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The Imperial Speedster in progress to become the Imperial Evolution

Pfaff Reimagines One of His Most Iconic Builds

Anthony Bowe is the digital content editor of THE SHOP magazine.

*See a rendering of the Imperial Evolution and more photos below

The Imperial Speedster is a concept car by Pfaff Designs that Chrysler never envisioned. Designed and built by Murray Pfaff, this two-seat sports-car features the fabrication of Detroit’s most talented craftsmen and engineers. Starting with a 1959 Imperial Crown Custom four-door sedan, the body was cut into 46 major sections and welded back together to create a vision unlike anything before.

This garage-built marvel has gone on to win more than a dozen of the top awards in the country, including the Go For The Gold award, and the Mothers Choice Award  given to the top 10 cars at the SEMA Show. It was even featured at the Playboy Mansion in Beverly Hills, California, and has made the cover of 11 auto magazines.

With such a long rap sheet, it certainly makes one wonder why Pfaff would tear the Imperial Speedster apart. That’s right, Pfaff has totally reimagined the Imperial Speedster and is set to debut the new creation—The Imperial Evolution—this weekend at the March 1-3 Detroit Autorama.

“The Imperial Speedster has been there and done that. I could tell where it needed a few little tweaks and touchups even though it was still really showing well,” Pfaff told THE SHOP magazine on Tuesday, Feb. 26. “Once I added up the tweaks, changes and things I wanted to improve upon, I was already far down the rabbit hole.”

The Imperial Speedster took more than 10,000 hours to build, fusing modern technology and classic styling from the Motorama era. Pfaff's experience wrenching and fabricating the car didn’t make creating the Imperial Evolution any easier.

“With plenty of spare time to complete a project, it’s always down to the wire. I haven’t stood back and taken a long look at it. I’ll be seeing it for the first time this weekend myself,” Pfaff said. “I actually just made my last trip to the paint shop to pick up some odds and ends—bolting the new wheels on now.”

The iconic champagne and orange colors of the Imperial Speedster have been replaced with stately PPG Envirobase green designed by Pfaff for the Imperial Evolution. To complement that, a chocolate brown folding top and plaid accented interior by Shawn Paul Custom Interiors is being created, along with gauges by Con2r. Also Throttle billet rollers with tri-bar knock-offs from Schott Performance Wheels will complete the transformation…or should we say, Evolution.

Meanwhile, Pfaff is looking forward to Detroit Autorama for the fundraiser he manages every year to feed the hungry. Stationed in a booth called The D Lot, Pfaff raffles thousands-of-dollars worth of automotive products to benefit Forgotten Harvest, a nonprofit with the chief goal of feeding the needy. The D Lot will be 2,000-square-feet larger this year and featured in a new location within the Detroit Cobo Center.

“It will be on the north end of the same hall. Be sure not to miss it. It’s larger than General Motors’ booth,” Pfaff said.

Autorama attendees can buy a raffle in The D Lot while checking out the Imperial Evolution and eight other custom rides on display in the booth.

Imperial Evolution Sponsors

  • ALRO Steel fabrication materials
  • AMSOIL oil and fluids
  • Con2r custom gauges and emblems
  • Diamondback Tires custom gold line tires
  • Dynotech custom aluminum driveshaft
  • Librandi’s chrome plating
  • Pilot Transport vehicle shipping services
  • PPG Paints paint and refinishing supplies
  • Schott Performance Wheels billet rims with tri-bar knock-offs
  • Shawn Paul Custom Interiors custom top and interior
  • Sid Chavers cool slot rear window

Imperial Evolution 2019 Appearance Schedule

  • March 1-3—Detroit Autorama
  • March 8-10—Toronto Motorama
  • June 8-14—HOT ROD Power Tour
  • June 28-30—St. Ignace Car Show Weekend
  • July 19-21—Syracuse Nationals
  • Aug. 17—Woodward Dream Cruise
  • Nov. 5-8—SEMA Show