1940 Chrysler; Worlds Fair Car?

The cars are cool but it is the stories and documentation that makes them really interesting. There are still cars out there to be found and still more untold stories. Every once in awhile I get a contact from someone who swears they have the long lost Prototype of some special car. Are they right or is it just some special build by the factory? Only documentation can tell us the true answer. However, there are lots of documentations of cars thought to be just another car until years later someone finally finds the required documentation to make its value soar. Is this one of those?

This story is provided by Dana Bicks. If you want more information or are interested in the car contact Dana at: dana_bicks@yahoo.com

Some months ago my wife and I decided we wanted to have an old car to drive around and maybe show. I heard about this old Chrysler that had been buried in a barn for twenty five years.  I was expecting a rough but intact car what I found was far more!

As the owner started to pull back the cover, there sat with all its dignity an immaculate, unrestored, 1940 Chrysler Windsor. I yelled STOP , let me get some pictures. What you see here is just the way I found it. So you think okay cool another old car in a barn; the end! Not quite!

One rainy day months later a friend and I sat down and started to research this car, knowing it was loaded with unheard of options for the time (more on this in a bit). First, we looked at Chrysler concept cars for 1940, there we found some helpful information. But this car still had things not mentioned in that research. This Chrysler has electric two speed windshield wipers and a synchromesh transmission. Initially, I thought this car was probably built in 1939 but these options were not available until almost 15 years later in the late 1950s. How could that be? Was this car updated somewhere by its owner?

I had begun my search for what this car is with a look at the data plate found on the firewall. This is the holy grail for documenting a car. It shows the car was built in Detroit. This was no big deal to me at the time but after additional research I found that the Plymouth plant was the only Chrysler assembly line in Detroit! Chryslers were built in Maywood CA. Why would Chrysler build a Chrysler at a Plymouth factory? Where they trying to hide what they were building? If so why? The more I dug into documents the more questions arose; like was this car one of only #100-110 assembled in Detroit?

One Wednesday afternoon, almost like an epiphany from heaven, the words “World’s Fair” came to me. There were three World’s Fair locations in 1939/1940. One was in New York, a second in Chicago and a third in San Francisco. I started to research for a Chrysler Fair exhibit and then I saw what finally made sense, the FUTURAMA EXHIBIT at all three shows. To me, it appears that 100-110 cars were built for the three locations to demonstrate Chrysler’s future innovations for cars yet to come. These yet unattainable options were installed on current model year cars for the public to see and test in 1940.

Now, let me tell you I have found no proof, but the missing links in the information I have found leads me to the following conclusion. If anyone can produce any documentation to help prove or disprove any of my conclusions I welcome the help.

  • I found where pitcher, Carl Hubbel from the Giants, threw a fastball at the windshield and couldn’t break the all new tempered safety glass.
  • I read where the “Hell drivers” would drive these cars on an 1/8 mile oval track at 70 mph then roll them in a sand pile in the infield. This was reported to prove how strong these cars were.
  • Airfoam seats.
  • Electric heater and, cool air vent system.
  • Lighter in the ashtray.
  • Clock in the glove box door.
  • Aeronautical cross frame, brakes by Lockheed, dual tail lights, dual o/s mirrors, dual sun visors , fender skirts.

I believe there were 100 or possibly 110 of these special cars built. They were never intended for the street, but for special use at the three Fairs. This car is for sale with a asking price of $50,000. Does anyone know of any other examples still in existence?

Thanks, Dana Bicks

 

Filed Under: Barn FindFeaturedFor Sale

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About the Author: I grew up and lived in Iowa for nearly 40 years before moving to Southern California and now live in Tennessee. I have been into cars since I was old enough to remember. I don't have a brand loyalty although I do prefer American Muscle especially the 1969/1970 NASCAR Aero Cars. (Check our our www.TalladegaSpoilerRegistry.com page) As long as it has four wheels on it I get excited. Few men are lucky enough to be able to share their passion for cars with the woman they love. Fortunately, my wife Katriana is also a gear head and many of our activities revolve around the cars. We have a small collection that includes at least one car from each of the Big Three. Katrina prefers all original cars while I like to modify them so we have a few of each. When we aren't playing with cars we are out with our miniature donkeys. You can see more about that part of our lives at http://www.LegendaryFarms.com.

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  1. donn koons says:

    I have a 1940 Chrysler highlander 4 door I also have a 1940 Chrysler business coupe [back seat]

    both have plates on firewall Detroit Michigan . can you tell me anything these cars? please advise

  2. Town Crier says:

    There were only TWO World’s Fairs in 1939. The New York fair (which was officially sanctioned by the BIE), and the San Francisco fair (unsanctioned). The Chicago Century of Progress world’s fair was held in 1933 and 1934.

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