1931 Chrysler CG Imperial Rumble Seat CoupeSOLD

RM Auction - Vintage Motor Cars at Amelia Island - March 10, 2007

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ESTIMATE: $200,000 - $250,000

$170,500 Sold

125hp 384 cu. in. nine main bearing inline eight-cylinder engine with four speed synchromesh transmission, leaf spring suspension with beam front axle and live rear axle and four wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 145"

The remarkable styling of the CG series Imperials was the work of LeBaron, one of the greatest design firms of the classic era. Founded by Thomas L. Hibbard and Ray Dietrich, and later joined by Ralph Roberts, the company established itself as innovative, creative, and responsive. Although Hibbard and Dietrich later left the firm to pursue other opportunities, the company flourished at the hand of Ralph Roberts.

Probably the most striking design in existence at the time was Al Leamy’s L29 Cord – so when Leamy was hired to style the Imperial, it is not surprising that the cars would bear some resemblance to it. Like the L29, the CG was long and low, featuring gracefully swept fenders and a vee shaped radiator. Although, LeBaron improved on the design with a longer hood, a swept back grille, and a more elegant bodyside treatment.

All Chryslers had a reputation for performance, and the CG Imperial did not disappoint. With 125hp on tap and a four-speed transmission, the cars were very quick. Additionally, Chrysler’s “Floating Power” and well-tuned suspension made the cars quite refined to drive. Technically, the cars were interesting as well, featuring a new automatic spark advance mechanism and free wheeling, both firsts for Chrysler.

The Imperial’s powerful new engine, when combined with the lightweight two passenger coachwork – the roadster – created one of the fastest cars money could buy. In 1931, Billy Arnold, a well-known racing driver of the period, used a roadster to capture several stock car records at Daytona.

Though there were a number of customs executed by other coachbuilding firms, LeBaron accounted for the vast majority of bodies on the Imperial Custom Line chassis. While many collectors are familiar with the sport phaetons and roadsters, few are aware that the rarest – and one of the most attractive – styles offered by LeBaron was the Rumble Seat Coupe.

With its low windshield and compact passenger compartment, the LeBaron Coupe emphasizes the natural good looks of the Imperial Custom Line chassis, with its long hood and graceful, sweeping fenders. The long wheelbase allows for a long, sloping tail that further accentuates the lines of the body.

According to Chrysler records, the outstanding 1931 Chrysler CG Imperial Rumble Seat Coupe offered here was delivered new on April 10, 1931. (A copy of the buildsheet is included as part of the car’s provenance.)

The CG Imperial was treated to a complete concours quality restoration in preparation for the 2006 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Having been completed just before the show, the Chrysler remains in immaculate condition.

While the number produced is unknown, only two 1931 Chrysler CG Imperial Rumble Seat Coupes are known to survive. With the other car displaying an older restoration, the example offered here is most certainly the finest example extant.

The CG Imperial is finished in a sporting yet subtle color combination with a tan body, and a slightly darker beltline and fenders; red striping was used to accent the elegant lines and curves of the car. The interior was also finished in plush red leather and the top material is black. Although CG Imperials were sold fully equipped, options on this car include the attractive radiator stone guard and correct metal sidemount covers.

With a remarkable 145-inch wheelbase, the CG chassis – Chrysler’s longest ever – provided the room to allow designers to craft bodies with superb proportions. There is little doubt that the CG Imperial Custom Line Coupe is among the finest looking cars of the period, in addition to being one of the best driving cars of the era. With just two surviving examples, the opportunity to acquire one may well be unrepeatable.

Reference Number 7356

as of 2/20/2007

Car 1931 Chrysler CG Imperial Rumble Seat Coupe
VIN 7802358 
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