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1939 Chrysler Royal 4dr in Illinois $4,800


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Here's a link to a C/L ad for a decent looking '39 Chrysler Royal sedan for sale in Springfield, IL for $4,800. It looks fairly original with 56K on the speedo, typical dashboard plastic and no mention of overdrive. It has the sealed beam headlight conversion -- not my preference, but no big deal:

 

https://springfieldil.craigslist.org/cto/d/springfield-1939-chrysler-royal/7100606842.html

 

 

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This is my teenage daughter’s favorite car (she’s claimed ours as her own already), though I have to say the cruise and climb overdrive really makes a big difference.  There isn’t a picture of the left side of the dash/steering column for the Illinois car, to see if the OD knob is there.  The firewall tag would also have “OD”, I believe.

Edited by SparkEE (see edit history)
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8 hours ago, SparkEE said:

This is my teenage daughter’s favorite car (she’s claimed ours has her own already), though I have to say the cruise and climb overdrive really makes a big difference.  There isn’t a picture of the left side of the dash/steering column for the Illinois car, to see if the OD knob is there.  The firewall tag would also have “OD”, I believe.


What is a comfortable driving speed for one of these cars with (or without) overdrive?  

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8 hours ago, gossp said:


What is a comfortable driving speed for one of these cars with (or without) overdrive?  

There’s a thread that discusses the ratios here, albeit on 8 cylinder cars (same body, longer hood)

 

 

You might use that to figure out what you should do.  I grew up running heavy equipment and was instructed to listen to the drive train to determine what throttle position / gear to run things at.  With that in mind, I felt comfortable with a Royal at 45-50 with overdrive locked out and around 60 with good visibility / good roads in overdrive (hydraulic actuated drum brakes worked well, so did push that upper figure a bit on the interstate) .  With that overdrive kick down, I was able to ascend a pretty steep mountain road in high.  We love the car.

 

I got mine in “well used” condition and have enjoyed it immensely and never worried about the car.  ...though there is a one year only hubcap our there on the shoulder somewhere.

 

 

ok, there was the one time shortly after I bought the car that the throttle linkage clip came loose - that *is* something you want to avoid (throttle opens completely when that happens).

AF7DB0EC-595C-4E61-A4A6-EE73B7E66C83.jpeg

Edited by SparkEE (see edit history)
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On 4/10/2020 at 3:13 PM, SparkEE said:

There’s a thread that discusses the ratios here, albeit on 8 cylinder cars (same body, longer hood)

 

 

You might use that to figure out what you should do.  I grew up running heavy equipment and was instructed to listen to the drive train to determine what throttle position / gear to run things at.  With that in mind, I felt comfortable with a Royal at 45-50 with overdrive locked out and around 60 with good visibility / good roads in overdrive (hydraulic actuated drum brakes worked well, so did push that upper figure a bit on the interstate) .  With that overdrive kick down, I was able to ascend a pretty steep mountain road in high.  We love the car.

 

I got mine in “well used” condition and have enjoyed it immensely and never worried about the car.  ...though there is a one year only hubcap our there on the shoulder somewhere.

 

 

ok, there was the one time shortly after I bought the car that the throttle linkage clip came loose - that *is* something you want to avoid (throttle opens completely when that happens).

AF7DB0EC-595C-4E61-A4A6-EE73B7E66C83.jpeg

What a beauty! I sure do like the look of the original headlight lenses. From this angle, and with the lighting at that moment, the accent lines in the fenders show beautifully. I didn't like these Chryslers when I was much younger, but over time I came to admire their sleek and unique lines. Thanks for sharing a picture of yours! I'll keep an eye out for your missing hub cap.

Edited by Hudsy Wudsy (see edit history)
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4 hours ago, SparkEE said:

There’s a thread that discusses the ratios here, albeit on 8 cylinder cars (same body, longer hood)

 

 

You might use that to figure out what you should do.  I grew up running heavy equipment and was instructed to listen to the drive train to determine what throttle position / gear to run things at.  With that in mind, I felt comfortable with a Royal at 45-50 with overdrive locked out and around 60 with good visibility / good roads in overdrive (hydraulic actuated drum brakes worked well, so did push that upper figure a bit on the interstate) .  With that overdrive kick down, I was able to ascend a pretty steep mountain road in high.  We love the car.

 

I got mine in “well used” condition and have enjoyed it immensely and never worried about the car.  ...though there is a one year only hubcap our there on the shoulder somewhere.

