, and on the front and rear. Even of those last two are hard to see, it’s nice to know they’re there. Overall, this looks beautiful on display.
Only the interior, which is cast in a cheap-looking grade of red plastic (arrrggggh!) detracts from this beauty’s first blush. Dang! Though a little bit of paint should be an easy thing to apply, those collectors who are afraid to split their new purchases apart on sight may find this a little off-putting. That’s a real shame, seeing as the castings themselves are great. Every pleat and seam is here. It’s got a flocked floor, and there’s moderate finger fun, too – the front seat backs tilt forward, the rear armrest comes down, and the visors are poseable, as well.
The 350-horse 413 (add .2, you fanatics) V8 is done nicely, with a painted block, plastic-cast wiring, and very nice overall detailing, including applied “Imperial” graphics on each valve cover. I question the white radiator, but this is another area that a capable detailer might attend to. The basics (and a few frills) are definitely well covered already – very well, at this price.
The trunk is carpeted in the same gray as the interior, and there’s a lug wrench, spare, and jack on display in car show fashion. Even the frame, despite being a fairly basic black plastic casting, is done crisply, with nice suspension detailing and a separate, silver-painted exhaust system.
Only a few glitches bother me – and seeing as I’ll tweak the model over the next few weeks as time allows, they’re far from deal breakers. First is that red plastic gut. There’s a definite session with an airbrush in its future. Second is the terrible fitment of the side windows. In top-down mode, they barely reach the trailing edge of the vent windows at either side. In top up mode, they fall short of the top itself. Unfortunately, the fix for this is not so simple; I’ll just have to display the car with the windows in the down position.
The wheel covers are too bright – they should be more of a muted silver at their centers, with only the very outer regions shining. There should be red around the stylized eagle in the car’s grille. And, lastly, the “Imperial” badges at each flank should be gold, not silver.
Is any of this going to keep me from picking up the burgundy one? Heck, no. Overall, I’d give this one very high marks. First off, it’s cool – and one of my favorite cars from the era of fins and flash. The things it does well, it does really well, and the things it doesn’t do well are, for the most part, pretty easy fixes.
Yat Ming does it again.