Imperial Home Page -> Imperials by Year -> 1931 -> A CG Convertible at Auction
This is a magnificent example that came up for Auction in March 2009
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Here is what the Auction listing had to say about this amazing car:
1931 Chrysler CG Imperial Convertible Victoria by Waterhouse
125 bhp, 384.8 cu. in. eight-cylinder L-head engine, four-speed manual overdrive transmission with free-wheeling, solid front axle and live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 145"
Although the first car to bear Walter Chrysler's name was a medium-priced six, within two years the upwardly-mobile automaker had added a lower-priced four, in effect an improved Maxwell, and a high-end model, the E-80 Imperial. Selling for $2,645 to $3,695 for production styles, the Imperial competed directly with the Packard Six and the lower-priced Cadillacs. Chrysler applied distinctive touches to the Imperial to set it apart from other models, including bullet headlights and a scalloped radiator and hood reminiscent of Vauxhall. The engine, while resembling that of the popular G-70, was larger, of Packard proportions, and the wheelbase was stretched nearly eight inches. Six production body styles were offered, along with two long-wheelbase catalog customs, a landaulet and a town car. Model year sales of 9,114 were respectable, though no threat to either rival.
Additional Imperial body styles were introduced in 1927, and in 1928, in addition to production bodies, custom styles from LeBaron, Dietrich and Locke were cataloged on four different wheelbases. Prices of the custom-bodied cars ranged upwards to $6,795. The engine was bored an eighth of an inch, resulting in displacement of 309.3 cubic inches and brake horsepower of 100, 112 with an optional high-compression head.
For 1929, Chrysler Corporation cars were given a "corporate look," coinciding with the introduction of the new Plymouth and DeSoto marques. Grille shells featured a thin band of chrome around the perimeter, which gave them a lighter, more intricate look. The Imperial's scallop motif was continued, although with the thinner shell it was less prominent. Imperials were all now on a longer, 136-inch wheelbase. 1930 brought a new four-speed transmission.
In July 1930, Chrysler introduced the Series CG Imperial. A vastly different automobile, it was larger than its predecessor, riding a 145-inch wheelbase. The appearance had been completely transformed to what we now recognize as a classic icon. The radiator shell had become a grille, boldly set out and canted back at a rakish angle. A wire mesh screen defined its forward surface, and a long hood gave extra prominence to the nose. Fenders were given flowing curves, the visual cue replicated in the Duesenberg-like bumpers, and headlights became sleeker. Moreover, the upscale Chryslers had a new heart. In place of the old 309 cubic inch six was an all-new straight eight, the configuration now favored in the industry. Actually, there were no fewer than four different Chrysler eights, but the Imperial got only the largest, a 384.8 cubic inch, nine-main unit making 125 bhp. The Imperial line had been expanded, too. Included were four "production" bodies by Briggs and four cataloged custom styles. In addition, one could order various individual customs for construction on the Imperial chassis. The semi-custom bodies, roadster, coupe, convertible coupe and dual-cowl phaeton, were all furnished by LeBaron.
While the vast majority of the Waterhouse Convertible Victorias were mounted on senior Packard chassis, the popularity of the design led to orders from other major manufacturers. A few ended up on Chrysler's new CG Imperial chassis. According to Chrysler's build records – a copy of which accompany this sale – this car was delivered to Waterhouse in Webster, MA on October 17, 1930.
No records survive of the original, or very early, owners, however this example is well known among the members of the Classic Car Club. In the fifties or early sixties, the car was owned by Robert Wittenberg from Mequon, WI. The next owner, believed to have been in the sixties or early 1970s, was Darryl Fuchness – who sold the car to Tom Monaghan for his Domino's Museum in Ann Arbor, MI.
When the Domino's museum was sold at auction in 1994, this handsome Waterhouse Chrysler was purchased by the late Bud Mick, a well known Ann Arbor collector. Mick kept the car until the early 2000s, when he sold it to noted collector Ethel Lanaux of New Orleans, LA.
Ms. Lanaux commissioned Michigan restorer Bob Ansalone to undertake a comprehensive professional restoration, finishing the car in several shades of aubergine. Upon completion, the car was debuted at Pebble Beach, where it won third in class. An incredible roster of awards followed, including:
2006 - Best in Class - Glenmoor
Finally, on April 17, 2008, the big Chrysler was acquired by John O'Quinn for his growing collection in Houston Texas.
There is little doubt that Chrysler's CG Imperials are among the best looking chassis of the classic era. Combined with what most believe to be one of the best coachbuilt bodies, the result is truly striking indeed. With its fresh restoration, the car remains in very high point condition today and represents a rare opportunity to acquire a truly outstanding Full Classic.
Pictures and Descriptive text courtesy of RemarkableCars.com
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