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1939 C24 Chrysler Imperial Custom Parade Phaeton
As of October 2009, this car is for sale. You can Click Here for more information. See new pics below.
This car was originally built for the 1939 New York World’s Fair as its official greeting and parade car. Given that the car was already in New York, it was selected to be used for the King and Queen’s official parade. It was also part of the display at the Chrysler Pavilion at the Fair.
Chrysler contracted Derham to build a 1940 Chrysler Imperial Parade Phaeton, when the 1940 car was completed, the 1939 Imperial was returned to Chrysler in Detroit and was kept in the Executive Garage to be used in parades with visiting dignitaries. Franklin D. Roosevelt and his wife actually toured the Chrysler Tank facility along with K.T Keller in the car in 1942. The car was also used at many parades across the country.
When Chrysler constructed the three new 1952 Chrysler Imperial parade cars, both the 1939 and the 1940 parade cars became surplus. The 1940 was given to the Henry Ford Museum, where it still resides, and the 1939 was given to the Roose Vanker American Legion post in Detroit. The fact that KT Keller was the post Commander was probably the reason why.
Bruce Thomas who has worked for Chrysler since 1946 tried to purchase the car when he first became employed there. It was unavailable at that time. When the car was available, it went to the Roose Vanker Post. Bruce attended the annual meetings each year trying to get the post to sell him the car. Each year he was met with the same response, “no, not this year, we will look at it next year”. Bruce even tried to trade the Detroit 1952 Imperial Parade car that he had acquired for the 1939, but it wasn’t to be. Bruce gave up on the car when he moved to Australia in 1974 as he was unable to attend the annual meetings. In 1984 just after purchasing a 1939 Chrysler Imperial Bohman and Schwartz Station Wagon, it got him thinking about the 1939 Imperial parade car. Contact was made with the Post and given that the car had not been used for years, and declining post membership, they agreed to sell him the car.
The car had only covered a mere 20,000 miles from new, but the paint and trim really needed to be freshened up, as well as the usual mechanical items that time catches up with. The work was completed 1n 1990 and the car has been displayed at Meadowbrook where it won the “Most significant Chrysler” it has also been on display at the WPC museum as part of the “Beautiful Chryslers’” exhibit.