May 23 2014

Chrysler’s Chrysler Chronicle X: Countdown to Pebble Beach-Three Months

Historian and coachwork specialist Walt Gosden has been providing reports on the restoration of the 1937 Chrysler's Chrysler at Steve Babinsky's Automotive Restorations, Inc. in Lebanon, New Jersey. The tenth Chrysler's Chrysler Chronicle article highlights the progress made by May 14, 2014, almost three months away from its debut at this year's Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.

Remember our veterans,

Howard Kroplick

Chrysler's Chrysler Chronicle X: Countdown to Pebble Beach- Three Months

By Walt Gosden

The most recent visit to Automotive Restorations in Lebanon, N.J. was on May 14, 2014 and further progress was in evidence towards the completion of the car. The wood frames that hold all the door/window latches and mechanisms have been fitted to the door shells and click shut with the stability and confidence of a bank vault door!

The Chrysler is still in the upholstery section of the shop and three of the staff were working on different aspects of trim when we were there. Note that the tops of the jack stands the car is resting on are covered so they don't leave marks on the chassis.

The large table in the trim area where the master craftsmen prepare the material before installation. Note the large bolts of material and padding on the shelf.

Tight corners at the top of the front seat bound in leather trim took time to fit so the leather didn't kink or bind and then not flow smoothly.

The front seat back is finished.

The interior window trim is extremely thin and although cut to maximize the look of the grain, also made it very fragile and prone to fracture. Howard holds the door window trim up to where it will be refitted.

The front seat edge against the division.

The front seat back from the left side.

Looking from the front seat on the driver's side you can view the switch at the bottom inside of the frame as well as the inside of the right door panel that is now back in place.

Looking through the division at the rear seat. The darker tan cloth is the finished surface. The lighter colored muslin covers the padding over the springs in the seat cushions. Note that the seams for the headliner run parallel to the length of the car - most all production and custom cars saw the seams  in the headliner run side to side.

The rear seat has all the replated hardware in place.

The door latches on the right "B" pillar are back in place in perfect alignment.

Howard views the rear seat with its pleated hardware and center arm rest in final cloth. Note the wood floor board.

The rear seat vanity and buzzer on the left side.

One of the rear jump seats ready to be installed once the decorative woodwork on the division panel has been put back in place.

This door trim is inset into the center panel of cloth below the window on the rear door. Until it is refitted to the car it is mounted to a flat panel and held by small blocks of wood so it can keep its shape and not warp.

Restoring the rim on the steering wheel.

Tape covers the polished "banjo" steel spokes to keep them from being scratched.

The engine block has been cleaned and bored out 10 thousandths over stock to polish up the cylinder bores.

The crank and camshafts were cleaned and polished with no further attention needed. New pistons and rings will be fitted.

Trevor and Walt Gosden view the progress.

Mike of Automotive Restorations shows Howard, Trevor and Walt a piece of sheet metal he cut out of the front fender to replace it with new metal. The four fenders and rear fender skirts are painted and are ready to be reinstalled.

The decorative rear speed streaks just behind doors on the quarter panel.

The newly fabricated cap at the leading edge of the roof just above the division window. The holes you see will accept screws that hold the rain gutter on when it is installed.

This shows the door handles and door lock in place as well as the polished stainless steel  trim around the window on the rear door. Note the reflection in the paint!

A very proud and happy Chrysler owner.


May 24 2014 Ted 9:55 PM

It’s seems like a never ending job, but it’s getting there, slowly but surely ,piece by piece and at he end it will be well worth the long wait, for this work of excellence.

May 24 2014 Roger Price 10:42 PM

All I can say is MAGNIFICENT!  You must be incredibly proud.

May 24 2014 roger 10:59 PM


May 24 2014 R Troy 11:16 PM

Beautiful work.

May 25 2014 S. Berliner, III 12:27 AM

WOW!  You just might win First in Show at the Beach!  Love that Imperial 8 engine; it’s the same as I had in my ‘31 Imperial CG.  As to your so-called “rear seat vanity” and “decorative rear speed streaks just behind doors on the quarter panel”, as I recall the car, those hid “hidey-holes” that allowed Mrs. C. to peek out without being seen.  Sam, III

May 25 2014 frank femenias 12:56 AM

Man, that looks like a lot of work! And coming along beautifully. Hey, the driver’s side center speed streak looks a little off! The passenger’s is ok.

May 25 2014 Ken Wiebke 2:25 AM

Great narrative of the facinating process. 
Actually being done quite fast as restorations go.

May 25 2014 Dave Fischer 10:52 AM

Howard, you have done it again, this time, restoring the once beautiful Chryslers Chrysler to its beauty today!  Please stay well, sorry you are a Mets fan, but we all can’t be right….just kidding, they are playing better than the Yankees…........

May 25 2014 Phil 10:57 AM

The progress is great, might seem slow and tedious at times, but that is expected
when aiming for perfection. Great job, am anxiously waiting for completion.
Can’t make Pebble Beach, hope to see it sometime in the North East.

May 25 2014 Walt Gosden 11:29 AM

Re Sam’s comment, if the sphere shaped vanity at ear level is opened you find a beveled mirror inside - check previous posts to see the mirror and the date it was installed stenciled on the back. No view to the outside via these . Re Ken’s comment - yes the work is progressing very fast for all that had to be corrected or in fact recreated due to the poor condition of the structural wood and metal that came in contact with it. The skill level of the fellows that work in the shop, as well as their genuine enthusiasm for such an unusual car is what is making this work so well. From May 1st on they go into a work schedule that is minimum 6 days a week sometimes 7. No compromise on level of quality.

May 25 2014 Howard Kroplick 12:03 PM

From Robert R:
Chrysler looks beautiful, Howard.

The sad reality is that not a single person who gets to see the car will ever be aware of all of the amazingly skilled labor that went into the restoration.

May 25 2014 Wayne Carroll Petersen 12:21 PM

BEST REGARDS, Wayne Carroll Petersen
Barney Oldfield Great Great Nephew

May 26 2014 Bruce Adams 10:30 PM

Looking forward to seeing the Chrysler at Pebble Beach on Thursday and Sunday.  Please call me if I can assist in any way while you are there.
From Howard Kroplick:

Bruce, thanks!

May 27 2014 Steve Green 1:14 PM

As a fellow old car collector/restorer (not on this scale, of course), I too am very much looking forward to seeing the Chrysler out at Pebble Beach this summer.  Hoping that you and Roz will have the time to visit with ol’ Cuzzin Steve when you’re out here in Monterey County in the summertime. . . . . .

May 29 2014 Howard Kroplick 12:32 PM

From Ken P.:

Howard - Unbelievably beautiful restoration. Wow! I can see why you are proud.

Leave a Comment