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The Paul Stern Collection


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A photo was posted on Facebook recently showing a beautiful Chrysler Locke bodied "Touralette" that had been owned by Paul Stern of Manheim, PA.  My family and I knew Paul and Grace Stern from the Red Rose Antique Auto Club.  We used to have meetings in his "museum" in Manheim PA.  I know that Paul decided to sell the entire collection to Leo Gephart and then hand picked about 6 cars to "buy back".  Does anyone know where some of these rare Chrysler vehicles are now?  His 1930 "77" dual cowl phaeton was purchased by my friend Galen Brandt and was on several AACA tours.  His 1953/1956 white parade car ended up in the Imperial Palace collection and was sold a few years ago.  He owned a Thunderbolt, a Newport and many other special Chrysler vehicles.  Does anyone remember Paul?  

1930 Chrysler Series-77 Dual Cowl Phaeton Locke luxury retro ...

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In the 1970s I lived in Manheim on N Wolfe St in an apartment that was next to a brick building where some of the collection was stored.  It was a treat to see the cars in there when the doors were open. 

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Did a Google search and came up with these photos, 99.9% sure they are the Paul Stern car. We stopped to see the collection on a Sunday after Hershey in the early 1970's. Bill Oexle was a good friend of Mr. Stern and would restore 4 Chryslers for him here in Ridgefield. I spent time on all of them when I worked there part time, all his restorations won Hershey. The cainwork on this car was done by John Kurtzman, a local sign writer and pin striper. The cainwook is not done with a brush, a cake decorating like tube applied the paint so it is a lot thicker than pinstripes. John would later go on to caine several cars in the Neathercutt collection. Bob

chrysler_imperial_touralette_by_locke_4.jpg

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I remember walking through the Paul Stern Museum building ( I think it was on S.Main St.) in about 1972-1973. It was open to the public for a town celebration of some kind. At a different time, a Chrysler enthusiast buddy of mine went to see Paul about something (I was not there) and he got the grand tour of another big building in town where Paul stored his cars. He said it was on several levels and there was a large elevator that moved the cars from floor to floor. My friend was quite impressed and still talks about it. I never met Mr. Stern but I did know Galen Brandt. 

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Chrysler offered some amazing looking cars with outstanding styling. Most of the customs such as the Touralette and dual cowl tourers started to appear in 1928. Chrysler issued a loose leaf bound dealers album to their dealers that had a high volume of sales. It had one page for every body style from the least expensive 2 door coach up to the custom special order Imperial 80 series of cars. I have one here in my archives someplace. Embossed brown  leatherette hard cover with the Chrysler radiator emblem at the center.

One has no idea of what was available unless yo can see the dealers albums, and factory issued dealer specific Bulletin's and publications that were issued then - it documents what was happening and the thought cycle to sell cars on every level in that time period. The Derham Body Company of Rosemont , Pa. became a Chrysler dealer in 1937 as well , and thus you see numerous Derham bodies in period photos because it was easier for Derham to get a Chrysler chassis then any other since they were a dealership and had a connection that way to the factory.

Derham continued to build custom coach work/bodies on other chassis as well. A good number of the limousines that they constructed in the postwar years ( Derham ceased building bodies in 1967) were built to resist  terror attacks , bombs etc.  I spoke to a fellow about 35 years ago when I had my 31 Franklin Derham bodied brougham at the show - he told me as a younger guy in the early to mid 1950s he worked for Derham and how they would bomb proof the floors of the car under the carpets. I was fascinated, something I had never known before.

SO many memories of talking to people who were "there then" , so much information that has never been written about .

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2 hours ago, The 55er said:

I remember walking through the Paul Stern Museum building ( I think it was on S.Main St.) in about 1972-1973. It was open to the public for a town celebration of some kind. At a different time, a Chrysler enthusiast buddy of mine went to see Paul about something (I was not there) and he got the grand tour of another big building in town where Paul stored his cars. He said it was on several levels and there was a large elevator that moved the cars from floor to floor. My friend was quite impressed and still talks about it. I never met Mr. Stern but I did know Galen Brandt. 

Part of the Stern collection was on S Main St.  At one point Paul’s son started a used motorcycle business in the building and some of the cars were still there.  I didn’t know about the multi floor building.  On a side note, the old J Harvey Spar REO dealership building on N Main St is now a business complex featuring a coffee shop and arts and crafts sales area.  The complex is called the “REO” .

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If that copper Thunderbolt was sold to Bill Harrah in 1960 Paul must have bought a second one because he had it parked next to the Newport in the mid to late 1970s.  

 

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Just now, chas1963 said:

If that copper Thunderbolt was sold to Bill Harrah in 1960 Paul must have bought a second one because he had it parked next to the Newport in the mid to late 1970s.  

 

I'd have remembered the color on the Thunderbolt when I was there, so would Stevie Wonder, Mr. Stern had a different one I believe. Bob 

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In about 1987 Paul came to our shop to look at a '49 Chrysler Highlander Conv. He ended up not buying it but I was impressed that he was still looking at cars at his age. 

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