When Walter P. Chrysler set out on his own in 1924 he owed nothing to the established design terms of American automobiles. As a result, his cars plowed new ground, adopting the best practices of his competitors but declining to follow their lead in design, engineering or styling. Through the balance of the Twenties Chryslers were, and looked, different from their competition but at the beginning of the decade of the 1930's Chryslers took on an entirely new look. They were long, low, sleek. Their low hoods accentuated the lean, low lines of the bodywork. Design innovation prevailed as changes were incorporated in a succession of revisions unrelated to model years. These early Thirties' Chryslers were distinctively different, instantly distinguishable from their luxury counterparts from Packard, Cadillac and Lincoln.
This 1931 Chrysler CG Imperial Roadster bears coachwork by LeBaron, one of the era's finest designers and coachbuilders. Its low, slightly raked and veed windshield perfectly complements the Imperial's similarly low, raked and veed grille. Finished in deep red, it has a dark red accent highlighted with gold coachlines, body color wire wheels with hubcaps and chrome lock rings, wide whitewall tires, beautiful black leather upholstery and interior trim and black cloth top and side curtains. A pair of sidemounted spares with strap on mirrors relieve the lines of the flowing open front fenders while a body color luggage trunk makes up for luggage space occupied by the rumble seat. It is a four owner car, having been bought new off the 1931 New York Show stand by a featherweight prize fighter from Hartford, Connecticut who went by the name 'Battalino'. Dick Sage, a nuclear physicist, acquired it in 1941 at the dawn of the atomic era, eventually taking it with him to White Sands, New Mexico and using the Imperial for daily transportation. In 1961 he met Norman Deckard who offered to buy the Chrysler but Sage declined although he remained in contact for a time thereafter. After many years of negotiation, a deal was struck for the 72,000 mile, two owner roadster.
After driving it for a few years Deckard began a restoration, in 1977 turning it over to Tom Holley in Huntsville, Alabama for completion, winning an AACA National First Prize and Senior Award in 1981, and shortly thereafter the car also received a CCCA Senior award.
It was purchased by Mark Hyman in 2004 for his own personal collection. We have continued to show it, redoing the interior in black leather and the top and side curtains in black cloth a few years ago before it was shown at Pebble Beach in 2012. The present condition is a tribute to the materials and workmanship of Norman Deckard and Tom Holley, a car that still looks like it was restored three, not thirty-three, years ago. The paint, chrome and glass are virtually pristine, the soft trim is less than three years old and the engine compartment is beautifully detailed and refreshed as appropriate for its invitation to the Pebble Beach fairway.
In addition to Pebble Beach, while in Mark's care it has been shown at Amelia Island, Barrington, Meadow Brook, Gilmore and other important concours d'elegance in the U.S. Its every need, both cosmetic and mechanical, has been met by the Hyman Ltd. staff.
The body is the original, as displayed and delivered from in 1931. Photos of the car with Norman Deckard attest to the nearly pristine condition it was in when he acquired it. The body is number 99 of the 100 built in the 148 LeBaron Roadster style, one of the last CG series built and it has the 384 cubic inch eight-cylinder engine, 4-speed transmission and hydraulic brakes. This is a wonderful opportunity to acquire one of the most attractive, distinctively designed, and highly engineered automobiles of the early Thirties with a known, and somewhat colorful, history from new with only four owners. It has always been maintained and never been abused.
Trades for interesting, important, beautiful and unusual vehicles will be seriously considered.