At the height of the Great Depression, Chrysler relied on its range of entry-level cars to keep the company afloat. In 1933, sales of the flagship Imperial barely topped 150 units, compared to more than 17,000 of the six-cylinder CO series. Prices ranged from $750-$950, which was still considerably more than a contemporary Ford, but within reach for the upper middle class. For the CO, Chrysler relied on their tried and true L-head inline-six, which, in its earlier guise, had powered the Model 75 Roadsters to a podium at LeMans and a class win at the Mille Miglia. Despite its “entry-level” status, the CO series offered abundant features, a wide range of stylish bodies, and snappy performance – all with the quality and value expected of a Chrysler product.
This 1933 CO is one of just a handful of known cars to feature this handsome and unusual two-door Convertible Sedan body. Unlike the similar Convertible Victoria with its broad blind quarters, this body features rear quarter glass and folding B-pillars for a slightly more open yet elegant look. This example has been lovingly maintained by one enthusiastic owner since 1972 and presents in excellent condition with a charming character and honest, pleasing patina to the older restoration. According to accompanying original registration slips, Marie L Fleche of Berlin, New Jersey, purchased the car new in 1933. She owned the car through at least 1938, according to the registrations. Documents show the CO remained in The Garden State through 1972 when it was acquired by its most recent long-term owner, who held it until 2021. While in his care, he restored the Chrysler and, over the years, has had various updates and the occasional freshening to ensure it remains crisp and well-presented.
The taupe-colored paintwork is in good condition, with consistent finish quality and some minor checking noted on close inspection. Straw-colored wheels provide a pleasing accent that repeats on the pinstripes. The chrome and brightwork are in excellent condition all around, including the split windscreen frames, which were restored within the last few years. Factory fittings include dual side-mount spares with painted steel covers, wire wheels, gazelle radiator mascot, chrome trumpet horns, and chrome headlamps. Chrysler designers employed several design cues from the flagship Imperial to give the CO a more upscale appearance – notably, the split-V windscreen and hood panels that stretched to the base of the A-posts.
Inside, rich tan leather is used on the seats and panels. The upholstery is taut and in excellent condition, with a similarly inviting character earned through care and regular enjoyment. The bold and clear original instruments are in excellent order, along with proper ivory Bakelite knobs and good chrome hardware. There’s generous space for four passengers to ride in style, with the benefit of four roll-up glass side windows should the weather turn unfavorable.
Chryslers of this era were renowned for their superb performance, and the CO Six is no exception. The L-head inline-six makes 85 horsepower from 223 cubic inches and is remarkably refined in its delivery. This car benefits from regular care, and recent mechanical work includes rebuilt brake hydraulics, rebuilt steering gear, 6v alternator (with negative ground conversion), and a rebuilt fuel tank sender. It remains an enjoyable driver, with snappy performance and excellent road manners.
By 1933, the Imperial’s styling trickled down through Chrysler, resulting in a range of lovely and desirable mid-market automobiles. Boasting rare coachwork and a lovingly maintained restoration, this CO Six is ready to be cherished by its next long-term caretaker and represents Chrysler quality and style at their finest.
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