Fit For A Royal: 1938 Chrysler Royal Business Coupe

Brian BirknerBy Brian Birkner

With stylishly good looks, and ready to drive, this 1938 Chrysler Royal Business Coupe is a sweet find! In very reasonable survivor condition all you need to do with this one is enjoy it as is, or restore it to your heart’s content. Fully functioning and thought to have low mileage, this low production business coupe is offered for $16,000.00. Check it out here on craigslist out of Bishop, California. Thanks are in order to Michael for this awesome submission!

Under the engine covers is a remarkably clean 241 cubic inch flat head 6 and that is running shape. This car must have spent its life in California as the engine compartment seems fabulous for an 80 year old car. There is little corrosion or rust to be found, and the firewall and inner fender portions are rock solid.

Inside there is no carpet, and the bench has been temporarily covered, but the interior seems fair as a whole. The door panels are in place but need some help. I am guessing that the floor has either been replaced, or the original was removed and primed to prevent the spread of rust. It’s a bit of a toss-up, but I could see the interior of this beauty getting reupholstered.

With handsome style, and charming patina, this Chrysler looks like a rock solid driver. There are obvious signs of surface rust on the body, but the lower portions of the rockers, doors,  and fenders are as solid was you could wish for.  The glass is all intact, with no signs of delamination, or cracking. All of the trim appears to be in place and in very reasonable condition. Even the highly unique taillight lenses are damage free and are still as mesmerizing as ever. Truly a feast for the eyes, would you strike a deal for this Royal Business Coupe?

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Comments

  1. canadainmarkseh Member

    This is cool, I wish I had a home for it. I’d give it a full restoration, and just enjoy driving it.

    5
    • Dirk

      I think that when people use those words, “full restoration” they envision returning it to exactly the way it was when it first rolled out of the factory which is of course, impossible. Once it is “fully restored” it will be painted with modern paints and materials, rubber parts, tires, fabrics, etc will all be different. The overall surface may be shinier, harder, and smoother, or less so than when it was new, doors and hood may fit better, or not as well, it may have replica parts and components made in China or elsewhere. It will smell differently, drive differently, and handle differently. As they say, a car is only original once and after that, like the axe that has had its handle replaced 4 times and its axe head replaced twice, in many ways it becomes a replica of itself but is never the same axe, or the same car. Any tiny bit of originality, no matter how small is worth saving if at all possible.

      7
      • Beatnik Bedouin

        I agree with you, up to a point, Dirk – it really depends on how ‘original’ a vehicle is. I always try to buy unrestored, original examples, if for no other reason, to be able to evaluate their true condition. I have quite a few two-wheelers in my current collection that have not been repainted/rechromed and have only been cleaned up, serviced and used and enjoyed.

        This one has a slip-on seat cover over the original mohair, 15″ wheels and radials (probably because 16″ car tires got too hard to find), billiard ball shift knob, modern inline fuel filter (a wise addition, imho), etc. One wonders how good it is for a vehicle with that much surface corrosion to leave it that way, whether under a clear coat or simply waxed.

        How far one goes with the restoration, with Mark suggestion of a ‘full resto’, imho is a matter of one’s personal preference.

        For example, it is possible to replicate original finishes using modern paints – there’s a professional restorer located around 90 minutes from home who can apply two-pack paint and make it look like nitrocellulous lacquer, which is now impossible to get in my little corner of the world.

        Your comments – and those of others – is why I enjoy visiting this site.

        7
      • canadainmarkseh Member

        Originality is an over stated word define original in my opinion a car starts losing its originality right way an oil change with new filters tires that wear out. Water pumps, starters, carberater, generated, and on and on. This it’s only original once is bull $h!t, if you guys want to split hair originality is over after the first brake job, tuneup, clutch job, front end repair you name it. So if a spark plug is part of the car than so is the paint. If it’s ok to maintain the brakes then why not the sheet metal and paint. If it’s ok to change the u joints then why not the paint. Paints main function is to protect the metal and just like a fan belt it wears out and needs changing. As far as I’m concerned you patina hounds are is a bunch of guys that don’t want to do the maintenance that’s all restoration is, is getting caught up on the maintenance. I think that some of you knit pickers don’t know weather your butt holes are punched or bored. JMHO.

        11
  2. Mike B

    Very smart deco grill!

    Interesting seeing this picture next to the ’42 Ford coupe and thinking about how some people complain that today’s cars all look the same. Uh huh.

    1
  3. Mountainwoodie

    Given that it is in the high country just below Mammoth, think “Chinatown” and numerous 1940’s Ida Lupino movies, the ride to pick it up would be wonderful.
    While it snows up there, the surface rust is interesting. Perhaps it was under a plastic tarp. I’m with the Bedouin Beatnik…I like ’em as close to oem as possible. But sometimes wanting a shiny bright thing makes that less than possible.

    3
  4. Thomas P. Cotrel

    Fix the rust, replace the door cards, get fresh carpeting and upholstery, convert it to run on 12 volts, retrofit disc brakes, rebuild the engine and valves to run on unleaded, put in three-point belts and a modern radio, and enjoy it.

    2
  5. firefirefire

    It looks like the same model Bogey drove in “The Big Sleep”

    2
  6. Howard A Member

    Resto-mod,,,for additional info, see ’42 Ford business coupe.

  7. Rustytech

    I don’t like the word “original” as used for classic cars. The way some people use it, after the first oil change it’s no longer original. The way I see it is, if it’s restored to original specs, using OEM or equivalent mechanical parts, original sheet metal and frame I would call it a “refurbished original”. What’s important to me is honesty on the part of sellers.

    2
  8. On and On

    42 Ford is much cooler. Always loved the front end.

    2
  9. John

    I own a 1937 Ford that I fixed up to be an attractive (to me and to a whole lot of other people), reliable and comfortable car using replica parts (some from foreign countries) and modern materials. It resembles pretty closely what the car ORIGINALLY was like when the Ford motor company manufactured it.
    It’s not just pretty. I’ve run it repeatedly in week long AACA and VMCCA tours, rolling up serious miles, without trouble. Just like a fresh minted 37 Ford would have been able to do in 1937.
    Some commenters evidently feel I’ve committed a crime, as it probably is now in some ways better than when it was built. They, it seems, prefer cars that look dilapidated and worn out and, so, look nothing like how they looked when new. That, they say, is the only true “original.”
    They’re welcome to such rides. But, I suggest what they have is also not ORIGINAL, it’s UNRESTORED.
    If they prefer old cars that are dilapidated and worn out, that’s their right and preference. (I actually also own and drive regularly a few of those.)
    But, if they want me cease to call my attractive, reliable restored 1937 as an “original”…try to get over it, as I’m not going to adjust to their sematic preferences.
    Mine is close enough to what Ford ORIGINALLY built to merit description as an original.
    My car may not be a perfect recreation of what came off the assembly line in 1937, but it’s a damn good recreation of that ORIGINAL car,

    4
  10. RetroRick

    The 42 Ford for about 70% less money is way cooler. It’s the one I want

    1

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