1924 Chrysler Model B-70
6-cyl. 201cid/68hp 1bbl
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In 1923, Walter Chrysler had just finished a two-year contract with Willys-Overland and was itching to put his own name on a car. He borrowed $15M and set about buying up the assets of the Maxwell Motor Co.
Meanwhile he set his design team – which included Carl Breer – to work on the B-70, a new car with a Ricardo-type cylinder head and high-compression engine (relatively, it was 4.7:1). The 68-hp, 201 cubic-inch, six-cylinder flathead unit was counter-balanced, with full-pressure lubrication and a replaceable oil filter element. It boasted 5 mph to 25 mph in 7.5 seconds and had a top speed of 75 mph.
The new Chrysler had a 112.75-inch wheelbase, tubular front axle, four-wheel hydraulic brakes, and standard shock absorbers. It boasted drum headlights and a low 9 inches of ground clearance. The grille was nickel-plated with a winged Viking mascot and a surprising nine models were planned.
Chrysler wanted to introduce his new line at the 1924 New York Auto Show, but he needed $5M more to put the Chrysler into production and the bank wouldn’t agree. Maxwell and its sister marque Chalmers were welcome because they were existing models, while the Chrysler was considered experimental.
Walter Chrysler was undeterred. He reasoned that since the show was at the Commodore Hotel, he would merely rent the lobby and show the car there. The new car garnered hundreds of orders and promptly took off. Unusually, Chrysler offered nine models from the start, including a 2-door Roadster, 4-door Touring, Phaeton and Sedan. An Imperial Sedan was accompanied by a 2-door Brougham, a 2-door Coupe, 4-door Crown Imperial Sedan and a 4-door Town Car. Prices ranged from $1335 for the Roadster to the Crown Imperial Sedan at $2195.
Chryslers were built on the former Chalmers line and accounted for 32,000 of the combined 79,144 Maxwell and Chrysler production for 1924. In an early occasion of “win on Sunday, sell on Monday” Ralph de Palma won the 16.9-mile Mt. Wilson hill climb near Pasadena in a Chrysler Tourer in 25 minutes and 48 seconds. He then drove the same car 1000 miles in 1007 minutes at an average of 68.3 mph at the Fresno board track, setting several records.