Chrysler CG Imperial Convertible Victoria
In 1911 Walter Chrysler was lured away from the American Locomotive Company by Buick President Charles Nash. The visions of the talented Chrysler did not match those of GM founder Billy Durant; set on leaving the company, his first attempted resignation in 1916 was responded to with one of the richest compensation packages offered at the time, which he immediately accepted. When the contract was up for renewal three years later, Chrysler made a successful exit from General Motors. After a brief stint at Willys-Overland, he took over the ailing Maxwell Motor Company and announced the introduction of the Chrysler in 1924. From the start, the Imperial name denoted the marque’s most exclusive offering.
By 1931 the Imperial touted a mammoth wheelbase of 145 inches on which were mated some of the most attractive formal and sporting open coachbuilt bodies of the era. Any individual who has had the pleasure of driving the CG and CL Imperial knows firsthand how nimble they are despite large proportions. Regardless of the weight of coachwork, the 384-cubic inch eight propels these conveyances with ease while advanced steering geometry minimizes the effort required to navigate corners. The Imperial could be supplied with factory bodies from the Briggs Manufacturing Co. and semi-customs by LeBaron. However, a small quantity of bare chassis were dispatched to coachbuilders who could satisfy clients with a desire for further exclusivity.
Waterhouse was founded in 1928 by two former employees of Judkins, Charles Waterhouse and his son Moses. The firm’s initial goal was to supply bodies for the DuPont motor car, a significant milestone which was achieved when Waterhouse purchased the assets of the Woonsocket Mfg. Co. and fortunately acquired the talent of George Weaver. With this notoriety, the firm gained enough traction to clothe some of the most prestigious chassis like Packard, Pierce-Arrow, Stutz and Marmon. In a short but distinguished run, the firm produced approximately 296 bodies; the vast majority of the firm’s production, approximately 251 bodies, were placed on the Lincoln, DuPont and Packard chassis. Of 31 Waterhouse bodies built on various chassis, only six or less are believed to have been mated to the CG Imperial.
The eye-catching Convertible Victoria was Waterhouse’s trademark and is notable as one of the earliest American-built bodies to incorporate European styling. The striking body lines captured attention in the industry, particularly from competitors. Imitation of the Weaver-penned designs soon took its toll on the firm, and custom body production ended a mere six years after it began.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in March of 2010 at the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, Florida, in July of 2010 at the Shotwell Gustafson Pavilion at Meadow Brook Hall, Rochester, Michigan, and in January of 2012 at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, Phoenix, Arizona.
125 bhp, 384 cu. in. in-line Silver Dome eight, four-speed manual transmission, front beam axle with parallel leaf springs and live rear axle with parallel leaf springs and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 145".
Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Darin Schnabel