The Hershey Lodge
10 - 11 October 2019
Lot 398

1931 Chrysler CG Imperial Dual-Cowl Phaeton in the style of LeBaron


$55,000 USD | Sold

United States | Hershey, Pennsylvania



Chassis No.
  • Extremely attractive dual-cowl phaeton
  • Proven history of touring success
  • Classic Car Club of America (CCCA) Full Classic
  • Includes an original instruction book

By 1931 Chrysler’s Imperial had grown from simply an upmarket version of lesser models into something truly unique and special. It had been graced with classically beautiful styling, which was inspired by the Cord L-29, and was noteworthy for its massive 145-inch-wheelbase chassis and smooth 125-horsepower straight eight. Not only was this car big and powerful, but it was also a superb driver, with advanced steering geometry that made it surprisingly easy to swing through wide corners at speed. The term “driver’s car” is seldom applied to American Classics of this era, but it is wholly apt for the Imperial.

Drivers with funds to spare could opt for “semi-custom” bodywork that had been supplied by the LeBaron imprint of Briggs and styled by Ralph Roberts. With aviation in the forefront of American culture, the open LeBaron custom body styles adopted aircraft-like leather interiors that wrapped around the cowl and over the doors. Riding in one of the 85 dual-cowl phaetons built in 1931 was not unlike coasting along the ground in one’s biplane.

Surviving 1931 Imperial dual-cowl phaetons are scarcer than their 1932 or 1933 counterparts, with only approximately 10 examples known to exist today. The example offered here is considerably more unusual, as it is a right-hand-drive example built for the export market, where it was delivered to South Africa. Rebodied with its current phaeton coachwork many years ago while in South Africa, the car has been extensively driven and is a proven tour performer. The consignor, Mark Thomas, notes with pride that the car completed the entire “Re-Discover America” CARavan tour with the CCCA in 2013. This tour saw a grueling trip across the continental United States from Times Square, New York, to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California. Thomas proudly exclaims that it was one of the few vehicles to never need the trouble truck or spend any time on the trailer during the more than 3,000 miles of driving. Though, notably, the side curtains did come in handy driving through Yellowstone Park.

Immediately following completion of the cross-country tour, Mr. Thomas rushed his Chrysler back to Hickory Corners, Michigan, to attend the CCCA Museum’s “The Experience” CCCA event, where Chrysler was the featured marque. It was important that the car be at the event, as the phaeton had served as the model for the event poster by artist David Chapple.

With a history of performance, stunning build quality, and exceptional presentation, this Chrysler is extremely hard to beat. It is due for a fresh round of show appearances, or, given the CG Imperial’s famous drivability, enjoyment on CARavans and tours. The possibilities are as beautiful as they are endless.