11-12 October 2012

Collection of Ray Carr

Previous Next

Lot 246

1939 Chrysler Imperial Sedan

  • Chassis no. 6748427

Sold for $22,000

Model C-23. 130 hp, 323.5 cu. in. inline eight-cylinder engine, three-speed Synchro-mesh Chrysler Fluid Drive transmission, hypoid rear axle, and Lockheed four-wheel hydraulic brakes. Wheelbase: 125 in.

• Offered from the collection of Raymond H. Carr

• Veteran of the 2003 African Safari Rally

All Chrysler products were totally restyled for 1939. Headlights moved into the fenders, luggage compartments were concealed, running boards were narrowed, and all cars received a unique grille treatment. Chassis components subject to wear were polished to a mirror-like finish called “Superfinish,” which was designed to bring friction wear to the lowest possible point. All models featured a new Solar Spark ignition, hydraulic brakes, and larger tires as standard equipment. Imperials received column-mounted gearshifts for the first time.

New for the Chrysler line was the C-23 Series, which included the Saratoga, the New Yorker, and the Imperial, all on a 125-inch wheelbase. Imperials continued to be split into two series, the C-23 Imperial on the 125-inch wheelbase and the C-24 Custom Imperial on the big 144-inch wheelbase. Standard was a 323.5 CID, inline, eight cylinder engine producing 130 horsepower. Chrysler offered four Imperials, four New Yorkers, and three Saratogas for 1939, with production totaling 10,536 units across all three series.

This was a local car purchased “just down the street” from Mr. Carr’s office in south central Pennsylvania in 2002, in preparation for an African Safari rally that year. Ray chose a closed car due to the intense heat and dust associated with the African continent. Slight modifications were made in order to provide better performance in less than desirable driving conditions, including a larger gas tank, heavier rear springs, and a front sway bar. In addition, a modern Pioneer radio and instrument panel gauges were installed, though no changes were made to the dash structure, so as not to affect the integrity of the car. The original radio and aforementioned fittings are included with the sale, so that the car can be returned to its factory-built condition.

Prior to the trip, the Imperial was given a body-off complete restoration in Ray Carr’s own shops. It is painted a desert-like combination of a khaki body with olive fenders over a sand interior. Says Carr about the livery, “I went to Orvis and came home with bags of clothing. I told the painter, this is what I want the car to look like!”

On February 16, 2003, Carr, assisted by navigator Michael Greenwood, of Kent, England, embarked on his sixth automotive adventure, an African Safari Rally for 19 days, totaling 7,000 km, and passing through South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Tanzania, and Kenya. Despite extreme heat, dust, and less than ideal driving conditions, Carr persevered and added yet another long-distance journey to his repertoire. The Imperial proudly wears a battle scar from the rally in the form of a broken right side wing window that was hit by a bird while at speed. Performing admirably on the rally, Carr appropriately nicknamed the Imperial, “The General.”

Though Chrysler did not keep specific production records, it is likely that this is a low-production model, as few are known to exist. Carr describes the Imperial as a great-running and very capable car that has been used sparingly over the past few years. It would no doubt make for a unique addition to any collection, and without question, it is one with a great story to tell.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver


+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat


+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht


+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig


+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose


+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould


+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff


+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach


+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry


+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut


+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire


+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn


+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin


+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill


+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher


+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers


+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden


+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more