S. Berliner, III's sbiii.com CHRYSLER Continuation Page 3 keywords = Chrysler Walter Daimler ChryslerDaimler auto car truck tank Crown Imperial Majestic Highlander Royal Saratoga Windsor Newport Town & Country Thunderbolt turbine engine Willys Overland Jeep Dodge DeSoto Plymouth Valiant Tourismo Chalmers Maxwell Briscoe Fargo Aberdeen Proving Ground Gander

Updated:   26 Oct 2011, 20:20  ET
[Page converted 21 Mar 2011;

    original AT&T Worldnet Website begun 30 May 1996.]
URL:  http://sbiii.com/chryslr3.html
[was at "home.att.net/~Berliner-Ultrasonics/chryslr3.html"]

S. Berliner, III
Consultant in Ultrasonic Processing
"changing materials with high-intensity sound"

[consultation is on a fee basis]

Technical and Historical Writer, Oral Historian
Popularizer of Science and Technology
Rail, Auto, Air, Ordnance, and Model Enthusiast
Light-weight Linguist, Lay Minister, and Putative Philosopher

note - The vast bulk of my massive Web presence (over 485 pages) had been hosted by AT&T's WorldNet service since 30 May 1996; they dropped WorldNet effective 31 Mar 2010 and I have been scrambling to transfer everything.  Everything's saved but all the links have to be changed, mostly by hand.  See my sbiii.com Transfer Page for any updates on this tedious process.

S. Berliner, III's



Continuation Page 3

S. Berliner, III's


Continuation Page 3

Chrysler Badge

This site has now been visited times since the counter was installed.

(The original Chrysler page grew completely out of hand and this had to be added;
please have a look at it, the Chrysler Continuation Page 1, and
the Chrysler Continuation Page 2!)

These pages are basically unindexed but a HELP section is now on this page and the Chrysler Links section is being recreated.

Chrysler Imperial 8.

  '31-'32-'33 Imperial 8 Major Model Year Differences.

Imperial L-80/L*80 - the "Big Six".

Jeep (moved to Chrysler page 1 on 02 Jul 02).

Model Chryslers (moved to its own Model Chrysler page on 25 Oct 04).

Chrysler and Mercedes inked their $3billion+ merger and DaimlerChrysler AG/Corporation began business on 17 Nov 98 and started trading combined shares on 18 Nov 98; two of my most favo(u)rite cars!

HELP! - What is the approved substitute for Gýrol Fluid Drive coupling fluid?


Look at this '46 Dodge that I ran across on an overcast, rainy day at the Mid-Continent Railroad Museum in North Freedom, Wisconsin (near Baraboo on 24 Aug 99):

1946   1946   1946   1946

(photos © 1999 S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved).
[Thumbnail images - click on the pictures for the full image.]

It's sure a far cry from the Colorado Railroad Museum's Rio Grande Southern narrow-gauge
Rail Truck #6 (pictured at the CRM in 1986 by V. G. Aylward):


Image from George Elwood's Fallen Flag Railroad Photos
[Far from being a Chrysler, this gem was an old Pierce-Arrow 36 6-Cyl. car obtained 1/1934 and modified with a
Chevrolet 6-cyl. engine in 1952, and again with a 1957 Chevrolet 6-cyl. engine installed 6/1988
(I rode all around the museum grounds in one of these "Galloping Geese" ca. 1980).]

My 1939 Chrysler C-23 Royal 6 Sedan came with the original iron U-strap tie-downs still bolted to the frame!  It also, oddly enough, was on the X-frame of a convertible!

The speedometer needle wasn't a needle at all, it was clear acrylic disk, with a dot like a tiny magnifyng lens out at the pointer; as it turned, it changed colors, from GREEN to YELLOW at about 20mph and then to RED above about 50mph!  I seem to recall it being called a "Speed Minder".

I had that 1939 Chrysler C-23 Royal 6 Sedan up at Champlain College in Plattsburg(h), New York; it went through quite a few adventures up there with me.  As promised on the preceeding page, here they are.  After getting back from the '52 Christmas vacation, thus in January 1953, the first thing that happened was that a long blizzard dumped several feet of snow on the ground and the car; it was no big deal to clear the car off, but, when I got in to drive off, the rear wheels wouldn't grip, not nohow!  I had those miniature aluminum bridges with serrated top and bottom surfaces and even with them under the wheels, nothing happened (except that the tires started to shred on the bridges).  Eventually, poking around underneath, I realized what was wrong; my "buddies" had jacked the body up, packed snow under it, and let it back down so that there was no weight on the wheels.  At -20°F, the rubber tires were hard as rock and the springs didn't give when I sat down, so I hadn't noticed anything wrong.  Have you ever tried digging snow out from UNDER a car?

