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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.
He later became president of Buick, and after resigning that position 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 6-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
- Nine Main Bearings
- 146-Inch Chassis
- 135 HP
- Three-Speed Synchromesh Transmission
- Leaf Spring and Beam Axle Front Suspension
- Leaf Spring and Live Axle Rear Suspension
- Four-Wheel Hydraulically-Actuated Drum Brakes
- Top Speed 0f more than 95 MPH
- LeBaron Custom Body
- 1 of fewer than 20 still in existence