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1933 Chrysler Imperial Dual Cowl Phaeton

By Vern Parker

In 1933 the world-wide Great Depression was in its fourth year and the American automobile industry was reeling. Despite the economic woes of the era some of the most majestic cars ever produced emerged.

One such car was a magnificent 1933 Chrysler Imperial five passenger dual cowl phaeton that records show was built on January 9, 1933 and then was delivered new to Louis Marx of the Marx Toy Company.

That rare car was one of only 36 such models produced during the 1933 model year. With a base price of $3,395 it was the most expensive Chrysler vehicle. Beneath the lengthy engine hood is an in-line, 384.8-cubic-inch, eight-cylinder engine that is vibration-free thanks to Chrysler's “Floating Power” engine mounts.

On the home front during World War II a wide variety of commodities were rationed to the public including tires and gasoline. At that time the Chrysler was put up on blocks although the tires, with white sidewalls on both sides, remained in good condition.

As the war continued a Manassas, Virginia merchant was in need of some large tires for his truck. New tires were not readily available but the tires on the heavy Chrysler would fit on his truck and easily support the weight.

So for $125 the Chrysler was purchased exclusively for its tires. However, the war ended before the tires could be put on the truck. Instead, the beautiful car was painted bright red with yellow stripes and became a local landmark in front of the merchant's business.

Almost four decades passed before the car was sold to a new owner in south Florida with restoration plans in mind.

When those plans failed to work out a New Hampshire man purchased the car and he had it restored to like new condition in the 1980s.

In January 2014 Lorie and David Greenberg of Long Island, New York, learned that the estate of the owner was going to place the imposing Chrysler on the auction block.

The Greenbergs quickly moved to acquire the handsome Chrysler which stretches an inch shy of 18 feet long between the stylish bumpers.

While riding on a limousine-like 146-inch wheelbase, the Greenbergs report that the 5,435-pound Chrysler seemingly smooths virtually any imperfections in the road.

A black fabric top protects the occupants as well as the maroon leather upholstery. The exterior now wears an exquisite two-tone coat of gray befitting the regal nature of the car. According to the Greenbergs their car originally was painted Everglades red.

Outstanding luxurious touches abound on every part of the Chrysler from the chrome stone guard that protects the radiator and the Tripp lights at the front of the car to the steamer trunk at the rear which is mounted on a collapsible rack between the two tail/brake lights. The two side mounted spare tires are carried in cavities in the front fenders. Access to both the front and rear seats is aided by the full-length running boards.

The latest improvements which were available in 1933 are on the Chrysler including four-wheel hydraulic brakes and a second windshield along with wing vents for the protection of the passengers in the rear.

The driver maintains control of the three-speed manual transmission via the shift lever sprouting from the front floor.

In order to provide a reasonable range of travel for the car with a thirsty engine the capacity of the gasoline tank is 21.5 gallons.

Since obtaining the gorgeous car the Greenbergs have been showing their rare Chrysler throughout the United States collecting numerous trophies.

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