MARCH 2024: 1948 CHRYSLER WINDSOR CLUB COUPE—BURIED IN A CONTAINER SINCE 1980

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The term ‘barn find’ gets beaten to death in the car hobby, so this 1948 Chrysler Club Coupe was a nice departure from the typical plot behind a car in long hibernation.

The Chrysler was in a container since 1980, but now it’s back on the road thanks to its new owner.

Jerry Sutherland

They built just over 26,000 Chrysler Windsor Club Coupes in 1948. They were built for up-and-coming executive/salesmen types because the two doors weren’t practical for families on the starting line of the Baby Boom years. These Windsors were 40s versions of what would become personal two-door luxury cars like the 70s Monte Carlos, Thunderbirds and Toronados.

Randy Ball is the proud owner of this 1940s luxury car thanks to his persistent efforts to find its owners. He saw an online ad for the car, but the owners were out of the country, so he said he tracked them down through family members and social media.

It was worth the effort because a 1948 Chrysler Windsor Club Coupe is an extremely rare car—but it needed a lot of attention after four decades of life in a container.  Randy said the car had all the typical problems associated with long storage.

Gas was the first problem, so Randy did the right thing and replaced the fuel tank. There were also three stuck valves in the straight-six engine and Randy admitted he had to “pound one of them with a hammer to get it moving”. A wheel bearing was also a problem because someone had overtightened it, so Randy had to deal with that problem—but the brakes looked like they’d just been done before the storage because the cylinders were all new.

The carburetor was also a mess, so Randy rebuilt it to factory specs. The big Chrysler looked great on the surface, but it had suffered some abuse over the years. Randy looked underneath and saw a battered and dented oil pan. Also, the wheel alignment is crazy on this Chrysler—it’s still a work in progress on Randy’s list. Randy thought someone had dirt-tracked this luxury liner at some point in its life.

The upholstery is in great shape. Randy thought it had been done just before the car went into hibernation over 40 years ago. The interior looks good overall—this is a great example of a higher-end 40s car because you’d never see that level of refinement in a ’48 Plymouth.

Randy is still working out the fluid-drive semi-automatic in the Chrysler. He said he “puts it right to the floor and it’s still struggling to shift, you have to get the rpm right to shift it properly”.  He runs the Club Coupe comfortably at a leisurely 55 miles per hour—a perfect speed for a large car from the 1940s. 

You take a risk when you rescue a car after decades of hibernation. This Chrysler wears its years well because its active history ended in 1980, so the dings in the trim and paint probably go back to the 50s and 60s.

Fortunately the right guy opened the container in 2023.   

Jerry Sutherland

By: Jerry Sutherland

Jerry Sutherland is a veteran automotive writer with a primary focus on the collector car hobby. His work has been published in many outlets and publications, including the National Post, Calgary Herald, Edmonton Journal, Ottawa Citizen, Montreal Gazette, Saskatoon StarPhoenix, Regina Leader-Post,  Vancouver Sun and The Truth About Cars. He is also a regular contributor to Auto Roundup Publications.

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