 

 

ok, there was the one time shortly after I bought the car that the throttle linkage clip came loose - that *is* something you want to avoid (throttle opens completely when that happens).

AF7DB0EC-595C-4E61-A4A6-EE73B7E66C83.jpeg


I am fairly familiar with the 8cyl Chrysler’s of the era and was curious as to how much less you got from the 6.  
 

I irrationally have myself convinced that I need a prewar “beater” that is close to interstate capable. I know the 8’s will do it. 

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I can appreciate that.  For posted speed limits, my six with overdrive can hold its own on the interstate.  In some places the default speed is what a friend termed “super legal”, which is too fast even for that combo.  I have an eight project with overdrive as well, so maybe my daughter will get her wish eventually.  I had the pictured car on a tour in Idaho several years ago and someone came by to tell me how they used a 1939 Chrysler Imperial to run alcohol between counties in a southern state.  He said it was a great car, until it threw a plug through that hood. 

Edited by SparkEE (see edit history)
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17 hours ago, Taylormade said:

This car has been listed on C/L for quite a while.  Not sure why it’s still around as the price doesn’t seem all that bad.

If it were near me and I wasn’t sequestered at home, I’d go look.  It appears to missing trim where the hood meets the cowl and the oil bath air cleaner has a big dent on that side, which I’d want to fix ASAP, as the filtering part doesn’t seem to be sitting correctly. 

 

It has the banjo steering wheel which makes me wonder if there’s also over drive...

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40 minutes ago, Brooklyn Beer said:

I tried to contact him from Craigslist.  No answer.  Don't want call over the holiday.

 

Keep us posted. It’s a few hours drive for me and I am hoping it will become unavailable since the last thing a guy with a significantly reduced income at the moment needs to do is buy a car. Hell, when the Maxwell comes home from the Gilmore in July I won’t even have a garage space for it.... but I keep looking. 

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On 4/10/2020 at 11:20 AM, GregLaR said:

Runs and drives.

Looks like a bargain to me.

 

I agree. And a title, too!

 

I'm glad I don't live in Illinois or I would be at risk for acquiring a fourth old car. I love solid looking and affordable cool old vehicles like this!

 

Could it be that the surprisingly low price is a result of a very poor market due to coronavirus? I wouldn't want to be selling a used car right now, let alone a collector car.

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On 4/11/2020 at 8:52 PM, Brooklyn Beer said:

I am pretty interested in it.  So I might try a call late tomorrow.  

 

I was also interested, not for me, but for our son-in-law.

The distance from here would add substantially to the cost,

and his drastically diminished work/earnings over the past month may be a consideration

 

Brooklyn Beer, Go For It

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For the sake of curiosity and discussion: In 1939 the C-22 Chrysler Royal originally had a 241 ci engine. About 100 bhp. The 5 passenger  4 door sedan weighed in at 3265 lbs. Approximate power to weight ratio of .0327 HP per pound.  Or 32.65 lbs per single HP.

 

I own a 1939 Plymouth P-6. Thinking about comparing performance, comparing power to weight. My 1938 has a 1954 228 ci engine in it. About 110 HP. 2,844 lbs.  Approximate power to weight ratio of .0387 HP per lb. Or 25.86 lbs per single HP.

 

In theory my lighter Plymouth may outperform the Chrysler slightly. My car has a 3 speed manual. No overdrive. It has the skinny bias ply 6.00x15 tires. Recently I took it up to 55 mph on the hiway. It was ok but buzzing pretty good. I have no tach, so I don't know how fast it was turning. These flathead engines seem to make max HP at about 3,000 RPM. My '38 felt like it had more left in it, I suspect I could have hit 65 MPH or so. I was not too comfortable at those speeds. The car has few safety features. No seat belts. The skinny little tires seem to get a little sketchy at those speeds. In 3rd I am in a 1:1 tranny to engine ratio. My rear diff is 4.1:1 gear ratio. 

 

Personally I am not looking for a car from this era that will run at or near interstate speeds. Certainly overdrive would help get the RPM's down. I have never experienced a car from this period with OD. It would be interesting. My concerns are around handling and braking. The 4 leaf springs, car lean on turns, the 4 drum brakes. All these items could be upgraded. 

 

My '38 feels good and comfortable up to the 50 mph range. I think I could cruise at that speed for hours on a hi-way. The engine would probably enjoy that RPM, long range too. What I found somewhat impressive was the torque. I was alone in the car recently pulling a longer winding hill. Sections of the road are at 11% grade. The speed limit is 30 mph.  I kept my Plymouth in top gear, 3rd, and pulled the hill without down shifting. I never dropped below 30 mph. Respectable in my opinion for that period of car. Equally impressive was the coolant temp never rose above about 125 F. 

