Our new Special Occasion Classic

1960 Imperial LeBaron

Vintage Elegance at its Finest!!

                   || Rates || Suites || Rooms || Home ||


Our 1960 Imperial LeBaron Sedan

We have a new addition to Haus Rohrbach to use for weddings and other special occassions.  This 1960 Chrysler LeBaron was a gift from my brother, Paul Wentink, who has owned it since 1982. The color is the classic powdered bronze.  These beautiful sedans are renown for their elegance and spectacular characteristics they were endowed with and there were only about 800 of these manufactured. These were the best built cars in America at the time. In 1960, this was one of the sedans with the most accessories in the world: you start with such inevitable “accessories” as the unique push button transmission, power steering and air-conditioning and arrive to such refinements as the Panelescent dash lights and the unique power controlled system of seats, controlled by a single, joystick style lever for all seat adjustments! Pretty impressive for a car in the early 60s! The Panelescent lighting system is an electroluminescent lighting for its instrument panels that was developed by Sylvania and includes a converter that changes the 12 volt direct current to a high voltage alternating current.

Carol and I love this car as it is similar to the 1960 Chrysler Imperial Custom that we left our wedding in and used again for our 25th wedding anniversary and wedding vow renewal in November 2012.  A picture of the white Custom is shown at the bottom of this page.  Paul also owns the Custom as one of the Wentink family heirlooms as it was my parent's car originally. The stories about this 1960 Chrysler LeBaron, it's rescue and rebirth are shared below:

One beautiful spring day in May 1982 Paul and his friend Wayne were headed north on Highway 99 in Seattle. Wayne was driving, and Paul was checking out all of the parking lots and used car agencies for the sight of an old Imperial. They were just entering the City of Lynnwood when Paul spotted a 1960 Imperial on the left side of the highway. It was parked a good distance off the road, but he could tell it was a copper colored LeBaron Sedan. When Paul announced this fact to Wayne he said “yeah Paul, I told you about that car six months ago!” he then added that at that time it had a For Sale sign in the window.

They quickly pulled over and ventured up to look at the car. Paul remembered that Wayne had told him about it, but he had not mentioned that it was a LeBaron. Paul explained to Wayne how rare the car was and that he wondered if it was still for sale. It wasn’t long before a woman came out of the house and asked us if they were interested in the car. She said that it belonged to her husband’s mother, and that if Paul was interested, the owner was at the restaurant on the corner called The Hand Out. It turned out that he owned the restaurant, and his name was Russell Davis. He agreed to meet Paul back at the car so they headed off anxious to speak with Mr. Davis about the Imperial.

The car was obviously original with the usual “1960 LeBaron back window problem”. From the paint, it also was apparent that the window had been fixed once before and the paint had been blended in. The car had many dents but none serious enough to warrant any concern. The car was virtually rust free. Mr. Davis approached and agreed to open up the car. It had new radial white wall tires on it. He said that it ran well, but needed brakes and transmission work. Russell said that his mother had learned to drive in the car in the middle 1960’s after her husband had passed away. Paul had assumed that the man had bought the car new, but he never was told. It was purchased from the Stan Sayers Chrysler.  If that name sounds familiar it is because Stan was a hydro plane driver and the Stan Sayers Memorial Park on Lake Washington Blvd was named after him.

Russell said that his mother had loved the car, and that when she was no longer able to drive herself, she would insist on her friends driving her around in it rather than taking their own cars. This was the reason that was given for all of the scrapes and dents in the car. His mother had driven the car to Reno at least once, but the total actual mileage on the car was 72,045. This seemed possible by the condition of the car, although the front seat had been reupholstered many years before with the incorrect material, but in the right pattern. Russell told Paul that his mother had always wanted him to keep the car as long as she was alive. At this point it was apparent that she would not be going out for any more rides so the car was put up for sale. Russell told Paul that he would not sell it to “just anyone”. A man that had been interested in the car was not able to buy it because he had mentioned the idea of parting it out. Paul assured him that the car would not be parted out. The price of the car was $1,250.00. Paul told Mr. Davis that he was interested and would give him a call to arrange to meet with the money.

Mr. Davis had insisted on a cashier’s check from the bank, so the following Friday afternoon Paul purchased one and arranged to meet Mr. Davis to buy the car. Paul's friends Pet and Larry went with him and took pictures of the transaction, and their efforts to move the car. Although it ran well, it didn't stop very well and the transmission shifted erratically. The radio, dash lights, Auto Pilot, power seat, and many other things did not work.

