1939 Chrysler C-24 Custom Imperial Parade Phaeton
Engine: L-Head Inline 8
Displacement: 324 Cubic Inches
Horsepower: 183 BHP
Cost New: Unknown, custom-built for the 1939 World's Fair.
In preparation for the 1939-40 World's Fair in New York, Chrysler sent this production Imperial limousine to Derham Body coach builders in Pennsylvania. Derham built the vehicle with a magnificent open design and special features, like the beautifully sculpted front fenders, enclosed side-mounted spare tires, flag stands, a vee'd windscreen and unusual crescent-shaped front windows. This particular car was chosen for display at the Chrysler Pavilion and was selected as the official parade vehicle to transport King George VI and Queen Elizabeth during their visit to the World's Fair. In preparation, the car was fitted with special bulletproof windows to surround the rear compartment and special rear-facing jump seats for guests of the King and Queen.
After its service in New York, this Imperial was returned to Detroit, where it remained in Chrysler's executive garage for use in transporting special visitors and for demonstration purposes. In 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his wife Eleanor, along with Michigan Governor Murry Van Wagoner, Chrysler Chief K.T. Keller and War Production Chief Donald Nelson used this vehicle to tour Chrysler's war plants and tank production. The Imperial also traveled all over the country for presentations and parade duties.
In 1952, Chrysler built three new parade cars on the all-new Imperial chassis. The now-obsolete car was given to the Roose-Vanker Legion Post in Detroit, presumably because K.T. Keller was the standing post commander. The vehicle remained with the Legion Post until the 1980s. Bruce Thomas, a former Chrysler employee who had spent nearly forty years trying to buy this car, finally got his Imperial in the 1980s. The vehicle was freshened up and displayed at the Meadowbrook Concours d'Elegance, where it earned the Most Significant Chrysler award.