Chrysler’s Custom-Bodied, Dual Cowl Phaeton Known as the Imperial 8
By the time this 1933 Chrysler Imperial was produced, Walter P. Chrysler and his company had already enjoyed a string of successes. Mr. Chrysler was Time magazine’s Man of the Year for 1928, and the company’s fleet of vehicles included the Dodge, DeSoto, Plymouth, and Chrysler’s top-of-the-line vehicle, the Imperial.
The new Imperial was offered in two sub-series: a standard line with production Briggs-built bodies and a more prestigious custom line featuring semi-custom bodies, finished to order. LeBaron Carrossiers designed and built all but one of the Imperial “catalog custom” styles. This particular vehicle is a LeBaron custom body. There were only 151 custom Imperials made, and just 36 of those were Dual Cowl Phaetons. This car is one of fewer than 20 still in existence.
An Industry Titan
Walter P. Chrysler was 36 years old when he got into the automotive business, joining General Motors as manager of the Buick plant in Flint, Michigan. There, he overhauled the manufacturing process and tripled production.
Later he became president of Buick. After resigning that position, he went on to found the Chrysler Corporation in 1925.
The ‘Imperial 8’
A prime selling point of the 1933 Chrysler Imperial was the new nine-bearing, straight-eight engine, which was larger than anything ever produced by DeSoto or Dodge. Marketing materials referred to this generation of Chryslers as the “Imperial 8” due to the engines.
Design features of this luxury model include a nearly six-foot-long cowl-less hood. The Chrysler’s flared fenders extend into full-length running boards with dual side-mount spare tires. Six wire wheels were listed on the vehicle’s parts specification to account for the extra pair.
1933 Chrysler Imperial LeBaron Specs:
- 384 cubic inch, inline 8-cylinder engine
- 135 hp
- Three-speed Synchromesh transmission
- Leaf spring and beam axle front suspension
- Four-wheel, hydraulically-actuated drum brakes
- Nine main bearings
- 146-inch chassis
- Top speed of more than 95 mph
- LeBaron custom body
- One of fewer than 20 still in existence
A Recent Restoration
A Pebble Beach Debut
The restored car made its debut at the 2022 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. We are pleased to say it was awarded 2nd Place in Class C: American Classic.