29 April 2000
1931 CHRYSLER MODEL CG IMPERIAL DUAL COWL PHAETON
COACHWORK IN THE STYLE OF LeBARON
Serial No. 7802482
Engine No. CG 3520
Red with dark red leather interior
Engine: in-line, eight cylinder L-head, 384.84ci., 125bhp at 3,200rpm; Gearbox: four-speed manual; Suspension: semi-elliptic front and rear leaf springs; Brakes: four wheel hydraulic brakes all around. Left hand drive.
In 1910 Walter Percy Chrysler held a modest job working as the Plant Manager for the American Locomotive Company in Pittsburgh. In less than a year his talent had been recognized and the former farm hand and grocery boy was managing the Buick plant in Flint, Michigan. Within the next nine years Walter P. Chrysler would move all the way to the top, leaving his post as Buick's President in 1919. Following his departure, Chrysler briefly worked for Willys and then Maxwell, leaving both jobs feeling unsatisfied and even more driven. In 1923 Chrysler stunned the industry with record sales totaling an outstanding 32,000 units sold. The in-line six cylinder engine of Walter P. Chrysler was a smashing success and he was swiftly making his name a permanent fixture in the automobile industry.
By 1927 the Chrysler Company had gone from an industry standing of 32nd place to an unbelievable 4th place overall. Walter P. Chrysler had managed the impossible - he had gone from the bottom of the barrel all the way to the top by producing a quality automobile that possessed sexy and creative styling in addition to being practically engineered and strikingly inividual.
With the arrival of the Chrysler Straight Eight came the powerful performance many buyers found in the coachbuilt cars of the time. Chrysler kept up with his competition by continually introducing competitive automoblies that always utilized the innovations of the industry. With the introduction of the stunning CG Imperial in 1931, Chrysler rapidly became known for its beautiful styling. LeBaron, who was contracted to design the new line of Imperials, was strongly influenced by Alan Leamy's gorgeous L-29 Cord. The '31 Imperial, however, managed to look even better. Designer Herb Weissinger stretched the wheelbase 9 inches to 145 inches, put a slight tilt on the radiator, stretched the hood to give it its 'mile long' look, gave it a low V-windshield and most importantly, set it very low to the ground. The pinnacle of the various LeBaron body styles was the Dual Cowl Phaeton and only 85 were originally built. The unusual pleated leather upholstery that continued up over the cowl edge created a front and rear cockpit effect. The twin low windshields and the very low roof line (when the top is up) make the CG Imperial look even longer and lower than it really is.
Walter P. Chrysler felt strongly that his cars should perform and the CG was no exception. The straight eight engine propelled the cars to an impressive 96 mph top speed. Coupled with the unusual four speed transmissions and relatively low center of gravity, the Imperial is known by collectors to be one of the better overall handling cars of the era.
The example offered here has been part of the Driehaus Collection since the early 1990s. It originally started life as a Close-Coupled Sedan and was delivered new in April of 1931 to Nebraska City, NE. At some point during the car's history, the spectacular replica Dual Cowl coachwork was fitted to this chassis. The car is fully restored with some signs of age evident in the paint as it is spidering in places. The chrome plating is slightly pitted in a few areas. The Chrysler CG Imerial Dual Cowl is one of the prettiest cars from the glorious classic era, and this example should provide its new owner with many enjoyable opportunities to drive or show.
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