Mar 02 2012

Vanderbilt’s Chrysler: An Update

An article reporting on the recent sale of a 1937 Chrysler Imperial  by the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum was published In the February 16, 2012 issue of The Long Islander newspaper.  Highlights from the article follow, including photos of the Chrysler as it looks today.


Howard Kroplick

A one-of-a-kind Chrysler from 1937 has earned the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum and Planetarium $275,00, museum officials announced last week- and the car will be staying on Long Island. "Selling this Art Deco gem will enable us to create an endowment fund to preserve and care for the Vanderbilt collections." Interim Director Lance Reinheimer said. "We're thrilled that Howard Kroplick, a passionate automotive historian and collector, is going to meticulously restore this unique piece of American history." Powered by a 130-horsepower inline eight-cylinder engine, the special Imperial boasts Art Deco design influences and a hand-hammered aluminum roof and doors. Features include a small, circular porthole window with a privacy cover, a rear passenger clock, leather upholstery, gray horsehair seats and a removable top for the driver's compartment. While Kroplick said the history of the car was a major draw, he was also attracted by the fact that his purchase would directly benefit an organization he supports. The Imperial Town Car has 25,501 miles on the odometer. Kroplick's first step will be to bring in experts to analyze the car and determine the next steps on preservation and restoration. After he has a road map, he'll bring in classic car and Chrysler restoration experts to quote a price and begin work on the historic car.

Additional Current Images

A view from the rear A privacy shade below the rear windows Tail light Porthole that opens to reveal two mirrors Art Deco steering wheel The instrument panel The initials of Walter P. Chrysler's daughter Bernice Chrysler Garbisch The passenger's clock facing the back seats The hood mascot

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Mar 03 2012 James 4:11 AM

The beginning of an amazing journey for you, the car, the Vanderbilt legacy, Long Island and, dare I say, the history of the Automoblie in this country and the world.

Mar 04 2012 S. (Sam) Berliner, III 1:20 AM

I, for one, would love to see interior and exterior details of those semi-hidden porthole windows (when you get a chance).

Mar 04 2012 R Troy 2:32 AM

I hope we all get to see the results of a great restoration of a special car!

Mar 04 2012 James Elliott 4:12 AM

Looking forward to the long overdue restoration of a unique automobile.

Mar 04 2012 Robert E. Richer 10:36 AM

Just great, Howard!  Congratulations!
Am I the only one to remember the days when there was a Chrysler showroom in the Chrysler Building?  The highlight, as far as I was concerned, was a large wooden box filled with tools that Walter Chrysler had built by hand…items such as calipers, micrometers, screwdrivers, etc.  Pure works of art.  I hate to think of what probably happened to that magnificent collection.

Mar 04 2012 Ken Wiebke 1:10 PM

Thank you Howard for what you are doing for the car collector hobby and the Vanderbilt Museum. 

If you look at the interior of the car it’s not hard to imagine Ms. Chrysler boarding The 20th Century Limited or the Queen Mary or Pan Am’s Yankee Clipper- a world of elegant Art Deco travel.

Mar 05 2012 Tom 10:00 PM

Love the interior, what room!

Mar 06 2012 Tom 8:31 AM

Brilliant car. Love the art deco pieces. I would think the restoration price will be up there but it will be well worth it. Congrats on the purchase again and congrats to the Vanderbilt museum.

Mar 06 2012 Malcolm 12:05 PM

You have a rare treasure Howard but the greatest feature seems to be that it remains so original.  From a museum perspective, let me encourage you to give the car a very conservative restoration.  It certainly needs new paint but if the interior and mechanicals are original, please commit the extra effort to preserving these original materials.  It’s also a perfect candidate for the “Preservation Class” at any of the Concours.  “Less is more” when you have the responsibility for such a wonderful piece of history.

Mar 06 2012 Howard Kroplick 12:56 PM

Thanks all for the great comments! Much appreciated.

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