Jun 06 2016

Mystery Foto #23 Solved: Senator Harry Truman’s 1941 Chrysler Royal Club Coupe

This weekend's Mystery Foto documented a famous Chrysler which I came across in 2014.

Mystery Foto questions:

  • Why is this Chrysler  famous? What clues in the photo did you use to identify the automobile?

Exhibit poster: In November 1940, Senator Harry Truman purchased two new cars, a 1941 Royal Club coupe and a 1941 Windsor sedan, both in marching "dove gray" color. Senator Truman periodically drove this Royal Club coupe while inspecting defense plants and othe military installations as Chairman of the Senate Special Committee to investigate the National Defenses Program better known as the "Truman Committee." When he bcame President in 1945, Truman transferred ownership of this car to his sister Mary Jane Truman in Grandview, Missouri. This car has since been restored to its original appearance.


  • An image of Harry Truman can be seen in the background above the roof.
  • Truman's famous quote "The Buck Stops Here" can be seen in reverse in the background
  • The SNI-A-BAR Road sign. Sni-A-Bar Road is located in Jackson County, Missouri.
  • 1941 Missouri license plate
  • Identify the model and year of the automobile

1941 Chrysler Royal Club coupe

  • Where can this automobile be seen today?

Harry S. Truman Library & Museum, Independence, Missouri

Congrats and kudos to Gary Hammond (see Hammond's Historical Happenings), Greg O., Michael DiMartini, Steve Lucas (see Lucas Learnings), Art Kleiner (see Kleiner's Korner), Sam Berliner III,  Ray K, Tim Ivers, Dick Gorman, and  Henry Duke for identifying Truman's Chrysler and its current home.


Howard Kroplick

Lucas' Learnings (Submitted by Steve Lucas)

Steve Lucas: "While researching today's photo, I found the attached invoice that shows
Truman purchasing the two Chryslers with two trade-ins. "

Kleiner's Korner (Submitted by Art Kleiner)

The New York Times, August 18, 1968

Interior before restoration

Interior after restoration

Exterior before restoration

Hammond's Historical Happenings (Submitted by Gary Hammond)

Senator Harry S. Ttruman seated at the desk that is seen in the Mystery Foto.

Bill of sale.

Automobile insurance declaration


Jun 02 2016 Greg O. 11:35 PM

Harry Truman’s 1941 Chrysler Royal located at his library in Missouri. I was clued in by the desk and the reflection in the glass.

Jun 03 2016 Michael DiMartini 4:39 PM

The most obvious clue was the Jackson County marker for “Sni-A-Bar Road.”  The street name was easy to locate, and it clearly associated the car with the Kansas City, Missouri metro area. 

Comparison with stock photo images identified the model year as 1941.  Some further searching on the internet revealed that Harry Truman was the original owner of the car.  After re-election to the Senate in 1940, he bought it for his own use.  It is a Royal Club Coupe. 

The car was eventually acquired by the Truman Library in Independence.  To prepare the car for display, a full restoration was performed with Chrysler factory support.  Information is available at Trumanlibrary.org



Jun 03 2016 Steve Lucas 7:31 PM

That’s a 1941 Chrysler Royal Club Coupe once owned by Senator (and future President) Harry S Truman. A faint, ghost image of Truman appears to be suspended over the roof of the car. Today the car is on display at the Truman Presidential Library in Independence, Missouri along with the !941 Windsor Sedan he bought for his wife Bess soon after being re-elected as Senator in November, 1940.

Jun 04 2016 Ted 11:47 PM

Hi all. I’m still with you,been very busy with this move to Florida,not moved in yet,a delay with movers,am in Florida waiting for a delivery day. As for this mystery,is it that this Chrysler is the only 2 door made that makes it famous? It’s a 46,7 or 8. I had a 47 Plymouth and my neighbor had a 48 4 door Chrysler and there wasn’t many changes in those 3 years,a little hard to tell the difference between them.