 

IMG_5915.jpg

 

I found this chart on line. If this is accurate here is my RPM at 55 mph:

 

 

Screen Shot 2020-04-13 at 7.31.57 AM.png

Edited by keithb7 (see edit history)
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14 hours ago, Hudsy Wudsy said:

Just a small thought about the pesky dashboard plastic- I saw one of these where the owner just took the remaining plastic of the dash completely and filled the mounting holes with bondo. It was pretty satisfactory as I recall, although I didn't study it much.

This car has among the better original dash plastic I’ve seen.  I’d heard some folks had drilled out the trim and vacuum formed some newer sheet plastic on the instrument cluster surround and glove box.  If anyone is thinking about doing that, let’s talk.  I have some to do as well. 

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Sealed beams became a thing in late 1939 for the 1940 model year. I believe they were required on 1940 model cars. Sealed beam conversion kits became available for many earlier models. I believe that is what you are seeing here.

 

Many such conversions were aftermarket, although sometimes if the hole in the fender was the same on a 1939 and a 1940 model (Studebaker comes to mind), then the dealers might offer an update using factory parts.

 

1939 models of any make would have had a lens, reflector, and bulb as originally built.

 

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)
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8 hours ago, Bloo said:

Sealed beams became a thing in late 1939 for the 1940 model year. I believe they were required on 1940 model cars. Sealed beam conversion kits became available for many earlier models. I believe that is what you are seeing here.

 

Many such conversions were aftermarket, although sometimes if the hole in the fender was the same on a 1939 and a 1940 model (Studebaker comes to mind), then the dealers might offer an update using factory parts.

 

1939 models of any make would have had a lens, reflector, and bulb as originally built.

 

Not quite right.  Some cars with very low production did not receive sealed beams in 1940.  Graham and Bantam come to mind.

 

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  • 1 month later...

Update. Car is not here yet. Have had 3 transporters back out with this one (Road Runner) trying to get a truck load of cars heading this way before they can commit to a date. At least they were upfront about it. The other guys said "SURE" then a week later said they could not get enough cars on a truck to make it worth while heading towards Dallas. I have a friend that does local hot shot deliveries in a couple states around TX and he says these guys are grabbing government contracts to move around medical equipment and dropping car shipping when it pops up.  Sounds about right. Thankfully the older couple that has the car is very understanding.  

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On 4/13/2020 at 6:06 PM, Brooklyn Beer said:

Looked at a couple Imperials and one person had done the entire gauge surround and glovebox in burled stainless.

I’ve seen several that had dash surround and glove box door painted and looked approximately period correct.  This has me  wondering if that was at all an option in 1939.  Perhaps the plastic just deteriorated so fast in certain conditions that some cars were painted just a few years after new. 

 

@Brooklyn Beer hopefully you can find a transporter and enjoy your new purchase as the weather is turning nicer!

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11 hours ago, Brooklyn Beer said:

Update. Car is not here yet. Have had 3 transporters back out with this one (Road Runner) trying to get a truck load of cars heading this way before they can commit to a date. At least they were upfront about it. The other guys said "SURE" then a week later said they could not get enough cars on a truck to make it worth while heading towards Dallas. I have a friend that does local hot shot deliveries in a couple states around TX and he says these guys are grabbing government contracts to move around medical equipment and dropping car shipping when it pops up.  Sounds about right. Thankfully the older couple that has the car is very understanding.  

 

Very frustrating! I feel for you. I had a similar experience a year or so ago with a car 2 days away from me. Had a shipper all lined up, weeks go by and nothing. He finally admits he can't do the job unless he gets another shipment in the area to make it profitable. Well respected shipper too, left me SOL at the 11th hour so I had to drop everything and go get it. 

 

If you haven't already maybe try Bills Auto Works in Ohio, I don't know if he's operating at this time due to the virus but he has never let me down. Takes some time to ship (he's a busy guy moving lots of cars), fantastic first class service. 

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Hard to say until you actually see it in person.  I think the biggest problem is the difference in color and texture on various parts of the car.  The doors and lower fenders look like they might even polish up a bit, but the crusty stuff on the hood is a problem.  I guess you’ll have to decide what you can live with.  She was just down the road from me in Illinois and I’m sorry to see her go, but I’m glad she found a new home.  Enjoy!

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