Abandoned: Chrysler Imperial with Shoddy Homebrew Bodywork
The top-of-the-line Chrysler for the late 30s, complete with Fluid Drive
I recently visited the eclectic junkyard-turned-roadside-attraction Old Car City USA in White, Georgia. This has been my custom for 3 yeas now as it combines relaxing hiking with the thrill of exploring an overgrown car graveyard. You can find my review here:
Combining relaxing hiking with the thrill of junkyard exploration, this hidden gem is a must-see for car and nature enthusiasts alike
One thing I saw for the first time this past visit was a 1937-1929 fourth generation Chrysler Imperial. This model was the absolute top dog Chrysler for most of the company's history and the name had possibly the most prestige in the late 1930s when this car rolled off the assembly line.
It's in rough condition and clearly has had some shoddy homebrew bodywork done in the past, which I'll get into. It also might have been painted crudely with a roller. But let's take a moment to admire these amazing proportions. With a massive 140 horsepower 5.3 liter flathead straight 8 up front connected to a futuristic 3 speed Fluid Drive transmission, this was a seriously fast and luxurious car for the time. These cars only came with the Fluid Drive transmissions at a time when automatics were still exotic technology not commonly found on cars.
They don't do hood ornaments like this anymore. I suppose this is an abstracted propeller. It's not originally from an Imperial I don't think so perhaps it's aftermarket.
This rust repair is hard to look at. It's bare metal riveted on in some places and in others it's just massive chunks of bondo. Such an expensive and elegant vehicle shouldn't be treated like this.
The area where it was butchered the most is the rear though. Awww, no, NO, NOOOOOO! Why are there hardware store trailer lights slapped on the rear?
And upon closer examination, it appears these shoddy custom rear fenders are designed to imitate the 5th generation rear. However, we know this started off as a 1937 or a 1938 because of the humpbacked rear trunk since the 1939 models went to a more swept tail look.
Like, just, please, no! The lower lights seem to have come from some OEM but they aren't original to the car. One clearly has a replacement lens. And the top round trailer light with tiny reflectors is ugly at best and blasphemous at worst. Who would do this to this poor car?
At least they didn't put the interior of a 5th gen Imperial into this late 30s one. Wait, they put the dashboard, steering wheel, and, shockingly, the gear lever out of a late 1940s Chrysler Imperial into this late 1930s one. It's got the original door handles and window winders out of the 1930s one but the door card has been recovered poorly in blue cloth, losing the texture of the originals. I just, can't they leave well enough alone?
I'll leave you with this shot of the front of the Imperial. For some reason this is the best front view I took that wasn't blurry.
What do you think about this butchered example of an iconic luxury car? I'm glad I saw it but I'm not glad that someone performed this bodywork.