1930-1939 Chrysler Vintage Cars

2 years 2 months ago - 2 years 2 months ago #1000 by JP
JP created the topic: 1930-1939 Chrysler Vintage Cars

1931 Chrysler Imperial

In 1934, an Airflow Imperial coupe ran 95.7 mph for the flying-mile and 90 mph for 500 miles, capturing 72 national speed records in the process. Airflows were not flimsy, either: In Pennsylvania, one was purposely driven off a 110-foot cliff; it landed wheels down and was driven away. The Airflow's main problem was its strange new shape-and its initial scarcity in Chrysler showrooms.

1934 Chrysler Airflow Imperial Sedan

Because of the considerable retooling necessary to convert to Airflow production, Chrysler delayed the cars' debut until January 1934; the Custom Imperials didn't arrive until June. Lack of cars at dealerships blunted public interest and created rumors that the Airflow was a problem child, a lemon. Sales were underwhelming. For the 12 months of 1934, Chrysler built 11,292 Airflows-in contrast to the 25,252 cheap, conventional CA Sixes models. In a year which saw most companies increase production by up to 60 percent from rock-bottom 1933, Chrysler's volume was up only 20 percent. Thus, the division continued to lag behind its competitors for several years. With sales of only 71,295 cars for calendar 1936, Chrysler dropped out of the top ten in the production race.

1936 Chrysler Airstream C-7 business coupe

Detroit's lead times were long and it took several years to alter a plan once it was placed into motion. Chrysler had banked heavily on the Airflow's success to inspire the design and sales of its cheaper makes. For 1935 and 1936, in addition to the Airflow, the division offered the more conventional Airstream series which consisted of Sixes and Eights on wheelbases of 118 and121 inches, respectively. Though they were not pure Airflow in design, their bodies had pontoon fenders, raked­ backed radiators, and teardrop headlamp pods. Overall, there was a strong family resemblance between the two lines, yet the Airstreams weren't so far out as to turn off customers completely. They carried the division in those years. Meanwhile, Chrysler built only 7,751 Airflows in 1935, 6,275 in 1936, and 4,600 in1937.

The bulk of Chrysler’s models in 1937, and all of them in 1938, were of a transitional styling period sometimes called the "age of the potato." These included the Royal Six (with a wheelbase of 116-133 inches), the Imperial Eight (121 inches), and the Custom Imperial (140 inches). All the Eights were five main-bearing, side-valve units (the nine-main-bearing engine had disappeared after 1934). Chrysler moved back up into 10th place in production for calendar year 1937, but the recession of 1938 pushed output down to the 40,000 level for that year and again, Chrysler finished 11th. In 1939, when it built 68,000 cars, the division dropped to 12th place in the industry. Its recovery to a 100,000 annual unit volume was only beginning when World War II closed down domestic passenger car production in early 1942.

1937 Chrysler Royal C-16 rumble-seat coupe

1939 Chrysler New Yorker C-23 five-passenger sedan

1937-38 Chryslers interior dash

buttons on dash

The 1937-38 Chryslers wore barrel grilles, round fenders, and pod-type headlamps. Dashboards were ornate and varied; instruments were grouped in front of the driver for 1937 and in a central dash panel for 1938.

1938 Chrysler New York Special

The Royal Six, Imperial, and Custom Imperial Eights soldiered on in both years. A new model for 1938 was the New York Special, a hybrid car which used the Royal's 119-inch wheelbase and the lmperial's 229-cid-eight-cylinder engine. Distinguished by its color-keyed interior, the New York Special came only as a $1376 four-door sedan. A business coupe was planned but not produced.

1939 Chryslers were redesigned

The Chrysler line was fully redesigned in 1939 by Ray Dietrich. Headlamps were moved stylishly into the fenders, the barrel-shaped front end was de-emphasized by a lower grille composed of vertical bars, and all four fenders were elongated. Maintaining its reputation for sound engineering, Chrysler introduced, "Super-Finish," which was a mirror finish to engine and chassis components to minimize friction.

1939 Chrysler Royal Windsor

1939 Chrysler New Yorker

1939 Chrysler Saratoga

Several now-familiar model names appeared in 1939: they were the Windsor (a six-cylinder sub-series of the Royal), the New Yorker, and the Saratoga. The Royal and Royal Windsor comprised series C-22, powered by a 241.5-cid, 95/102-bhp six from 1938. All models used a 119-inch wheelbase except for the seven passenger sedan and limousine, which had a longer wheelbase. The New Yorker and Saratoga joined the Imperial in series C-23 on a 125-inch wheelbase. The top-line C-24 chassis with a 144-inch wheelbase carried the Custom Imperial. All eight-cylinder cars had the same engine of 323.5 cubic-inch capacity, now with 135 bhp. This power plant dated back to 1934, and would continue to be used in Chrysler Eights until the introduction of the hemi-head V-8 in 1951.

1938 Chrysler Imperial C-19 five-passenger sedan

Sedan prices for 1939 were: Royal $1,010, Royal Windsor $1,075, Imperial $1,198, New Yorker $1,298, Saratoga $1,443, and Custom Imperial $2,595. Walter Chrysler died in August, 1940, but not before he had turned over the presidency of his company to his chosen successor, K. T. Keller, in 1935.

Engineers continued to run Chrysler in the late '30s and although its cars became more conservative after the Airflow debacle, they were soundly built, reasonably well styled for the period, and offered good value.

1931 Chrysler CG Imperial

1933 Chrysler CL Custom DC Phaeton-DV

Recognized as Classics today are all the 1930-32 Imperials, the 1933 Custom Imperial, and the 1934-35 long-wheelbase Airflow Custom Imperials. Pre-Airflow Imperials represent the collector's blue chips and LeBaron-bodied Custom Imperials are the cream of this crop.

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Last Edit: 2 years 2 months ago by JP.

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