For the 1931 model year, Chrysler introduced a major update to their elegant and luxurious Imperial line. While the Chrysler corporation had only been in existence for a few years to this point, they had quickly earned a reputation for quality cars of exceptional value. The Imperial line began in 1925 as a way for Chrysler to retain customers who wished to step up from their six-cylinder cars into something more grand and luxurious. The Imperial grew larger and more extravagant as they evolved and in ’31, a new 385 cubic inch straight-eight developing an impressive 125 horsepower was fitted to the 146” wheelbase chassis. The nine-bearing engine breathed through a Stromberg downdraught carburetor, as opposed to the more common updraft, setting it apart from other cars of the period. Perhaps the most recognizable feature of the CL Imperial was the seemingly never-ending hood that stretched over six feet from the radiator shell to the base of the windscreen. Credited to the industrial designer Alexis de Sakhnoffsky, this design feature hid the traditional cowl under a seamless hood, allowing for a clean look that greatly accentuated the length of the front end, giving the Imperial its striking signature appearance.
We are very proud to present this 1933 CL Imperial Close Coupled Sedan, an outstanding example of Chrysler’s last true Grand Classic. With the Great Depression closing in, sales were so slow that Chrysler only produced 151 1933 Imperials before the controversial Airflow took over in 1934; making this among the rarest of all early Imperials. The attractive close-coupled sedan body style had a shortened rear passenger compartment, with a trunk sitting between the rear fenders, rather than slung out the back. Combine the short rear end with the signature long hood and the result is a more sporting appearance than a formal seven passenger body, but one that is still practical and roomy enough for five. This example has wonderful look with its padded black leatherette roof, chrome landau irons and a matching trunk. Set against the medium gray paintwork with black coach stripe, the result is a striking and elegant sedan. It is nicely equipped with optional and quite attractive artillery wheels which feature large chrome center caps and chrome trim rings, and a split, bottom opening windscreen for cabin ventilation. Correct flex-beam headlamps frame the magnificent radiator grille.
Opening the door reveals an intimate and luxurious cabin trimmed in gray broadcloth upholstery. Beautifully restored heavy-duty chrome door hinges hint at the over-built nature that the CL Imperial is so well known for. Wood-grained metal trim the surround windows and the ornate instrument panel. Wonderful details can be found all around the interior, such as small pockets integrated into the headlining, most likely there for cigarette cases and cosmetics. Even the driver’s seat is equipped with a very unusual backrest adjustment, an interesting feature we’ve not seen on a CL Imperial.
The car has a long and noted history having been owned by noted collector Paul Stern in the late 1960’s and early 1970s when it was purchased from Mr. Stern by the father of its most recent owner. The car was comprehensively restored in the mid to late 1990’s and has seen little to no use since. A highly original and very proper car, complete with original serial number tag and body number tag “69” which were replaced during the restoration but are still in the files that accompany its sale. The car owned and restored by well-known expert on Imperials of this era, ensuring an accurate and well-detailed restoration. Paint, chrome, and exterior trim are all in beautiful, concours condition. The mechanicals are in fine order as well; lifting the long hood reveals a stunningly prepared straight eight engine with correct plating and finishes. The undercarriage and chassis are also finished to a very high standard. A CCCA National First Place badge is proudly displayed a testament to its outstanding quality and presentation. With its striking good looks, exceptional rarity and fine condition, this CL Imperial is an excellent value among full classic automobiles.