During the summer of 1982 Paul was able to repair nearly all of the accessories. He even made his own own reproduction front fender emblems, as they were not available at that time. They really turned out quite well! He rebuilt the brakes, and had the transmission serviced. The air conditioning needed a new compressor and still does to this day. Over the next few years he drove the car frequently and put about 20,000 miles on it. One year he drove it to Spokane, Washington where he met with Eric Ruud, who is currently a member of the IML. They had been friends for years, and Eric was considering riding back to Seattle with Paul for a visit. He did, and if he ever doubted his love for old Imperials, it was rekindled on the drive back to Seattle. The old LeBaron really was at home on the open road.


In the summer of 1986 Paul bought his first home. One of his big projects when he bought his house was to build a new garage to house his five Imperials. He had the ’56 Southampton, the ’65 Crown four door, the ’62 LeBaron, my parents Alaskan White ’60 Custom, and the Powder Bronze ’60 LeBaron. Within a few months his new garage was built and he was able to bring his cars home from the storage facility were they had been kept. The new garage held four cars, and there was an existing garage that would hold one. This existing garage is where he kept the ’60 LeBaron.

One Sunday morning Paul came home from being out of town as my neighbor raced up to him and asked Paul if he “knew about the fire!” He was obviously excited and told Paul that there had been a garage fire behind his house. Paul ran back there to find that the garage across the ally from his garage had burned to the ground. Also, the face of Paul's small garage, the one that held the ’60 LeBaron, had been badly burned. The garage door had burned though and he was able to see his poor car peaking out through the gash in the door. Luckily the fire department was able to put the fire out before the LeBaron was destroyed, but it did suffer some paint damage, and the garage had to be repaired. That day Paul took the car out, washed it, and drove it on a nice long drive. He nearly lost the 1960 Imperial LeBaron Sedan that October day in 1987.

1960 Chrysler LeBaron Southampton

He drove the car regularly until 1989. Since then the car had been parked in that same garage, until the summer on 2002 when he decided that he needed to either get his Imperials running or sell them. Thankfully, his friend Eric told him about the IML. With joining the IML, Paul renewed his interest in the cars. The ’60 LeBaron had sat long enough that the fuel in the gas tank rotted and clogged the fuel line. In August of 2003 he was able to clean out the tank, and get the car running again. The car still runs great. Paul also replaced the old radial tires with some new, classic white wall radials from Coker Tire Company.

While Paul was still running the car back in the late ‘80s, he and some friends had an odd experience when one night when they all got in the car and went out for dinner. They were in West Seattle, which is an older established part of Seattle. While they were in the car sitting at a red light they noticed an elderly lady staring at them from across the street. She was with a group of others who also had noticed the car, and seemed to be talking about it. The lady was so fixated on the car that as they came toward them through the crosswalk, she kept staring at them, and dropped her purse. After that, she continued staring until finally she tripped on the curb on the other side of the street. They all wondered what had caused her to act that way. Did she recognize the car as the one that belonged to her old friend years before? Had she been one of the friends that drove Russell’s mother around in the car? I doubt that we will ever know, but it is a great story.  Driving the car around Leavenworth gets that same reaction anyway due to it's beautiful and classic lines.  Some history about the Chrysler line is at this link.

1960 Chrysler LeBaron Arrival at Haus Rohrbach
1960 Chrysler LeBaron HRP Valley View
1960 Chrysler LeBaron unloading

It has now made the trip to Central Washington where it now resides in Leavenworth.  It arrived at Haus Rohrbach on March 8, 2013 as seen in the photos above.  Haus Rohrbach is the proud owner of Paul's kindness to give it a new home.  With the car being 22 feet long it was not a small task to find a safe place to store it.  We will now pick up where Paul has left off and begin the rewarding task of bringing this classic back to its former glory.  We'll start by getting a new paint job and prepare it for special occasions at Haus Rohrbach!!!

Click here to see Paul's stable of classics.

1960 Chrysler Imperial Custom Wentink

Carol Wentink Photo Caption

 Carol and Mike's ride in his Parent's Imperial Custom to their 25th anniversary wedding vow

renewal at Our Lady of Sorrows in North Bend in 2012.


     || Rates || Suites || Rooms || Home ||