1939 Chrysler C-24 Custom Parade Phaeton

 

In many ways, the very rare car shown in this article, the Chrysler C-24 Custom Parade Phaeton, was all about the 1939 World's Fair held in New York City. In fact, it's said that the car was created for the World's Fair.

1939 Chrysler Custom Parade Phaeton

1939 Chrysler Custom Parade Phaeton

The Derham Body Company

The Chrysler C-24 Phaeton was a seven passenger limousine. The coach builder was Derham. Three different cars were built on the C-24 frame. These were the Convertible Town Car, the Convertible Sedan and the Turing Phaeton such as the one shown here. The Derham Body Company was founded in 1887 in the western Philadelphia suburbs by Joseph Derham, an immigrant from Ireland. His first custom car body however wasn't built until 1907, some twenty years later. Some of his very first customers were wealthy residents of north Philadelphia.

Derham Body Company had such a great reputation for quality that they even built auto bodies for some of their competitors. Derham's popular slogan was "Your choices are limited only by your imaginations and desires. What you want, we will build."

1939 Chrysler C-24 Phaeton Limousine

1939 Chrysler C-24 Phaeton Limousine

Chrysler and the 1939 World's Fair

The Transportation Zone at the fair was a popular area. As with all commercial exhibitors at the fair, one goal was to sell the company's products. Another aim was to introduce potential customers to new methods of production as well as new materials used. Automakers utilized the 1939 World's Fair as both a selling and educational venue.

Chrysler was very involved and noticed at the 1939 World's Fair in New York. Remember, this was the tenth year after the infamous 1929 stock market crash. The country was limping through the 1930's with high unemployment and various civilian government work programs. Chrysler, for it's part, survived the toughest of the Great depression years by doing a good job selling it's lower cost Dodge and Plymouth models.The Chrysler models were perceived as mid-size automobiles which competed against Cadillac.

1939 Chrsyler C-24 Limousine

1939 Chrsyler C-24 Limousine

Several automakers had elaborate exhibits at the 1939 World's Fair. General Motors had a 36,000 square foot pavilion called "Futurama" . Here visitors were taken over a large diorama of part of the U.S. which highlighted highways, towns and homes, all in miniature. The Ford Pavilion featured race car drivers on a figure eight track on the building's roof top. The driving went on continuously.

Chrysler embraced the World's Fair with several unique exhibits. One was a 3-D film requiring the viewers to wear the special 3-D glasses. It was estimated that some one and one-half million people saw the film that was titled, "In Tune With Tomorrow". The special eyeglasses were in the shape of a Plymouth automobile. The film was recognized as the first time that a mass audience was exposed to a 3-D film. Viewers of Chrysler's film were also sitting in air conditioning which was rather new for the time.

1939 Chrysler Phaeton Limousine front end grille work

1939 Chrysler Phaeton Limousine front end grille work

The 1939 Chrysler Custom Phaeton shown here was on display at the World's Fair at the Chrysler Pavilion. Total Chrysler production for the 1939 model year was 67,749 units. Out of this number there were 117 limousine sedans built. 95 seven passenger sedans and only one of the C-24 Custom Phaeton Limousines which is the one shown in this article. The most popular selling model during Chrysler's 1939 model year was the six cylinder Royal 6. More than 50,000 of these were built. The average Windsor Royal 6 sold new for between $1,000 and $1,300 depending upon options. Manual transmissions were standard equipment. The six cylinder engines provided 100 horsepower.

Chrysler C-24 Limousine side view

Chrysler C-24 Limousine side view

1939 Chrysler C-24 Phaeton Limousine Specs

The 1939 C-24 Chrysler Custom Imperials had essentially the same trim lines as the C-23's. The car was powered by a 324 CID L-Head Inline Eight Cylinder Engine. This produced 132 horsepower. The engine had a total of sixteen valves, two per cylinder. The transmission was a three speed Fluid Drive and the brakes were four wheel hydraulic drum. The C-24's had larger tires than the C-23's and also had better inside trims and features.

The 1939 C-24 had a wheelbase of 144 inches.

The Chrysler limousine's weight was about 4,600 lbs.

Links to two additional AutoMuseumOnline photo articles you'll be interested in are the 1939 Chevrolet Master Deluxe Business Coupe and the 1933 Duesenberg Model J.

