From the very beginning, Chrysler Corporation was dedicated to cutting-edge technology in their automobiles. In the 1920s, that meant hydraulic brakes and mechanical fuel pumps in place of vacuum tanks, features shared with names such as Duesenberg and Auburn but very few others. Early styling was stodgy, and the lack of an 8-cylinder powerplant kept Chrysler from competing on equal footing with some of the bigger manufacturers, certainly not GM. That all changed in 1931 with the introduction of the all-new Imperial 8, a top-of-the-line luxury car that could compete with anything from Cadillac, Packard, or Lincoln. Still, there was a rather wide gap between the basic Chrysler line and the Imperials, which is why Chrysler introduced the CD8. Powered by a 240 cubic inch straight-8 and styled by Al Leamy, with a V-type radiator, wide profile, and sporty lines echoing the designer’s Cord L29.
The larger eight-cylinder engine and availability of four-wheel hydraulic brakes endowed the CD series with sporting potential. A pair of Chryslers was entered into the 1931 24 Hours of Le Mans with Henri de Costier and Raymond Sommer at the wheels. A month later, Sommer drove the Chrysler CD to a class victory and third overall at the 24 Hours of Spa. Only 1,462 CD 8 Roadsters and Sport Roadsters were built for the 1931 model year, making these cars sought after today, particularly among pre-war racing aficionados.
This 1931 Chrysler CD 8 Sport Roadster benefits from a previous restoration and is refreshingly honest, with an appealing patina on the paint and brightwork. It is finished in a subdued color scheme featuring black fenders and a maroon body with a tan convertible top. Bright red pinstriping flows with the body lines and coordinates nicely with wire wheels of the same hue. A few minor blemishes are noted around the body due mostly to the age of the finish. The exterior is further furnished with a raft of accessories, including dual side-mount spares, side-mount mirrors, cowl lights, a rear-mounted trunk, low-set yellow fog lamps, and the distinct Gazelle radiator mascot. The interior is equally well-equipped with a full complement of dashboard gauges, a heater vent, and a period Motorola radio.
The lovely interior features tan leather trim along with a contrasting body-color dash and is well-equipped with a full complement of gauges, a heater, and a period Motorola radio. The upholstery is in overall good condition, with some character from age and enjoyment, and likewise, the canvas top shows some fading but is otherwise fair and functional. Beneath the hood sits Chrysler’s 240 c.i. 8-cylinder L-head engine that is well detailed in the proper green finish. It remains an enjoyable driver, with snappy performance and excellent road manners.
By 1931, the Imperial’s styling had trickled down through Chrysler, resulting in a range of lovely and desirable mid-market automobiles. Boasting sporty coachwork and a lovingly maintained restoration, this CD8 Sport Roadster represents Chrysler quality and style at its finest.
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Stock number 7625
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