1931-1933 Chrysler Imperial Eight

1933 Chrysler

For 1933, the Chrysler Imperial Custom CL models returned with an unchanged chassis and drivetrain, but the Chrysler Imperial Eight CHs were replaced by even smaller models designated CQ. The Chrysler Imperial Eight CQ models used a 299-cid eight of 108 bhp (with 100 bhp as an option) and rode a nine-inch-shorter wheelbase -- really a glorified version of the previous year's Series CP Chrysler Eight.

The elegant 1933 Chrysler Imperial had style and grace to spare.
The elegant 1933 Chrysler Imperial Eight CL
continued atop the Imperial line.

The CL retained its stalwart prices and managed only 151 sales. The CQ offered five different models starting at just $1,275, a record low price for an Imperial. It wasn't really a grand Classic in the now-accepted sense, but it did sell, picking up 3,800 buyers.

Like that year's mainline Chrysler models, CQs boasted a new, three-speed, "all-silent" transmission, but also vacuum power brakes like the Customs. Both Imperial lines added an automatic choke and manifold heat control to improve cold starting, plus high-tungsten-content exhaust-valve seats to reduce the frequency of valve grinding.

A semi-custom LeBaron roadster paced the 1933 Indy 500. In the race itself, a new Gold Seal Special, shared by Guadino and fellow countryman Raoul Riganti, qualified 27th at 108.08 mph and finished 14th with an average of 93.24 mph. It would be Chrysler's last racing appearance at the Brickyard.

Just six bare Imperial chassis were built in 1933. The fate of four is known: a close-coupled four-door landau by LeBaron for Walter P. Chrysler; two convertibles bodied in Switzerland by Jean Gygax and by Langenthal; and a dual-cowl phaeton for Marjorie Merriweather Post, a noted collector of the decorative arts.

And decorative arts is surely what they were. In 1934 they vanished as quickly as they had arrived, eclipsed by another new idea of Walter Chrysler's, predictive but less magnificent: the Air-flow.

The Classic Car Club of America, arbiter of true Classics, includes the CG, CL, and CH (but not the CQ) on its list of the finest cars built during the Golden Age of the automobile. And, in a very real sense, they were. Nobody should ever forget that.

To find more information, including the models, prices, and production of the 1931-1933 Chrysler, see the next page.

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