1939 Chrysler ImperialImperial C 23 Roadster par Marcel Pourtout
- Unique Roadster Imperial par Pourtout known
- Superb elegant draw
- Candidate for prestigious concours
Born on February 12th 1894, Marcel Pourtout established the Carrosserie Pourtout in Bougival in 1925 after having spent his years of study as saddler with different car designers. The high quality of his makings quickly brought him a wealthy and regular clientele made of Parisian jewellers who drove along the warehouse on their way back from their Sunday rides to the Golf of Saint Germain en Laye. In 1927, he met the car dealer Darl'mat who entrusted him with the bodywork of a lot of Peugeot and Panhard. In the end of 1928, Pourtout had already designed 459 cars. In 1930, Pourtout designed his first Chrysler, a false convertible, for the family of Georges Clémenceau. In 1931, he was entrusted with a lot of bodywork (Hotchkiss, Delage, Lorraine, Chrysler) by the Corvaïa dealer, established 154 avenue de Malakoff in the 16e district of Paris. Among all, he designed a roadster and a coach from Hotchkiss, both featured to the 1932 Salon. In 1933, he formed a partnership with Georges Paulin, a genius drawer who created the well known " Eclipse ", a coupé with a fully retractable roof. In 1937, as claimed by Darl'mat, Paulin drew and Pourtout manufactured the famous 302/402 Darl'mat, an aerodynamic sports car of produced in only 115 samples - coupé, convertible or roadster. Three of these roadsters held the second, third and fifth ranks of their respective categories to the 24H du Mans 1937. Charles de Cortanze finished first of his category to the 24H du Mans 1938 driving a 402 roadster. In 1937, the coupe won the first price of the Deauville concours d'Elégance. 1938 and 1939 were the splendid years of Pourtout, thanks to gorgeous cars with pure and aerodynamic lines drawn by Georges Paulin such as, among others, Delahaye convertibles or roadsters, M.Delage's D8-120S Aero (1st price to both the 2005 Pebble beach concours d'elegance and the Louis Vuitton Classic Award), and the " Embiricos " Bentley (1st price to the 2009 Pebble beach concours d'elegance).
The Carrosserie Pourtout is still in service in Rueil Malmaison where the son of Claude Pourtout works as coachbuilder and designer. After ninety years of success and some troubles, the famous name Carrosserie Pourtout is still alive. We are grateful to Bruno Martin, the son-in-law of Claude Martin, in the process of writing a book about Pourtout to be published and offered his precious help.
The car featured by Artcurial is an Imperial 8, Chrysler's top of the range. The technique, the fit and the finish of the Imperial can be compared to those offered by Cadillac, Packard and Lincoln. Some innovations make the Imperial very superior. It was bodied in 1939 as a 2-place roadster with separate seats. According to the Pourtout family, from the incorporation of the company only 13 Chrysler convertibles were ordered, 10 were delivered and 3 unfinished due to the 1940 requisitioning of the Germans. In the late 30's, the implementation of a new custom agreement between France and the US encouraged the admissions of American chassis against substantial ease on the importation of French luxury products. The American chassis were thus equipped by famous French car designers, mostly as 5-seat convertibles, sometimes as coupé. In these conditions, Pourtout manufactured a few Graham Paige convertibles, such as the one used by the General De Lattre de Tassigny for the procession organised when Marseille was freed.
Our car, an Imperial 8 of 4880 cm3 with an 8 cylinder-in-line side valve engine, and a three speed and double overdrive " Dual power " transmission, was delivered as a chassis. From the Imperial, the car designer kept the grille, the top of the bonnet, the backlights, the bumper and the dashboard. The firewall in pressed steel plate was cut on the sides to unveil the structural reinforcements of the body pillows on the chassis, thus forming a new firewall.. Initially embedded in the wings of the 1939 pattern, the lights were replaced by the elegant profiled lights from the precedent model.
The car was purchased by the current owner during the 1990 auction organised by Osenat auction house. Complete but long left aside, the total overhaul from the chassis was made by the Garage Houdayer in Nanterre accordingly to the rules of art and. The thorough file with invoices and pictures come with the car. Ironically, the car was restaured less the 800 meters from the Ateliers Pourtout. The quality of the original manufacture remains after the renovation necessitated by a 50 years life. This very refined car, of which each part perfectly works, is a real pleasure to drive. A small transversal and amovible cushion leans behind the seatbacks. This perfect candidate for the most prestigious concours d'elegance never left France, but was ignored by the market from its purchase in 1990. The taut lines of this Imperial embody the everlasting influence of Paulin.