Amelia Island | Lot 160
1932 Chrysler CL Imperial Convertible Roadster by LeBaron
$577,000 USD | Sold
| Amelia Island, Florida
22 May 2021
- Offered from the collection of a marque expert
- Formerly part of the Sam & Emily Mann and Chuck Spielman Collections
- Handsomely maintained older restoration
- An authentic example with its original chassis, engine, and coachwork
- Classic Car Club of America (CCCA) Full Classic
THE CHRYSLER CL IMPERIAL
The Classic Era in America brought about many beautiful automobiles, but the Chrysler CL Imperial of 1932-33 was hard to beat for overall greatness. It featured a potent inline eight-cylinder engine, a sweet-shifting transmission, and handsome LeBaron bodywork, with a hoodline extended back to the windshield—emphasizing the car’s length and the size of the motor lurking beneath the sheet metal. Each body was meticulously constructed to the highest standards. The result was an automobile that was smoothly powerful, easy to drive for its era, and built with quality as the foremost consideration. It was a superb car—and it looked terrific.
Among the most sensual bodies fitted to the CL Imperial was the two-passenger Convertible Roadster, which, as its name suggested, ably combined the light, fleet look of an open roadster with the all-weather folding top and windows of a convertible. It was few in number even when new, with historians agreeing that 29 examples were delivered in 1932; fewer than a dozen remain extant.
SERIAL NUMBER 7803524
The example offered here, serial number 7803524, is a very late 1932 model. According to the owner, a longtime collector and historian of the Classic Chrysler Imperial, the car’s build sheet shows it was delivered with engine number CL1244, still present today, by the dealer in Philadelphia. Like many of its ilk, in 1933 it was retrofitted with a three-speed transmission, a factory-authorized installation performed by the original dealer and noted on the car’s build card. There is a notation on the build card for a “special order,” which was not uncommon for Imperials of this era; however, details of the customer’s specifications have not survived.
The Chrysler likely remained in Pennsylvania until its purchase by the noted early collector and automobile dealer M.H. “Tiny” Gould, who passed it to longtime CCCA member Ed Stolarczyk of New York. From Mr. Stolarcyzk it was acquired by noted Quaker State collector Paul Stern, perhaps the foremost advocate of vintage Chryslers during this era. Dr. Don Vesley of Florida eventually purchased the Imperial from Mr. Stern, and it was later transacted to the noted collector Rick Carroll alongside several other automobiles from the Vesley stable.
Its current owner acquired the car for the first time in the early 1980s, and on the basis of its excellent original condition sold it to his friend Paul Quinn. A few years later it was acquired, still as a very good, solid and intact automobile, by the noted collectors and multiple Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance Best of Show winners, Sam and Emily Mann of New Jersey.
The Manns undertook a complete restoration of the car in the hands of the respected Stone Barn of Vienna, New Jersey, reversing an early alteration in which the interior had been modified to provide storage for hunting supplies! With the restoration completed, they enjoyed the car for years, showing it in concours and CCCA competition; it achieved its Senior badge, no. 1521. They also savored it on the road. As Sam Mann noted in a recent conversation, “Frankly, it was the best-driving car I’ve ever owned and my favorite driver.”
From the Manns the Chrysler eventually passed to Dave Kane of New Jersey, who sold it to his friend Chuck Spielman of California. Mr. Spielman would become another long-term owner, prizing the Imperial for nearly twenty years. In his ownership it appeared at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, in 2008, and was also well-sorted for driving enjoyment, including a complete engine rebuild.
Still wearing its original, well-maintained, and extremely attractive restoration, the Chrysler has recently undergone minor sorting and detailing, and remains a truly stunning example. It is the embodiment of Classic Era grace and performance, as only a superb CL Imperial can offer.