(Photos from author's collection)

 

1953 Chrysler Windsor

Chrysler Corporation was formed in 1925, years after both Ford and General Motors. The company was begun by Walter Percy Chrysler in June of that year. Chrysler operated as an independent automaker all the way until 1998 when the comany was taken over by Daimler-Benz.

1953 Chrysler Windsor

1953 Chrysler Windsor

Walter Chrysler began Chrysler Corporation after spending over a decade in the automobile business and prior to that in the railroad business. He first went up the ladder at Buick while GM was controlled by the bankers. When General Motors was later controlled again by William Durant who had originally started the company, Chrysler was persuaded to stay aboard at Buick and given an enormous salary for the era.

Eventually, Walter Chrysler parted with GM and tried to help the bankers by running the Willys-Overland Motor Company which was in deep trouble. Chrysler was never able to take total control from John Willys and eventually resigned and bought controlling interest in Maxwell Motors. After the Maxwell brand was phased out the Chrysler Corporation grew by the acquisition of Dodge and by adding the Plymouth and Desoto marques.

1953 Chrysler

1953 Chrysler

Later in it's history, Chrysler Corporation would make large investments to it's Canadian plants.

Walter Chrysler began phasing himself out of the Chrysler Corporation during the late 1930's with operation responsibility handed off to other executives. After suffering a stroke in 1938, Walter Chrysler died two years later in 1940. He was sixty-five years of age.

The 1953 Chrysler Windsor Design

The 1953 Chrysler Windsor like the one shown in this article was a full sized automobile that sold in the 1940's and 1950's.

The 1953 Chrysler line was totally new from front to back including dozens of new mechanical changes. As an example of the significant changes with the 1953 models, they included improvements in the windshield wipers, heater, chassis frame, carburetor, rear axle, suspension, fuel tank and drive train.

Chrysler Windsor Deluxe new 1953 styling

Chrysler Windsor Deluxe new 1953 styling

Just about any part of the automobile you could think of was changed by Chrysler that year. Designs were similar to both Dodge and Plymouth in 1953 but Desoto stayed relatively unchanged.

An interesting note is that after World War Two Chrysler was in second place among American automakers only to lose it quickly to a more competitive Ford Motor Company.  During the early 1950's Chrysler was a profitable company with a combination of passenger automobile sales and a large military contract. This was the period of the Korean War which did hamper some civilian car production.

Another interesting note is that Chrysler Corporation's production hit a record in 1953. Those numbers would not be surpassed until 1965.

The photo at the bottom of this article gives you an idea of how the Chrysler Windsor changed styling yet again with the 1956 Windsor Newport model.

Chrysler Windsor Deluxe

Chrysler Windsor Deluxe

1953 Chrysler Windsor Specs

The 1953 Chrysler Windsor came with the option of a three speed manual transmission or a three speed automatic. This was a new option introduced in 1953. The 1953 model also was powered with a 264.5 cid V-8 engine producing 119 horsepower. Both the displacement and horsepower were increased over the 1952 models.

An interesting note is that Chrysler engineering was pushing hard in developing their V-8's since the late 1940's. Many believe it was Chrysler's success with more powerful V-8's that started the horsepower was between the major automakers. That war would last all the way to the 1970's. Chrysler would add more power with each new series of vehicles and Ford and General Motors would have no alternative other than to follow suit.

New styling on the 1956 Chrysler Windsor Newport

New styling on the 1956 Chrysler Windsor Newport

The wheelbase was 125 inches and the Chrysler Windsor's length was 211 inches which would be increased to 215.6 inches in 1954. The car's width was 76.8 inches and had a height of 62.5 inches. As a comparison, the 1953 Plymouth had a 114 inch wheelbase.

Links to three additional AutoMuseumOnline photo articles you'll enjoy include...

1953 Pontiac Chieftain

1953 Kaiser Dragon

1952 Packard Packard Convertible

Power Flite, Chrysler's first fully automatic transmission, was put into production and appeared in June, 1953. The one-piece curved glass windshield which had been initially introduced and used only on the Airflow Custom Imperial, CW, of 1934-35, now became a feature attraction of the Windsor model.

(1953 Chrysler photos from author's private collection. 1954 Chrysler Windsor Newport is from the public domain)