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Prewar Drop-Top: 1930 Chrysler Imperial


Reflecting on the past can often be the best way to learn about what the future could hold, which is something we have been thinking a lot about with the New Year approaching quickly and the economy in its current state. When we came across this 1930 Chrysler Imperial Convertible on eBay, which has been hidden away for the past 30 years, it got us think about the Depression era and the great cars that came out of those difficult times. Even though times are tough, we can all still appreciate and enjoy great automobiles, even if we can’t afford them.


The interior of this convertible is mostly original, but the seat covers were replaced at some point in time. While this interior isn’t as luxurious as some of its competitors, it’s still an attractive and comfortable design. This car is surprisingly original, with its original 110 hp engine, chrome work, and Locke coachwork body. The fact it has survived so well can likely be attributed to the fact that its time in storage was under the care of the Harrah’s Collection.


For those who wanted the drop-top, but wanted to be able to seat more than two, it could be had with a rumble seat in the back. While this ones rumble seat is deteriorated, the original leather is still present and could be useful in finding the correct style leather for the front seats. Unlike many of the competitors that came with rumble seats, this one had a side door for easy access to the rear seat.


With the recent increase in popularity of Barn Finds at events such as the Concours d’Elegance, this Imperial would do well on the 18th hole of Pebble Beach. Add in its history and the possibility of being the car in this 1960’s painting done by Harry Anderson for his series Great Moments in Early American Motoring, it could be a show stopper. It will be difficult to prove that this car was the subject of this painting, but given that the covers on the side-mount wheel wasn’t a factory option and was added a later date and the fact that only 142 were made, there is a good chance it is.


This rare Chrysler will make for an amazing project, but it isn’t going to be for the faint of heart. Given how few of these were built, parts can be extremely difficult to come by and are typically very expensive. We would focus on getting it running and driving and leave it otherwise as is, but since we can’t afford it we will just enjoy it from a distance. What do you think should happen with this rare convertible? Should it be fully restored or kept as original as possible?


  1. scot c

    ~ the Harry Anderson series, Great Moments in Early American Motoring is something all old car fans would appreciate and should take the time see.

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  2. Rancho Bella

    I can only imagine what this car must have looked like when new…………
    Oh’……..I am smitten………….

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  3. geomechs geomechs Member

    You never know what you’ve really got until you get it thoroughly cleaned up and then start evaluating what’s there. At a glance it looks like it’s got some rust popping through the RH door. It might only be surface rust or just dirty but it looks ominously like some moisture got trapped between the wood frame and the skin.

    I took a restoration course at the Reynolds Museum in Wetaskawin, AB and they were showing us a 1918 Winton (recently completed and can be seen on You Tube). They thought an extensive cosmetic clean-up would be in order but it ended up being body-off, new wood, some new sheet metal; even the water jacket cover plates were rusted through. It’s a good thing they didn’t try to start it as the oil pump had grenaded some time in the past. I’m sure the resto took 10 years but that’s often what happens when you get something that initially appears cherry.

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  4. erikj

    pro street the car bbc with a big ass supercharger–tubs go all out and spend big dollars!!!

    JUST KIDDING im in a mood today. If that where mine i would clean and inspect and repair as needed,but try to keep it as orignal as possible. I love seeing cars like these, not restored but kept as is and drive it. Cool car

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  5. FRED


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  6. Ralph M Bohm

    I wonder if they would take payments.

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  7. balin

    nothing money cant cure

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  8. Barn Finds

    Sold at $35,050.

    Like 1
  9. Rene

    Keep it as original as possible

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  10. Larry

    Here is an update on the 1930 Chrysler Imperial Dual Sidemount/ Rumble Seat Convertible Coupe that Barn Finds featured on December 27, 2012. I am the one that purchased this car off of Ebay. I had the car delivered to me here in Quincy, IL. After I inspected it when it arrived, I thought about keeping it as original as possible, but due to some very minor surface rust and interior detoration, I decided to restore the car. The body is super straight. The car is now partially restored and was painted in the original color. The engine and trans has been rebuilt, but has not been installed as yet. All the chrome has been re-plated but has not been installed on the car as yet. Tomorrow I will take some photos of the car to let you all see what progress has been made so far.

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