Imperial Home Page -> Imperials by Year -> 1928 -> Chrysler Imperial 80 Locke "Touralette"
This rare Imperial was offered for sale on Ebay in July of 2013.
Here's what the seller had to say about this unique automobile:
Interior Color: Brown
Number of Cylinders: 6
Engine: Straight 6
Body Type: Convertible
Drive Type: RWD
Vehicle Title: Clear
Fuel Type: Gasoline
Sub Model: Locke Touralette
For Sale By: Private Seller
Exterior Color: Red
1928 Chrysler Imperial 80 "Touralette" 1 OF 2 KNOWN.
Sale Benefits CCCA Museum
In 1926, Walter P. Chrysler propelled his two-year-old company into the luxury car field with the introduction of the Chrysler "Imperial." By 1928, the upgraded model 80L Imperial was known as "America's Most Powerful Motocar." It featured a bored 6 cylinder, 309 cubic inch L-head engine with a 6:1 compression ratio, generating 112 horseposwer at 3,200 rpm. The Chrysler was more powerful than the Cadillacs, LaSalles, Packards and Pierce-Arrows of the day and was advertised by Chrylser as a true 100 mile per hour car. The car could also stop as fast as it could go, thanks to Chrysler's superior Lockheed 4-wheel hydraulic brakes which were far superior to anything else on the road in 1928.
One of the most stunning and sporty Imperials offered was the "Touralette" 2-door Sport Phaeton with a custom aluminum body by the Locke Company of Rochester, New York. Designed by John Tjaarda initially as a personal "one off" custom, Locke was so impressed that they ended up building 21 of the Touralettes for Chrysler during 1928. Featuring a low-slung, European style body, the design was most noted for the hand-painted cane panel design applied by the Locke craftsmen to the rear portion of the body. Riding on a 136 inch wheelbase, with an overall length of just under 17 feet, and selling for $4485 (at a time when a new Ford Model A Phaeton cost $460) the Touralette was intended for the young, wealthy playboy of the Roaring 20's. The fact that just 21 were sold is testimony to its exclusivity. Today, this is just one of two 1928 Touralettes known to exist.
While the early history of this car is unknown, it was acquired in original, unrestored condition by William Harrah for the Harrah Automobile Collection in Reno, Nevada in the 1970's. Following the dispersal of the Harrah collection it was purchased by Ralph Goldman of Florida who before his death, donated it to the Classic Car Club of America Museum in Hickory Corners, Michigan, where it is displayed today. Mr. Goldman included a written statement upon donating the car, which states: "The Chrylser Imperial Touralette has the complete engine rebuilt, all dents removed, primed and a partial paint job. Brakes were done completely. Headlights were purchased and placed on the car. Four wheels were done. Two hubs (for sidemounts) included. They were difficult to acquire and very expensive. Chassis is brought up to standard. The engine was never started...."
Examination of the car shows Mr. Goldman's statements to be accurate. The car also includes a box of small parts for the engine and an accessory Wood brand bumper for the car, as well as a spare wheel and a spare rim for the sidemounts. There is no top assembly or bows, which appears to be the only major item missing. Of course, a competant restorer can fabricate the top assembly which was similar in design and operation to other open cars of the 1920's. The wood in the body appears good for the most part. The framing in the doors appears solid and they hang and close well. The floor boards in the driver's compartment will need replacement. The framing observed in the built-in the trunk also appears solid. Please see photos. The upholstery on the seats appears to be original and may be used for patterns. Overall, this appears to be a very solid original car that should be a straight-forward project for the new owner.
The CCCA Museum is offering this car for sale in hopes that the new owner will finish the restoration of this significant automobile. Properly completed, this would be a stunningly rare and desireable automobile that should afford the new owner both a standout on the show field and a fine driving experience.
Proceeds from this sale benefit the Classic Car Club of America Museum and their mission of preserving the automobiles and history of the Classic Era (1925-1948). The museum is a 501c3 charitable entity and welcomes your donations. This car is currently on display at the CCCA museum which is part of the Gilmore Car Museum complex in Hickory Corners, Michigan. The car may be inspected by appointment during the time of this auction. Note that the car does not run and a trailer will be needed to transport it from the museum. This auction is being facilitated by Charvet Classic Cars on behalf of the museum.
If you are the new owner, or you have any other information, please write in and tell us about this rare 1928 survivor Imperial.
This page was last updated September 13, 2013. Send us your feedback, and come join the Imperial Mailing List - Online Car Club