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Gunsmoke

1931 Chrysler CD8 Roadster Proposal

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I've settled on the approach I will take in rebuilding the 1931 Chrysler CD8 Roadster. As some who have followed my threads know, the car came as a basket case barn find heavily modified, including having a 1.5"-2" chop to windshield and top irons, lowering roof line considerably. While Chrysler used a common platform (incl front fenders etc) for all its CD8 models in 1931, I always felt the large clamshell fenders didn't suit the Roadster as well as other models. So, for many reasons (scarcity of good front fenders, no need for 2 sidemount spares, no real need for running boards for these models), I plan to use a modified pair of rear fenders on the front as shown, and eliminate running boards. I plan to move side-mount spare (using one only, passenger side) back 6" or so, close to door edge, and also move it 4"-5" closer to body, sitting in a custom saddle mounted to a modified original wheel well bracket. This location allows more of the long hood to show. I will make custom side aprons running from rear fender to rad shell. I know some will say "why", others will hopefully be kind in their observations.  The illustration records the proposed changes including a lowered roof line, and overall making for a lower/longer proportions. BTW, pulled the car shown off internet, best shot I could find for a full side view.

Proposed Roadster 2019 2.jpeg

Chrysler CD8 Roadster All White&brown trim.jpg

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Posted (edited)
I would advise you to restore it to its original state, also to maintain its historical value. I recently purchased a model of the 1930s: Chrysler cd8 roadster first series, arrived in Italy in 1931 and I started the restoration. Soon I will post photos in the forum. Good restoration.
Edited by GianlucaCD8 (see edit history)

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In embarking on a rebuild of this rough but rare car, I've always stuck to the adage "do no harm". So as a consequence, the proposal I am planning will not prevent any future owner from going on to a "full historically correct restoration" without some alteration preventing it. As anyone in this hobby knows, making such a decision (go full restoration)for a rough but rare car can mean many, many thousands of dollars more and long delays searching for rare parts. Many parts for this rare car are virtually impossible to find, let alone very pricey if found. For example to consider historical restoration, I would need to find 4 very good fenders (about $4K-$5K I'm guessing), 1 decent running board for passenger side ($500 + rubber covers are not made by anyone), 2 more good wheels (about $500 min.),  a correct windshield (mine has been chopped 1.5") been quoted $1000 for one in bare steel, correct top irons (mine were chopped 1.5") about $500 to remake to match original, a new set of correct oak bows (perhaps $1000), correct interior door pulls (I've never seen any for sale), correct front seat (with adjustable driver's back) and rumble seats (I've never seen any for sale), correct stop/tail light and stanchion (been quoted $2500 for light only), a correct Carb ($750 restored), a set of 4 correct rear deck cleats (impossible to find so far) and numerous other minor pieces. Then a full re-chroming of all brightwork, bumpers and wheel rings, a likely minimum $5000 job. Then of course there remains all the lower body patch work and the need for 2 fully functioning cowl side vents. the list grows everyday.

 

When you tally up the further out of pocket expense to go "original" it adds up fast, perhaps $25K quickly. and that does not include body work, paint, upholstery and a few other finishing touches. So, I've decided someone else down the road may want to do that (so am doing nothing to prevent it) but I am doing my share to "save this piece of automotive history". I have married it up to a correct 1st series chassis and drivetrain, all of which are fully rebuilt, rebuilt gas tank and radiator, made a correct dash, collected all correct gauges, found correct outside door handles, rebuilt all 4 shocks, rebuilt suspension and brakes all around, made bows to match shortened top irons,  etc, etc. 

 

So when I'm finished, the car should look great, yes customized front fenders, but otherwise a perfect candidate for some well heeled future owner to take to the next level. Just not going to be me. As usual, money talks.

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I hate to see you do this after all the hard work you've done, but I fully understand your predicament. It has gotten nearly impossible to restore one of these cars unless you start with a fairly complete car with all the right parts. In 1992 when I did my roadster, I found one of the last complete parts cars left and it was invaluable in getting the roadster finished. It takes extremely deep pockets to finish an incomplete car. I thought when you started it was a big chew.

Greg

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Your proposal does not string any historic cords although someone very well might have done exactly that to a CD8 Roadster. How about mimicking the style Martin Swig applied to his CD, apparently in the line of long-distance racing in Europe where these cars did well? Homemade front cycle fenders and cut down rears, skip the (IMHO ugly) square box on the back and rear-mount the spare  instead. Resale value would also benefit to my opinion.

 

DSC_4003.jpg.97670e7fafb85e51609c832f4d7d207d.jpg

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Thanks Greg and Narve, I still have the luxury for a few more months to go in any of 3 or 4 directions re the front fenders and running boards, the only real changes I plan at the moment. I considered the Swig approach but figured it would be a copy-cat look and not as well done as his. Also considered an historic hot rod approach, leaving the as found 1950's setup, Cadillac/Lasalle/Auburn drivetrain and keeping the rest largely original. But it is a rare car and I felt should for the most part saved as such. Interestingly, a week after I bought the barn find I was offered more than I paid by 2 parties wanting to make a hot rod using only the body. And finally a custom builder encouraged me to go resto-mod, drop a modern rear drive Mopar drivetrain in it with modern electronics, discs all around etc. As we know from the many threads on AACA, there is no limit to what one can do with a barn find, only imagination, passion, integrity, money and time. I'll be 74 next spring, and would like to be able to drive this thru the summer. Fingers crossed.

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Posted (edited)

How about this original stripped version for inspiration? Unknown picture, possibly from Europe.

31 Chry CD8 Special org foto.jpg

Edited by Narve N (see edit history)

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Thanks Narve, shows more or less how I plan to mount the spare. As for the car, not sure just how much CD8 is there if any. Cool racer tho.

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Posted (edited)

After spending the best part of 5 years gathering CD8 Roadster parts and determining what an original Roadster had as construction and equipment, this week I sent it off to an antique car colleague (his shop shown) who is very good at making body panels and historically correct detailing. Have given him many photos and literature on the car, and will be in touch regularly. He is long retired, so works as a hobby on these cars when in the mood, so might take several months. For now he will complete all sheetmetal work to epoxy primer state ready for paint, incl sandblasting, panel making, fitting and resolving any other issues, but nothing mechanical. He is building a jig to set body on after which I will retrieve rolling chassis to work on over the winter, incl brakes, drivetrain, wiring harness, shocks/suspension, steering, exhaust, gas tank, rad, wheels, windshield, folding top, gauges, seat, upholstery panels, search for still missing parts (tail light, deck cleats if any one has them) etc etc. Front fender final resolution is still down the road. These "barnfind" projects are sooooo easy!!

IMG_5782.JPG

vic's 5.jpg

Vic's 4.jpg

Edited by Gunsmoke (see edit history)
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