A Slide Show ad on a 1933 Chrysler Imperial Convertible Coupe appeared on the Cars-On-Line.com website this week. Interestingly, the Slide Show reveals the classic car’s transition from a rusty barn find to a beautiful trailer queen. The results of the restoration are stunning. It is not often that you will find such an example of rarity, beauty and performance all in one package.
The redesign of the Chrysler Imperial in 1931 produced a classic luxury car for the ages. It may be considered Chrysler’s most important achievement in the pre-war era. The Chrysler Imperial Custom (CL and CQ models) would compete with Cadillac, Packard and Lincoln for the luxury car market in the U.S. Chryslers were already well thought of for their dependability and street worthiness. But after 1931 these Imperial Customs became some of the greatest classic car luxry cars in automotive history.
The LeBaron-bodied Imperial was singular in elegance because of its low and rakish design. In the roadster and phaeton models it featured a belt line that sloped gently downward in the rear. With the top down, it exposed the upper portion of the seatbacks giving the Imperial a trendy look which defied tradition.
The 1933 Chrysler Imperial Convertible Coupe is being offered for sale by a private seller from Melbourne, Florida. This particular example underwent a full restoration at the hands of professionals in the Melbourne area. (You may view the photos in the Slide Show ad to see the extent of the restoration.)
An investment banker, who is also a collector in the Melbourne area, spared no expense to bring a solid but rusty barn find back to its original beauty. It was an amazing feat of craftsmanship. Charlie Butterfield of Charlie’s Customs in Melbourne built the chassis and did numerous custom fabrications to bring the resto rod back to as close to original as possible. The chassis was boxed and reinforced, then sandblasted, primered and undercoated. You can see the results in the photos in the ad. Over $250,000 was invested in the restoration. Today the seller says it is offered for sale for just $83,000.
What should be interesting to buyers is that this car has never been shown at national shows yet. The seller says it should be considered a Number 1 condition show car. Most people would call it a trailer queen, only it has never been on a trailer. It has only been shown locally. “You could drive it across the country today,” says the seller. “You would probably want to trailer it if you were to take it to a national show, though. It does not have a single blemish on it anywhere. I’m retiscent to drive it for fear of getting a stone chip.”
This pristine classic is distinguished by its split-V windshield, rumble seat, driving lights and dual side mount spares. “We tried to use as many old parts as we could,” says the seller. “Yet we wanted to have the conforts of a new car.” The motor that was built for the car by Butterfield is a Mopar 360 ci V8 with Magnum heads. It is mated to a 727 Torqueflite transmission and a Mopar rear end. “You can see from the photos that you could eat off the chassis it is so perfect and clean,” the seller said.
Jim Turman, of Buchman’s Auto & Paint, did the body prep and paint. You can see in the Slide Show photos how the rusty barn find was turned into a glossy Number 1 condition trailer queen. The interior was completed by A&E Auto Upholstery with Donald Hayes taking on the project. The all-leather interior was done to an original look and feel.
One expert is on record as saying that there are only five 1933 Imperial Convertible Coupes known to exist. That was before this one was restored. Now there are six. From the records on the Imperial Customs built by LeBaron for Chrysler, there were only 243 ever produced originally.
Some enterprising car collector might pick this one up and enter it in the Goodguys Street Rod of the Year competition for 2020. It is that nice. Oh, oh … now we’ve started something.