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Lot 415: Chrysler Imperial Crown Convertible

Motorcycle and Motorcars, Bonhams & Butterfields (14 November 2009)

The 1950s and early 1960s saw automobile styling drawn from airplane design. General Motors and Chrysler fought a "fin war", which resulted in a golden age of American automobile styling. Although excessive, it was a statement of American power worldwide. By the end of the 1950s, Bill Mitchell was replacing the flamboyant Harley Earle at General Motors, and their cars began to be toned down. Chrysler continued on with their almost baroque take on the trends of the 1950s.

This 1962 Chrysler convertible is one of the last overstatements of the earlier design trends. Four separate chrome headlight buckets with bezeled surrounds accentuate the massive chrome of the grille. Stepping back, one admires the ivory paint and white top. These contrast with the maroon interior. The rear of the car makes a statement. There is a stamping on the trunk that suggests a spare wheel. But it is the fins and taillights that really catch your attention. The fins are capped by a chrome strip that runs on top of them and dips down under the trunk lid. The taillights look like chrome rockets with the lights themselves suggesting red exhaust.

Sitting in the car, you are confronted by a square steering wheel. Consoles on each side of the wheel have push buttons for the transmission (l) and the HVAC (r). The 413 cubic inch V-8 provides 340 horsepower, enough to move even this land cruiser.

This great example of the apogee of U.S automobile styling is welcome at almost any concours and a drive on a warm evening can make one think he or she has somehow shed many years.

Lot Details
Auction Motorcycle and Motorcars
Bonhams & Butterfields, Los Angeles
TypeCar
Lot Number415
Estimate$24000-$28000
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price$31000
Hammer Price (inc premium)$36270
Year1962
Condition rating0
Registration number
Mileage-
Chassis number9223196631
Engine number
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors