1952 Chrysler Crown Imperial Limousine  Chassis no. 7815265
Lot 565
1952 Chrysler Crown Imperial Limousine
Chassis no. 7815265
Sold for US$ 4,000 inc. premium
Lot Details
1952 Chrysler Crown Imperial Limousine
Chassis no. 7815265
331ci OHV 'FirePower' Hemi V8
Single Carter WCD Carburetor
180hp at 4,000rpm
4-speed Prest-o-Matic clutchless manual transmission
Front coil spring and rear leaf suspension
4-wheel power-assisted disk brakes

*Extremely rare example of one of the most expensive American cars of its day.
*Complete and original condition
*Early example of the famous Chrysler Hemi V8
*Owned by the Pew family


The Chrysler Crown Imperial

Originally an up-market Chrysler, Imperial was registered as a marque in its own right in 1954, a move which enabled the corporation to develop a separate identity for the cars. In the immediate post-war years though, the conservatively styled Imperials looked little different from mainstream Chryslers. The latter were virtually identical to those of 1942, and not until 1949 did a new look appear. Based on the Chrysler New Yorker, the new-for-'49 Imperial featured a canvas-covered roof and superior leather and broadcloth upholstery. Its engine was the 5.3-liter sidevalve straight eight, while 'Fluid Drive' and 'Prest-o-omatic' (clutch-less) transmission were standard equipment. A Cadillac-style radiator grille was new for 1950, the last year of the straight eight engine. The latter was dropped at the year's end and replaced by Chrysler's classic 331.1cu in (5.4-liter) 'Hemi' V8. A direct competitor to Cadillac, the Crown Imperial was Chrysler's top-of-the-range and most exclusive model, being manufactured in relatively limited numbers.

The 1952 Imperial Crown was a low production year and the limousine was the rarest of the bunch. These exclusive long wheelbase machines have the distinction of being the longest production American car of the time. The Imperial boasted a number of innovative firsts, including power steering and four-wheel disc brakes.

The few limousines produced were made for heads of states or highly wealthy individuals who preferred a chauffeur-drive automobile. It is thought only about eighty of these Crown limousines were made in 1952.

The Motorcar Offered

This high-quality limousine is understood by its current owners of many years to have been delivered new to a member of the Pew family, whose name resonates owing to the success they created with the Sun Oil Company. The founder's son, J. Howard Pew, engineered at a young age a use for one of the residues from crude oil to make the first petroleum asphalt of commercial success 'Hydrolene'. This invention provided a springboard for widespread development of the family business. Learning lessons from the Standard Oil break up in 1911, J. Howard Pew steered his company conservatively through the hardest of times, taking great pride that none of his employees were let go throughout the depression or even took a pay cut. In his later life, he devoted his resources and time to great philanthropy, much in the same vein as Andrew Carnegie, electing to give away a substantial portion of his fortune.

Mr. Pew and no doubt his family descendants would have appreciated the quality of the Chrysler Crown Imperial, and would have been able to afford its high price ticket when new. Similarly, the current owner's husband also prized its design and quality when he acquired it back in the 1970s.

Generally in well preserved condition, the main area of difficulty is the rear seat which has tears. The black paint is presentable and there is a bit of corrosion in the rear quarter panels. After some years of being laid up, a proper recommissioning should be undertaken before road use.

Saleroom notices

  • Please note that the title for this vehicle is in transit.
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