1931 Chrysler Imperial CG
In 1924, Walter P. Chrysler took over the Maxwell Motor Company, renaming it Chrysler and introducing Imperial as their top-of-the-line offering. By 1931, the CG Imperial had evolved into a unique vehicle, with a massive 145-inch wheelbase chassis and body styled to give a low-slung and rakish appearance, being clearly influenced by the Cord L-29. Powered by a 385 cubic-inch straight eight capable of producing 125-horsepower, the CG Imperial had advanced steering and suspension geometry, as well as four-wheel hydraulic brakes, offering superior road manners and the ability to reach 100mph.
Despite its superior performance, only 339 examples of the CG Imperial were produced over a three-year period, making it a highly sought-after classic. Fans of American Classics appreciate the CG Imperial’s exquisite road manners and outstanding performance, deeming it the most beautiful Chrysler ever built.
Purchasing an Imperial with factory-catalogued coachwork by LeBaron was a popular choice for drivers, as there was an array of styles to choose from. This made one-off competition from Packard and Lincoln rarer. Approximately six of the 339 CG Imperials built between 1931 and 1933 were shipped to the coachmaker Waterhouse and Co. of Webster, Massachusetts. Currently, only a few of the 1931 CG chassis remain with custom bodywork, and the three convertible Victoria’s bodied by Waterhouse are thought to be the finest. Charles and Moses Waterhouse, former employees of the John B. Judkins Company, founded Waterhouse in 1928. It was designed to provide bodies for the du Pont motor car, which they achieved after they bought the assets of the Woonsocket Manufacturing Company and recruited designer George Weaver. The advanced bodies they created for the du Ponts earned them favor with the northeastern aristocracy. During their short run, Waterhouse created 251 bodies for Lincoln, du Pont, Packard, and another 31 bodies for Pierce-Arrow, Stutz, and Marmon. It is estimated that no more than six Waterhouse bodies were made for the Chrysler Imperial, and only the three mentioned above have survived.
Their signature style was the Convertible Victoria, which was crafted with a long-wheelbase chassis for long, graceful lines and extra space for stowage when the top was folded, giving a sleek and elegant look. When the top was up, the low roofline, long blind quarters, and boot between the rear fenders gave the car a striking appearance, especially atop the stunning Chrysler CG chassis.
Built on June 15, 1931, this 1931 Chrysler CG Imperial Waterhouse Convertible Victoria is a truly remarkable motorcar, boasting highly prized coachwork and a unique history. In 1939, Calvin Collins, a resident of New York, bought the car from the McCormick Garage. The Collins family enjoyed the Chrysler for a few years until World War II. Young Scott Collins made sure the car was never scrapped during war-era scrap drives, hiding it in the family barn and collecting parts to restore it. Over the years he gathered the necessary parts, and in 2009 he sold it to noted Canadian restorer, Richard Grenon. Surprisingly, the Convertible Victoria had withstood the elements well, with the chassis in excellent condition and the aluminum coachwork having fared remarkably well. Most of the wood framing needed to be replaced, but only three inches of the lower quarters required repair. The remaining original pieces and many smaller chrome elements on the car still bore the “163” stamp, referring to the Waterhouse job number. It took over 6,000 hours of hard work to completely restore CG 3843, and it was brought back to its original black body with unique caramel-colored side stripes, chassis, and wheels.
Among the features they added were an interior light and a full rear window, which are both Waterhouse trademarks, plus dual side-mounted spares with mirrors, a sun visor, and a rear luggage rack with trunk.
This Chrysler presents in remarkable condition, having been diligently cared for since its restoration and displayed in several events, including Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance (The Timeless Elegance Chopard Watch Award), Greenwich Concours d’Elegance (Chairman’s Choice Award), and Radnor Hunt Concours d’Elegance where, in 2021, it was awarded as Best of Show.
The paint and finish are excellent, with hardly any blemishes. The chrome is also exquisitely done with show-worthy plating on the radiator grille, bumpers, and other trims. The body is kept simple, giving it a European look, which is further accentuated by its low ride height and black-wall Firestone tires, as originally specified by Waterhouse to show off the amazing bodywork. Dual Chrysler-branded mirrors are placed above the side mount spares, and a Gazelle mascot is perched atop the radiator.
The interior of this vehicle is finished with luxurious, caramel-colored leather to a showroom quality level. The black canvas convertible top and side-mount covers are expertly fitted. The tan leather top boot keeps the soft top covered when folded and the windscreen has a unique fabric exterior sun visor. The cockpit is decorated with subtle, high-quality wood trim, while the dashboard has a simple, body-colored panel with beautifully restored instruments. To add an extra touch of class, there are two courtesy lights built into the top frame for the backseat passengers.
The CG Imperial’s 385 Cubic Inch inline eight-cylinder engine is a stunning piece of industrial art, with correct porcelain-black finishes and paint colors on the engine and cylinder head. The restorer took the time to ensure it performs as well as it looks and has since proven itself at top events in the USA. The comfortable seating position, light steering, and powerful four-wheel hydraulic brakes make the CG an outstanding machine for touring.
No doubt, the Chrysler CG Imperial is one of the most attractive cars ever produced. This particular example is exceptional with its breathtaking Waterhouse bodywork and impressive condition. With only three known copies remaining, it is a rare opportunity to own one of the most desirable and significant CG Imperials.
This iconic Chrysler Imperial is a historic automobile and deserves to be part of the best collections in the world, the sale being a rare opportunity to acquire one of the most significant automobiles of American auto manufacturing history. Contact Alex Ruozzi for more information on this very unique automobile.
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