Multi-time Monterey Rolex Reunion Participant, Premier Rally Event Eligible, California Titled and Road Registered, All-Synchromesh 4-Speed, Hydraulic Brakes, Large Displacement Straight-Eight Power, and Fascinating History!
1932 Chrysler Indy Roadster
s/n CH2031 engine no. S325
Burgundy with Brown Interior
The Indianapolis 500 is the world’s oldest automobile race. First constructed as a gravel and tar track in 1909, it was refined with hand laid bricks and a concrete retaining wall to make up the newly finished raceway. Spectators came by the thousands, building a reputation not only for speed and spectacular incidents, but also for the grueling 500 mile event that would become the signature annual race beginning in 1911. With a winning purse of $50,000.00 by 1912, competitors from all over the world were seeking a chance to prove both the durability and performance of their cars to a growing audience. By the early 1930s, the speeds and performance of both private and company campaigned entrants were growing. Unusual engineering, clever and daring aerodynamic designs, and unlikely heroes at the wheel all made the Indy 500 one of the most exciting automotive events, a sentiment that continues to mark even contemporary races.
Known as the “Golden Seal Special,” this Chrysler-powered roadster is believed to have been built by Argentine Luis Viglione for Juan Antonio Gaudino in 1932. Gaudino, an Argentine racecar driver, is documented as having entered the 1932 Indy 500 with car #14, qualifying at 107 mph. On race day, Gaudino covered 71 laps at the famed Brickyard before retiring due to clutch problems, ranking in 36th position. This car is believed to be the car that Gaudino drove at the 1932 Indy 500. After this race, the same car is reportedly further campaigned in the 1933 Indy 500, this time with Argentine Raul Riganti at the wheel, finishing the 200 laps in a very respectable 14th place, ironically wearing #14 once again. After the American races, the car returned to Argentina where it was campaigned regularly until the late 1940s.
Over the ensuing decades, two similarly constructed cars have surfaced claiming to hold the same Indy 500 provenance. One was built from a chassis, engine, fuel tank, and steering column found in a wrecking yard in Argentina in 1980; the other car is believed to currently reside in Switzerland. Having previously been with the Louwman Collection as sold by Coys in 1996, Coys touted this third car with the same Indy Gaudino history in their auction catalog, though lacking specific documentation to prove their claims.
After many years in Argentina and eventual import to the United States, this car joins the collection of Mr. Martin Swig, well-known automotive entrepreneur, racecar driver, enthusiast, and founder of the California Mille. When Swig purchased the car, it had been “repaired” in the most expeditious manner in keeping with racing purposes, but still retaining a great deal of the finishes and charm of the era. The engine had been replaced at least twice before the current Chrysler in-line 8-cylinder 323 cu. in. unit was installed, and a more modern German Taurus/Granada 4-speed transmission was fitted. Swig enjoyed the car a great deal, using it in several events including multiple consecutive years participating in the Monterey Historics, Wine Country Classic, and Sears Point Raceway. Given that two other cars have similar appearances and components, and further claiming the same connection to Gaudino and the Indy 500, there is little doubt that all three cars have become subject to equal scrutiny when addressing originality. But in any case, what cannot be denied in this fantastic package is the look and feel of a 30s era competition car with all the charm and none of the worry one might find in a museum artifact.
In 2008, the current owner purchased the car from Martin Swig. In 2016, Eriksson Enterprises performed $4,700.00 worth of service on the car including relining the front and rear brake shoes with high friction material, installing new wheel cylinder cups, dust boots, brake shoe return springs, then road tested to ensure good brake function. In 2013, the current owner had the car prepared and dyno tested, including new carburetor jetting and curving the distributor. The dyno test results showed a very robust 200 hp at 5,000 rpm.
Today, this attractive and honestly patinaed racecar depicts all the charm and character of a vintage racecar from the 1930s. The beautiful, deep red satin finish shows dignified areas of use throughout the body, echoing the mechanical majesty of this proud beast. The overall presentation is honest and raw, ready for action. Throughout the bodywork, functional details include the perched headlamps, exposed suspension, mechanical fasteners, fuel filler, competition hood straps and buckles, and the cleverly rope-wrapped grab bars for both driver and passenger to use when hopping inside the cockpit. Throughout the car, evidence of material honesty is defined in the raw, honed finishes. The painted wire wheels, elegant but powerful radiator shell, open wheels, exposed exhaust, and raw brake drums all contribute to the purposeful stance and presence of this bold car. Even the lightly worn #14 on the hood and deck is imperfectly finished, conveying the integrity and artistry imbued in this car.
The gently tapered body has been crafted with functionality but also conveys handsome proportions from all views. A set of correctly sized tires are mounted on the car, accompanied by a single side mount spare. The exterior details throughout the car delight at every turn. Every element of construction from the formed body louvers, competition stance, tapered rear, and leather straps have not only been handsomely constructed but are now hued with many years of enjoyable use. Even the blackened exhaust stream tapering out the passenger side rear flank speaks to the audacious nature of this powerful car.
The interior features a host of comfortable and natural finishes mixed with mechanical features: the thoughtfully patinaed interior has a fantastic and comfortable look, complementing an array of mechanical fasteners, levers, and switches; the instruments and rope-wrapped steering wheel are further in, keeping with the material integrity of the car; even the structural floor, exposed gearbox casting, and other features convey authentic materiality. Every aspect of the car demands your attention and respect, especially when the engine is running and you are at the wheel.
Lifting the louvered hood reveals the in line 8-cylinder Chrysler engine, four carburetors, and an engine turned firewall. Here again, details and natural finishes are properly rendered, presented with dignity and purpose, allowing for some obvious modern improvements to fuel lines and ignition in the name of safety and reliability. Underneath the car, finishes and raw castings continue with cleanliness and raw materials consistent with the visual themes presented in the rest of the car.
Driving the car is an absolute delight. The long hood is no issue at all as one sits tall and visibility is commanding at all four corners. The car steers confidently and is surprisingly light once underway. Even a lesser experienced driver can easily gauge cornering, braking, and shift points rather quickly once a few miles have been covered. Though built for racing, the engine power and braking are well-coupled, and the more modern gearbox makes for smoother shifting. Exciting driving is just one aspect of this fantastic car, but a great deal of the experience is revealed when driving through city streets, engaging virtually all types of people offering thumbs up or smiles. Proving once again that a great car is more than the historic achievements of the past, it is very much about what it has to offer as an experience today.
Wonderfully patinaed by time and circumstances, beautifully honest, and ready to enjoy, this Chrysler Indy Special is one of the most delightful cars one could ever enjoy for fun, show, or in various events. Whether or not the Indy 500 history is ever fully resolved, surely this car will continue to set its own history year after year in the hands of its next fortunate enthusiast.
The above vehicle information is complete and accurate to the best of our knowledge at the time it is posted to this website. Corrections or additional information is always appreciated. All advertised prices exclude government fees and taxes, any finance charges, any dealer document preparation charge, and any emission testing charge. Vehicles are subject to prior sale. All advertised to be true but not guaranteed. We assume no liability for errors or omissions.
Fantasy Junction • 510-653-7555 • 1145 Park Ave, Emeryville, CA 94608