Jun 05 2016 Art Kleiner 6:48 AM

Why is this Chrysler famous? What clues in the photo did you use to identify the automobile? 
This car was owned and used by President Harry S. Truman.  Clues include flags on front bumper, pictures of HST and other memorabilia in the display, The Buck Stops Here, license plate, roadsign for SNI-A-BAR Road, Jackson County.

Identify the model and year of the automobile
1941 Chrysler Royal Club Coupe

Where can this automobile be seen today?
On display at the Truman Presidential Library in Independence, Missouri

Documentation to follow.

Jun 05 2016 Art Kleiner 6:53 AM

Correction to earlier submission:  The car was bought and used by Harry S. Truman during his days as a Senator, before becoming President in 1945.

Jun 05 2016 S. Berliner, III 9:10 AM

Easy part - 1941 Chrysler (my second car) <http://sbiii.com/chrysler.html>, et. seq,) Club Coupé.  Look-up - Sni A Bar Road is in Kansas City - dead give-away!  Thus, Harry S. Truman’s Royal.  Displayed alongside his matching 1941 Chrysler Windsor 4-Door Sedan behind glass in the basement of the Truman library.  [His 1972 Chrysler Royal Newport 4-Door (pillarless) Sedan is still in the garage behind his home.]  Truman’s cars were always maintained immaculately!  Sam (the Chrysler kid), III

Jun 05 2016 Ray K 12:21 PM

The car is a ‘41 Chrysler Royal Club Coupe finished in Dove Gray purchased new on November 9th, 1940 by then Senator Harry Truman.  He had just won senate re-election and treated himself to this new car.  On that same day he also treated his wife to a new 4 door Chrysler sedan as well.  As for the clues that quickly drew me to these conclusions was the road sign, the desk (The Buck Stops Here), the Missouri license plate and of course if you look closely you can see a very faint image of President Truman reflected in the glass.

Jun 05 2016 Tim Ivers 12:39 PM

This was Harry Truman’s 1941 Chrysler coupe. He had bought 41 Chrysler sedan for his wife.  The license plate is “Missouri”.
It is now in the Truman Museum/Library.

Jun 05 2016 Dick Gorman 4:46 PM

Harry S. Truman’s ‘41 Chrysler Royal Club coupe can be seen at the Library in Independence, MO

My clue…There appears to be an image of Truman in the center background.

Jun 06 2016 Henry Duke 12:15 AM

This is Senator Harry Truman’s 1941 Chrysler Royal Club Coupe, now on display at the Truman Library in Independence, MO.  Bess had a 1941 Windsor 4-door Sedan. Both cars were restored for exhibit. They drove back to MO in 1953 in a new Chrysler Windsor 4-door Sedan—no Secret Service until 1965 for Ex-Presidents. A trip to the Truman home, and to the Library is, “Worth a Journey” (to borrow a phrase from a famous travel guide)!

Jun 06 2016 Ted 8:14 PM

Another famous thing could be the way the engine hood opens. The clue to identify the car is the emblems above the front grill.

Jun 06 2016 Ted 9:53 PM

Boy,was I off base on this one,had no clue it was Truman’s car,didn’t even notice the background plcture,until now,I didn’t look very good did I?,my mind is too much on this move,a little frustrated with it,living in a motel.

Jun 06 2016 Howard Kroplick 11:01 PM

From Gary Hammond:

• This is a 1941 Chrysler “Royal” Club Coupe
• Famous because it belonged to Senator Harry S. Truman.  Senator Truman purchased this Dove Grey colored car on November 9, 1940, and drove it until he became President in 1945.  It cost him $1,186, plus an additional $92 for the radio and heater, for a total of $1,278.  He purchased it from Lon’s Car Exchange in Kansas City.  He also purchased a 1941 Chrysler Windsor 4 door sedan used by his wife at the same time, and traded in a 1940 Chrysler and a 1930 dodge as part of the settlement for the new cars.  (see bill of sale & automobile insurance declaration)  The car is parked next to the desk he used as a U. S. Senator.  Clues used: the reverse image of “The Buck Stops Here” in the glass, and the “Missouri 1941 / 369” license plate.
• On display at the Harry S. Truman Library & Museum, Independence, Missouri

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