The 1930 Chrysler 70 Roadster was the result of Walter Chrysler's instinct for survival. His instincts told him to revamp the product line in 1930, one year after the stock market crash although it had not yet affected sales.
Walter P. Chrysler accomplished his dream -- to start his own automobile company -- and advertised his success with 15-foot chromium-nickel steel-winged radiator caps shining from the corners of New York's tallest building. It was "The fulfillment in metal and masonry of a one-man dream," said one critic of the completed Chrysler Building.
This 1930 Chrysler Series 70 roadster, owned by Paul Miller, of La Crescenta, California, was one result of this strategy. The 70 was the next level up from the lower-cost Series 66, but offered more luxury options like the higher-priced Series 77. All Series 70 cars included a narrow-profile radiator and bowl-shaped headlights. Miller's car was produced early in 1930, as it has the Art Deco, pennant-shaped pennon hood louvers and its parking lamps mounted on the windshield posts.
The Series 70 roadster featured a leather interior, including storage pouches in both doors. You can see a number of Series 70 options offered by Chrysler on our feature car: front and rear bumpers, dual side-mounted spare tires, wire-spoke wheels, pedestal sidemount mirrors, folding luggage rack, fog lamps, and solid paint.
The winged radiator cap design that figures so prominently on the Chrysler Building was manufactured by George Stant, whose company was known for its meticulously engineered ornamental radiator caps. Although frequently referred to as Mercury wings, the Chrysler Corporation attributes the design inspiration to a Viking helmet.
Chrysler was the first in the industry to use the Stromberg downdraft carburetor, so called because it was positioned at a level above the fuel tank. The early 70 used the inline L-head six-cylinder engine, providing 218.6 cid and 75 bhp. A Delco Remy ignition, mechanical fuel pump, hydraulic brakes, four-speed manual transmission, and paraflex springs were standard mechanical features. Chrysler produced an estimated 1431 roadsters, and sold them for an average price of $1,345.
Miller's scrupulous restoration of this Series 70 would make its uncompromising creator proud.