Next, I was driving along an Adirondack mountainside road up a fairly steep grade in the outside (precipice-edge side) lane when a large, antique (even then) truck coming down on the opposing lane blew it's left front tire and the clincher rim, probably a 20" or larger one, came off and started rolling rapidly downhill in my lane!  The relative speeds were too high to allow stopping abruptly enough and there was the nifty option of swerving left and hitting the truck head on or swerving right and flying off into space, so I hit the binders for all they were worth (not all that much), pulled mightily on the handbrake (more on this), and dove under the dash, from which vantage point I heard a mighty TWANGGGG! and saw the rim fly up and over the hood and on over the roof.  Hauling myself back up in time to avoid going over the edge, I saw the rim careening on down behind me in the rear view mirror, just as the truck skidded past on my left.  The only actual damage was a very slight nick in the front bumper.

If that prang wasn't scary enough, I was doing the exact same thing again (the uphill bit), but this time BEHIND a big truck carrying huge chunks of concrete curbing torn up in some road work.  Nothing went wrong with the truck, which was much newer and making a rather respectable speed uphill when one of the curbstones slid majestically off the flatbed and tried desperately to slide uphill on rough concrete paving.  That didn't work too well and it decelerated rather rapidly, much more so than the '39 did and I had that same choice again, hit the oncoming traffic or go airborne (or hit the damn curbstone)!  Steering desperately, I tried to get the curbstone between the tire and the oil pan and succeeded, except that the curbstone was higher than the '39's front-end clearance and we connected and I stopped very noisily and abruptly.  After checking for major damage or oil (none), I backed gingerly off the curbstone and found a ¼" gouge in the left tie rod; Plattsburg (no "H") Chrysler checked the alignment carefully and there was no deviation in the toe-in; whadda tank!

The '39 was the car in which I drove back and forth the 300 miles to NYC/LI (or 60 to Montréal) on weekends; there was the weekend of another big blizzard when I was asked for a ride to NYC by classmates who balked at sharing the gas and tolls.  "Walk", sez I!  They thumbed a ride from a farmer and some 100 miles south I saw two frozen statues by the side of Route 9; guess who?  Soft hearted sap that I was (and am), I drove them not just to NYC but to their homes; did they offer to chip in?  You've got to be kidding!

It was also the car in which I drove ACROSS the abandoned old Plattsburg Barracks gunnery range, shooting bottles off fence posts through the passenger-side window as I drove!  (More on this sort of idiocy on my Ordnance page, et seq..)

Well, I had a friend (who might have just turned up again after all these years - Aug 2000) who had a Model A roadster on campus who drove it all over the place.  Anywhere he could go; I could go!  Oh, yeah!  I came to grief trying to follow his tracks over the school power-plant coal pile; his angle of attack was OK for that but the '39 merely buried its nose in the coal.  Going through the woods was fun, although the Chrysler's bank-vault fenders were a wee bit narrower after that sort of tag between large trees!  The real dénoument came, however, after I followed his tracks across a meadow after a heavy rain; I ran along, bouncing over tussocks and through ditches all right until I ran through a big puddle.  Chrysler's are great fording cars; they'll go through virtually any water a Jeep can.  In fact, I've only been swamped once, when an oncoming truck pushed its bow wave OVER the hood of my '85 Tourismo (and even then it started right up after it dried out for a few minutes).  Well, the '39 got to the other side of the puddle, which had to have been about 18" deep and 20'-30' across, right where the Model A tracks climbed out and, as the front wheels cleared the bank and flew up, the rear wheels slipped and sank, followed by the rear of the car!  There I sat, with the exhaust pipe under water, sounding for all the world like a finely-tuned Gar Wood or Chris-Craft raceabout, with the water over the trunk lip and the rear bumper completely submerged AND the sun dipping below the horizon, the temperature rapidly dropping below 40°F (and me with no jacket), some 20 miles from civilization, and my flashlight batteries dying out (naturally - this was no Eveready ad)!  The drill that saved my "rosy red" was to make a mat of heavy twigs, push it under the rear bumper and gas tank, fit the bumper jack on the mat, jack like crazy, push more twig mats under, let it down, take a new purchase, and jack some more, until the rear wheels, which had bitten through the thin turf and fallen into QUICKSAND under, came free above the turf level, lay a mat of twigs from the wheels to the bank, set 'er down (I did remember to get the jack pad up out of the mud), and make a run for it.  Things didn't sound very good underneath when the rear wheels hit the bank, but I did bounce over (and without any actual damage, other than having to drain, dry, and relube the rear end and mop out the trunk after punching out one of the plugs to let the worst of the water out ).  I didn't even come down with pneumonia, although I suspect that that was a rather close call.

