Jun 06 2018

Autoweek Magazine: This one-off 1937 Chrysler Imperial town car hides a spring-loaded secret

Graham Kozak, Autoweek Magazine features editor and an AACA Zenith Awards judge, has posted this excellent article and video on Chrysler's Chrysler.


Howard Kroplick


This one-off 1937 Chrysler Imperial town car hides a spring-loaded secret
The car Walter P. Chrysler commissioned for his wife, Della, sports a unique anti-pestering device
June 6, 2018  Graham Kozak

Last week, I had the honor of helping select the winner of the AACA’s second annual Zenith Award, which recognizes the most outstanding restoration of the year (more to come on that experience). All of the contestant cars gathered in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, were exceptional, but so far as I know, only one of them packed a spring-loaded secret: the 1937 Chrysler Imperial C-15 Town Car by LeBaron.

This very imposing limousine was commissioned by none other than Walter P. Chrysler for his wife, Della. Sadly, she didn’t get to enjoy it very long; Della died in 1938, after which the car passed on to daughter Bernice Chrysler Garbisch. (Look closely and you’ll spot tiny B-C-G initials affixed to the rear doors).

Under that streamlined hood, there’s a 130-hp Chrysler straight-eight, but everything aft of the windshield is custom, with aluminum bodywork handmade by the master coachbuilders at LeBaron. The town car setup gives the whole thing a suitably aristocratic air; there’s nothing like exposing your chauffeur to the elements to underscore your social standing (though the car does come with both soft and hard tops for the driver’s compartment if you’re feeling charitable).

Inside you’ll find all the bells and whistles a Jazz Age titan of industry could dream up, including an art deco vanity for the backseat passengers trimmed in rare tiger maple.

And then there’s what you don’t see: an ingenious automatic window system that, so far as anyone knows, is the first of its kind.

When you roll down the windows in the passenger compartment, you’re also winding up a spring mechanism. So, when your chauffeur hops out to open your door (you wouldn’t dream of touching the handle yourself, would you?) and some urchin decides to accost you, a quick twist of the handle from the outside automatically rolls up the window. A solenoid-actuated setup locks the doors, to boot.

Check it out in action:



Jun 10 2018 PAUL DINATALE 9:08 AM

chrysler should bring back that window closing mechanism.  electric windows are ok but in cars that have wind up windows, bring it back or make it available as a “add on” for the older cars that do not have electric windows.

Jun 10 2018 JeRita 11:26 AM

Wonderful award Howard Congratulations

Jun 10 2018 frank femenias 9:45 PM

This is the first time I witnessed the spring loaded window in action after the restoration videos. WOW! This turned out a very smooth operation for a mechanically driven window. I believe this is how it originally went back in the ‘30s. Amazing what Chrysler was capable of that early in the game. Also amazing restoration work by Steve Babinsky and crew on this car. The paint work remains second to none, literally looking into a black mirror. Check it out for yourself. Very nice Howard and congrats on this gem.

Jun 11 2018 Laura and Kenneth Harris 4:45 PM

Thanks for the very nice presentation !

Jun 15 2018 Mitch Hackett 9:04 PM

Just great!

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