Oct 19 2013

Chrysler’s Chrysler Chronicle V: Summer’s Progress

Historian and coachwork specialist Walt Gosden has been providing reports on the restoration of the 1937 Chrysler's Chrysler at Steve Babinsky's Automotive Restorations, Inc. in Lebanon, New Jersey. The fifth Chrysler's Chrysler Chronicle article highlights the progress made over the summer at Steve's shop.




Howard Kroplick

Chrysler Chronicle V: Summer progress

By Walter Gosden

Significant progress has been made since the last report. Work had slowed on the Chrysler town car to allow preparation of three other customers cars that would participate in this year's  Pebble Beach Concours.  Since September work on the Chrysler has increased dramatically.

The front clip (fenders, hood, and radiator surround) was removed to gain access to the engine, chassis, and fire wall/cowl area.

The grille (shown here upside down) is made up of individual curved pieces all of which are stamped C15 to signify the custom Imperial designation. This grille gets painted and paper thin polished stainless steel strips (wrapped in tape on the table) get attached to each grille bar and graduate in size. None are the same size, and each one had to be marked to go back in the proper place.

Mike applies heat with an oxy-acetylene torch to the bolts that hold the exhaust pipe to the intake manifold to facilitate removal.

New lead has been flowed into the seam/area between the production stamped steel cowl and the custom made windshield frame to allow the smooth  flow of the body line between the two pieces of metal. Some of the original lead had weathered and needed replacement.

Finished parts in new paint are ready to be reinstalled in the future. Shown here are the running board and license plate brackets, and the under hood sheet metal . Out of sight are the restored running boards which when new had to be lengthened from standard factory issue to accommodate the dimensions of the custom coachwork.

Michael, Steve, and Howard inspect some of the structural wood that had to be replaced due to decades of damage from moisture. All the parts removed from the car that were replaced are being saved. Nate is holding the lower part of the rear door post that was structurally unsound.

Note the area above the trunk lid opening, new metal was formed and welded in  to replace the corroded original. All four doors now fit perfectly with even clearance all around.

I hold a piece of aluminum that was cut out and replaced. You're viewing the inside that was up against the wood framework and saw years of trapped moisture eat away at the metal from the inside.

Michael explains how the mechanical power (spring and cable driven) rear window lifts and door locks all function as new. Everything can be controlled from the right front door handle. An incredible bit of engineering that was featured on this one car only and never adapted to any other car produced by Chrysler or anyone else. To get this all in perfect alignment to make it all function was a major task.

The lower sheet metal of the body below the trunk opening had to be cut away to allow replacement/restoration of the structural wood there. A new sheet metal panel that form fits the new wood and matched the original was hand crafted to fit over it and is sitting in the trunk.  The compound curves and angles all have to be perfect to match the flow of the coachwork and allow the plated 3 inch cast trim strip that surrounds the lower edge of the body to attach securely. 

This is an amazing car that is having an incredible restoration (or perhaps resurrection?) to return it to its original condition.



Oct 19 2013 R Troy 11:27 PM

If I recall correctly, the trapped moisture was something that dates back to when the car was new?  Was something done to prevent it from happening again?

Also wondering; besides body components, what else is being done?  Chassis, engine and remaining drive train, etc.?



Oct 19 2013 R Troy 11:28 PM

Forgot another question; fuel system.  What shape is it in?  I’m curious because on my Packard 243 I’m having to have the whole fuel system essentially scoured to remove decades of varnish, etc.


Oct 20 2013 Lou 11:23 AM

I know it’s not cheap to restore cars these days but never was there a more worthy candidate…...Thanks for sharing the update…..

Oct 20 2013 Ken Wiebke 12:36 PM

I very much enjoy these periodic report and am delighted that you share them.  I think Mr. Gosden is a master of the understatement, for example, when he writes:
“To get this all in perfect alignment to make it all function was a major task”  I can’t help but think it probably took two or more men a week of hard effort to figure it it out.

  Keep it up!

Oct 20 2013 Thomas Abbe 5:21 PM

Brilliant reportage very much appreciated. Your documentation is contributing to the value of your Chrysler too. Thanks, Tom

Oct 21 2013 Walt Gosden 9:09 AM

To answer your questions - the car is receiving a total restoration. everything, all chassis components, engine etc will be gone through and restored as necessary. the main thing to prevent trapped moisture in the future is to keep the car in a space where there is little, and it is dry . For 50+ years the car was housed in damp concrete garages near a large body of water (Long Island Sound), there was never enough air circulating to dry out the moisture. It was cold and damp or warm and humid. The car is low mileage, so excessive wear in the engine isn’t anticipated, and it was running before it went into the shop for the work you see. being done.

Oct 21 2013 Frank Tedesco 9:37 AM

Nice write up Walt! Very informative and great pictures. Keep the updates coming, I can’t wait too see what’s next.

Oct 21 2013 Howard Kroplick 9:40 AM

From Harley N.

“Thank you as always for your research and passion for the LIMP.

But special thanks for shining a spotlight on Marty Himes; I have been through his museum and we discussed what will happen with this incredible collection down the road.  I hope a proper museum will accept his historic treasures.”

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