That buddy later told me that he had run across that particular meadow the day BEFORE the rain!  He's the same guy in the same car that took a corner with a wee bit too much verve the next year down on Long Island in Far Rockaway and ended up with the A impaled upside-down on a white picket fence; I saw it in the local paper, NEWSDAY, and probably still have the clipping somewhere.

I am told he (the A driver) was one Walter Gluck, last heard of living on a barge on the Amstel in Amsterdam, a famous artist (especially in the Netherlands) known as "Victor 1V"! {30 Aug 01}

The '39 dashboard surfacing was some early version of plastic (not Bakelite) and it curled up and died in the first spring heat; I actually went to the trouble of pulling that entire dash out of the car, prying off all the wrinkled plastic, popping out the buttons or nibs that held it to the dash, and scraping, priming, and repainting the bare metal dash.  It had all sorts of horizontal corrugations that matched the formed plastic and zillions of ¼" holes all along them where the plastic was clipped in place; very artistic, I thought.  I painted it a beautiful pearl tan, with sort of Hershey brown trim (I think it was "Navajo Brown"; I am a pack rat and still treasure the two little tins of paint).  I also painted the 1:48 (O-scale) Meccano Dinky model '39 Royal modified from a London taxi with the actual black touch-up paint from that car.

Along came the following year and I was at Rensselaer in Troy and took a bunch of girls (that term was O.K. back then; and one became my wife) home to NYC from "nearby" Skidmore in Saratoga.  All went well, in spite of light rain, until we hit where the southbound Henry Hudson Parkway becomes the West Side Highway, just after dark.  Just after passing under the George Washington Bridge, traffic bunched up and I slowed down, at which point a huge '48 Buick slammed to a stop unexpectedly directly ahead of me on its coil springs and I slid under the rear bumper, catching it right across my headlights and bullnose.  Hoo, boy!  A cop came and the driver ahead announced that she was a "lady bus driver", whatever that had to do with anything.  The officer and I could not but agree; there had been no reason whatsoever for her to slam to a stop in the center lane and she got a ticket for it, not me!  The officer flagged down a cab, jotted down his name and license, and told him to be sure to deliver the young ladies safely to Penn Station.  The radiator was bent back over the fan and a tow truck took my once-beautiful Royal away.  The next morning, a Saturday, my dad and I came back in to Manhattan to retrieve the car; it wasn't at the towing service, which was shut tight.  We found it illegally parked many blocks away near 96th Street at Riverside Drive and realized that the radiator was still intact, however crumpled.  Borrowing Dad's bumper jack, twinning it with the '39's, and using some scrap lumber found in the street as bracing, I disconnected the cowl struts and jacked the radiator top shell forward until the core came clear of the fan, bent the fan blades back into place, started her up, and all was fine.  Dad had straps in his trunk so we strapped the hood in place over the jacks, picked all the broken glass out of the headlight housings, and drove home.  I jiggered the radiator some more, put back the cowl braces, bought a pair of truck headlights, mounted them on brackets from a junkie, and was all set.  That was fine until my grandfather saw the result!  "No grandson of mine is going to be seen driving a car like that!"  A quick hundred and I was off to buy a newer car; my dealer had a 1941 C-28W Windsor sedan that had been flooded out in salt water during a recent hurricane.  Although it had been drained, cleaned, and relubed, the upholstery had a high-water stain all around at just under the seat level and it wouldn't sponge off so he couldn't sell the car; I got it for 250 bills and got $100 for the trade-in!  The really interesting thing about that car was that it had Fluid Drive (the fluid coupling between the clutch and tranny) but a manual three-speed transmission with an H shift on the column; this meant you could start and stop in any gear without shifting, although acceleration in high was somewhat dubious.  It was painted in Civil War colors; butternut gray above and Union blue below.

Another neat thing about the '41 Chrysler was that it had the same steering wheel as the rare '42 cars, but they had a full 360°, large-diameter horn ring, whereas the '41 came with a dinky little lower-half-arc of ring about 2/3 the radius.  Please don't ask me how I found this out!  Anyway, I located a '42 junker near Albany and pulled the wheel, removed the horn ring, and pulled my own wheel, swapped horn rings, ran out of time, and headed back to Troy.  Troy sits at the base of a huge escarpment towering over the Hudson, with RPI up top.  The restaurant at which we ate was at the base of the hill and a bunch of us piled in the '41 to head down to eat; half way down, it occurred to me that I had never put the wheel nut back in my hurry so, heading straight downhill, I calmly pulled off the steering wheel and handed it to the guy sitting alongside, saying brillantly, "Here, you steer!"  He promptly soiled his pants and froze, so I had to struggle to get the wheel back and on the shaft before killing all five of us!

The speedometer needle on the '41 was actually a needle, not the revolving disk of the '39, but the needle itself was also clear acrylic and IT also changed colors the same way, from GREEN to YELLOW at about 20mph and then to RED above about 50mph!  As I recall, it also was called a "Speed Minder".

Dad's 1949 Chrysler C-46 New Yorker 8 Sedan was named "The Tank".  It was that car or the '50 coupé that I put out on a deeply-frozen lake just south of Lake Champlain, then gunned wildly, cut the wheel sharply, popped the foot brake, and indulged in flat spins wildly across the lake (good thing there were no rough spots)!

My own '49 was the one I drove without a muffler or exhaust (down) pipe up into the Taconic Range one night when I couldn't get the new muffler and pipe in place in time; it sounded for all the world like a Patton tank's V-12 Allison and the roadside was illumined by an unearthly blue glow from the raw exhaust coming out of the manifold!

The '49 was the car I drove while working at Aberdeen Proving Grounds.  Ca. 1954, it got slammed from behind by a Ford Fairlane which caught my left rear corner with its right front.  I was at a full stop, just off Route 40 northbound on the gravel just over the crest of a small rise and the impact slammed the Chrysler forward about 40' with the brakes locked.  The only damage to my car was that there was a scratch in the chrome of the bumper, the gas filler cap was ripped off, and the left rear door was jammed a bit; the Fairlane lay on its right front A-frame with the wheel up in the cowl, the motor up against the dash with the steering wheel up against the roof (the driver was so drunk he was uninjured - there are pictures somewhere if I can ever find them).

In April of 1956, I honeymooned in my 1950 Chrysler C-49 New Yorker 8 Club Coupé; we stopped in the town of Asbestos, Québec, for a burger (which had asbestos fibers on it) and emerged to find the damp car completely white!  At the Chateau Frontenac, they washed it, called and said it was still white, tried again, and finally a third time after I agreed to pay double, before it came clean!

When I sold my XK-120 Jag to accomodate a growing family, I got a factory-customized (paint, top) 1963 Plymouth TV-1 Valiant 200 slant 6 convertible coupé, which ran 85,000+ miles and only met its demise when rammed in the left front by a VW Bug driven by a stoned druggie; it was the second finest car I've ever driven (Dad's 1954 Imperial was the best); built with justifiable pride by the Newark, Delaware assembly plant (as was Dad's '54).  I had it painted gun-metal grey to match Dad's 63 Newport coupé (which he thereupon sold) and had it fitted with a Hurst Synchro-Lok floor shifter customized at the Hurst factory with feather-light springing (can be easily converted to straight-through shifting and still available, if you want it, with floor pan kit - ditto original red top boot).

Another thing that made that '63 Valiant so special was the top; it was MANUALLY OPERATED; no mechanism!  I had a deuce of a time convincing the dealer that there was such a beast and to custom order it that way.  There was a pair of catches on the windshield header to hold it up and a pair of little NYLON latches on little leaf springs in the side wells to hold it down; years later, one of the latches snapped and I had a deuce of a time again convincing MOPAR parts that there really WAS a manual top with repair parts!  I actually had to read the parts manual all the way through for myself before I finally found an obscure balloon with a picture of the latch.

