- The Washington Times - Friday, June 6, 2008

Post World War II Chryslers were easily identifiable by an excessive amount of chrome in the extra wide grille. Horizontal chrome bars cut across the egg crate grille and wrapped around the leading edges of the front fenders.

Last fall, Matthew Koerner’s wife, Jaime, made a wrong turn while going to pick up their children. The unfamiliar route took her by a house about a half mile from the Koerner home in Sterling. In passing she saw the unmistakable nose of a 1947 Chrysler peeking out from under a protective tarpaulin. She wasn’t sure what the car was but she was certain it was old and that her husband was fond of old cars.

At home that evening she told him about her find. The next day, as he went to investigate he noticed a faded “FOR SALE” sign in the window of the yellow four door sedan.

The woman selling the Chrysler had purchased the car about a decade earlier from the estate of the original owner.

As the car was uncovered Mr. Koerner became more and more excited. The exposed car was a 1947 Chrysler Windsor Highlander four-door sedan that had a base price when new of $1,711.

Under the excessively long engine hood of the 3,526-pound vehicle is an in-line six-cylinder, 250.6-cubic-inch engine rated at 114 horsepower.

“I love the lines of the car,” Mr. Koerner exclaims. The foot-and-a-half of empty space between the radiator and grille intrigues him and he marvels at the small design details like the curve at the rear end of the rain gutters. He especially noted the two exterior mirrors that seemingly flow from the trim running the length of the Chrysler.

“I admire the work that went into the design of the car,” Mr. Koerner says. “It’s neat.”

He was smitten by the Chrysler and even though a severe fuel leak in the engine compartment prevented him from driving the car, he wanted to become the third owner and purchased it on Oct. 30, 2007 and hauled it home on a trailer.

Tires on the 15-inch wheels support the car on a 121.5-inch wheelbase.

Once there, he rebuilt the carburetor as well as the rear brakes. “From the beginning,” Mr. Koerner says, “I had no intention to restore the car, I just want to preserve it.”

The creamy yellow car has been repainted but Mr. Koerner says that otherwise, his car appears to be mostly in original condition.

Both ends of the Chrysler are protected by massive bumpers and equally massive bumper guards. In the center of the trunk lid is a brake light and in the chrome-plated frame is the label - “FLUID DRIVE.” With the trunk lid open the spare tire is visible, upright on the right side of the trunk.

The back seat is the place to be for comfort. In the center of the back seat is a pull-down armrest. Above the rear window is a ceiling-mounted courtesy light. The quarter windows to the rear of the back doors are hinged at the front and pop open at the rear. Assist straps are conveniently located.

In the front seat, the driver sits behind the three-spoke steering wheel adorned with a 360 degree chrome horn ring. To the left of the steering wheel is the signal indicator lever with a knob to match the gear shift lever on the right. Occupants of the front seat shouldn’t be bothered by rays from the sun because of the large, external sun visor.

The overly optimistic speedometer can register speeds up to 110 mph. The rest of the dashboard supports a lot of chrome, including the AM radio mounted vertically.

When operated patiently, at the pace common in 1947, the Fluid Drive, with the aid of the “Safety Clutch” is almost an automatic transmission.

The odometer on the 61-year-old Chrysler has recorded 66,000 miles, which Mr. Koerner believes is accurate. He intends to add to the total number of miles the car has travelled, because, he explains, “It’s a fun car.”

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