Jul 16 2014

Chrysler’s Chrysler Chronicle XII: Countdown to Pebble Beach-One Month

For the last 17 months, automotive historian Walt Gosden has been documenting the restoration of the 1937 Chrysler Imperial C-15 Town Car  built for Walter P. Chrysler and his wife Della. In the 12th installment of the series, Walt describes the state of the restoration with only one month until the restored automobile's debut at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.


Howard Kroplick

Chrysler's Chrysler Chronicle XII: Countdown to Pebble Beach- One Month

By Walt Gosden

You are looking at the right side of the engine and the top of the carburetor has been sealed off to help keep it clean after it was given a break in run. Note as you look past the engine the left side inner fender panel is not in place so you can see the floor of the shop.

The left side of the engine shows a clear view of the long thin metal box on top of the cylinder head that houses the spark plug wires and was a feature on Chrysler 8 cylinder cars since at least 1933.

A view of the dash board from the right side. Not all of the gauges are in place yet. You can see the left front door panel trim pattern echoes the style of the rear compartment doors. On most all town cars by any body builder these front door panels would be a plain flat leather panel with no extra stitching and perhaps only a 3 inch area of carpet to cap the bottom of the door edge.

The clock is surrounded by  assorted gauges on the left side of the dashboard.

The rear compartment vanity panel that had been restored and refitted for alignment was removed for a little more tweaking to the finish and also to allow the upholstery below and around it to be installed

Jump seats with new upholstery are installed.

The metal hardware for them has all been replated.

Right rear door - note the ridge line at window sill level is incorporated into the design to flow into the rear quarter panel.

Rear compartment "tunnel".

Steve and Mike look at the hood as it is in final stages of preparation before being painted. It is considerably longer then the stock factory C15 Imperial due to the custom made cowl/windshield area.

Trevor, Steve, and Mike look at the level of the finish inside the hood.

The stainless steel grille has been fitted. Every piece was separately polished and reassembled. This is not plated, but polished metal!

The running boards are made up of two running boards that were cut and butt welded together to achieve the desired length. the stock running boards were to short because the chassis was lengthened.

Floor board patterns are in place, and the rubber shift boot cover at the base of the shift lever has been restored/recreated.

The fenders and cowl are covered to protect the finish while the hood is being fitted. The hood hinges are in place for a trial fit and will be removed to be cadmium plated.

The running board/body lower trim pieces are made of brass and shown here copper plated. After proper fitting they will then be chrome plated. The largest piece is over 6 feet long.

The rear half of the car is shown, note the lower body edge trim. Rubber and stainless steel strips have yet to be installed on the running boards.

The trim runs from the running boards over the rear fender into the fender skirt. All has to be in perfect alignment to keep the flow of that line that goes 3/4 of the way around the car.

The lower trim wraps around the edge of the tail pan. The light gray brackets are to hold the bumper in place and will be painted black . They are in place to allow fitting of the trim which is notched at the top to go around them.

Wheels with the center hub plated. These are not stock Imperial wheels which were 5 lug (these are 6 lug) and the brake drums also have an additional stud.

Steve holds up a wheel - you are looking at the back of the wheel that bolts to the drum.

A close up of the wheel shows rivets that had to be cut so the center section could be replated and then re riveted to the outer rim. there are 13 rivets per wheel.

The wheels of the car are much deeper then the stock Imperial wheels by nearly 3 inches. Most likely this was done to support the extra weight of the body, and extended chassis.

The set of finished wheels . Stainless steel trim rings were also fitted to the car, so with the addition of those plus the chromed hubcap you will have the appearance of a fully plated wheel against the tires.

Tire Time! While we were there for our visit, the new tires were delivered. Steve and Mike start to unpack them.

Walt is laughing because it was just suggested he volunteer to clean the white walls! The car in the immediate back ground is a 1936 Cadillac V 12.

Tread pattern and proper white wall width for the era of the car.

Walt Gosden's Chrysler's Chrysler Chronicle I-XII


Jul 17 2014 Ted 10:34 PM

This is just too much for me, to wait to see magnificent car, the anticipation is overwhelming me.

Jul 20 2014 James & Gram Spina 7:51 AM

Gram and I are SO excited…We literally feel like WE have a car going to Pebble Beach!
You have done so much for all of us on Long Island Howard. You’ve turned our “piece” of the auto-magnitude in history into such a viable and excitingly relevant piece of the puzzle!

Jul 20 2014 Phil 10:57 AM

I’m waiting with bated breath to finally see the finished package.
Thank you for all the updates.
I’m curious about the make and supplier of the tires that are on those
beautiful wheels.

Jul 20 2014 T Abbe 11:15 AM

Best of Luck showing her

Jul 20 2014 Howard Kroplick 12:15 PM

From Robert:

Absolutely breath-taking, Howard.

Aside from Pebble Beach, when will we be able to see it?

Maybe over Labor Day at LRP?  I’m sure that along with the Lauren cars that will be there, Murray Smith would give it a special place of honor.

What an amazing story!


PS:  Auction of the Century is beyond belief, too.

Jul 20 2014 Phil Alderman 6:09 PM

Seventeen months! The restoration shops on television do a complete restoration on a car in anywhere from three to seven days. (The people who know me will appreciate the humor.)

Totally enjoying the process - the car is spectacular. Thank you, Howard.

Jul 20 2014 Walt Gosden 10:34 PM

Phil, the make of the tires is Lester Tire Co. , this is not the usual tread pattern you are used to seeing for their tires, I didn’t even know they had this available. Supplier was I believe Lucas Tire in Ca. the owner of the company Stan Lucas is a good guy and has some great pre war cars.
Phil Alderman - yes I do appreciate the humor, but you have to realize on the tv car restoration shows they can get a lot of work accomplished during the breaks for commercials !

Jul 21 2014 Linda Cole 9:42 AM

This car continues to amaze me in its beauty!

Jul 21 2014 S. Berliner, III 2:49 PM

“The left side of the engine shows a clear view of the long thin metal box on top of the cylinder head that houses the spark plug wires and was a feature on Chrysler 8 cylinder cars since at least 1933.”  To be most specific, the big Imperial straight 8 started with the 1931 CG Imperial 8 and that already had the “box”, as shown clearly on <http://sbiii.com/chryslr4.html> at <http://sbiii.com/autopix/31cgsag3.jpg> and on my own former CG on <http://sbiii.com/chryslr8.html> at <http://sbiii.com/imprlpix/31cgcc04.jpg>.  Sam, III

Jul 21 2014 John Hotetz 10:15 PM

Howard I was so impressed to see the making of the rebirth of this remarkable automobile. So much has gone into, and still more to go before the first showing.
I’m hoping to see you again at the Great Neck Autofest in September. I’ll be showing once again my burgundy 1966 Pontiac GTO. Lets hope for a perfect day!!

    John Hotetz

Jul 21 2014 R Troy 11:17 PM

Amazing work!  LIke everyone else, can’t wait to see the car complete!

Jul 26 2014 Tom 6:46 PM

Such great photos of the work in progress, the people at Pebble Beach will be fortunate indeed to see this beautiful car!

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