Ca. 14 Jul 01, on an auction site (Adamstown Antique Gallery), I ran across this '32 Chrysler Imperial convertible sedan with body by LeBaron valued at $230,000 to $250,000 (in 1999; it did not sell):

32 Imp LeBaron Conv Sed

- - - * - - -

{to be continued}

JEEP coverage moved to Chrysler page 1 on 02 Jul 02.

The Walter P. Chrysler Story

(the early years)

(largely excerpted from the Summer 1999 issue of American Heritage of Invention & Technology, pp. 20-30,
Chrysler's site, and other sources)

Chrysler Chrysler Walter Percy Chrysler was born on 02 April 1875 and was raised in rural Ellis, Kansas. {to be completed}

{temp. quick bio. - he worked as a railroad mechanic and then manager, fell in love with a 1907 Locomobile, bamboozled a bank executive into letting him hock his soul and bought it, disassembled and reassembled it some 40 times, nearly wrecked it the first time he finally tried to drive it, then went to ALCo (American Locomotive Co.), then Buick, then bought Maxwell, renamed it Chrysler, built the Chrysler Building (in its day, briefly, oh so briefly, the world's tallest skyscraper), and the rest is, as they say, history!

Walter P. Chrysler fell ill in 1938, at the age of 63, and died on 18 August 1940.  To my surprise, he is buried right here in metropolitan New York, in the beautiful Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Sleepy Hollow (of Headless Horseman fame), just up the Hudson River valley from NYC.

[Chrysler Building, NYC - ca. 1931(l.) and current (r.)]

One of his earliest triumphs, after introducing the modestly-priced 1924 Chrysler with 4-wheel hydraulic brakes in 1924, was the luxury 1926 Chrysler Imperial 80; here's a similar 1927 Chrysler Imperial 80 [1928 saw Chrysler's first full convertible (not a roadster), but this one is a Locke-bodied Dual Cowl Phaeton] at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, on 25 Aug 1999:

(Photo by and © 1999 S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved)
[Thumbnail image; click on picture for larger image.]

One of his only failures, the 1934 Chrysler Airflow, was more a failure of production and marketing than technology; here's an almost identical 1934 DeSoto Airflow at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, on 25 Aug 1999; as far as I know, the only differences were the hood emblem, the bumpers, and the side louvers:

(Photo by and © 1999 S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved)
[Thumbnail image; click on picture for larger image.]

Foo!  That lighting!

Chrysler Modelers / Model Chryslers - moved to Model Chrysler page on 25 Oct 04).

HELP Section

[I will put up requests here that suit me, at my sole discretion.]

help-rwb - Does anyone have, or have a clue to the whereabouts of,
a 7.50 x 17 wood-spoke artillery wheel for the fellow who now owns my old 1931 CG Imperial 8?

See a discussion about the
Royal Windsor model designation on late 30s/early 40s cars; please get back to me if you have any information on these oddities.

A question (for a '42 Royal 6) came in regarding hardened valve seats (Stellite, as I recall) and leaded gas - as far as I know, you don't need the lead-substitute additive if you go easy on the car but my '49 in-line 8 came to me with the valves and seats burned clean away after the previous driver came back to Long Island from Minnesota at around 90mph on unleaded.

Here's one for me, please!  Can anyone send me photos of 1935 Airflow and 1942 Chrysler front ends?  I'm posting comparison shots of the '39-'50 grilles; it's an interesting progression (and not necessarily for the better).

URGENT! - Far more important (and embarassing to me) - I have now received several requests that required me to remember what fluid to use in the Gýrol Fluid Drive coupling used with the 40's and 50's Vacamatic and M6 transmissions and I flunked out.  It was a MOPAR special fluid and there is a safe substitute that will not cause the seals to let go but I'll be hanged if I can recall what.  Can anyone tell me definitively - it's NOT brake fluid nor regular automatic transmission fluid; no guesses, please - this is far too critical to keeping Fluid Drive cars running!   (14 May 08)

See also a '31 Imperial 8 CD Convertible Coupé in need of parts in France.

(The original Chrysler page grew completely out of hand and this had to be added;
 please have a look at it, the Chrysler Continuation Page 1, and
the Chrysler Continuation Page 2!)

Cyclops fans; see Cyclops on my Automotive page!


  What happens to all this when I DIE or (heaven forfend!) lose interest?  See LEGACY.


See Copyright Notice on primary home page.

Please visit the main Automotive Page, et seq.

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