1929 Chevrolet Imperial Landau - $25,900
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We have to admit that dropping the top creates fresh conversations and opportunities to talk about how much different cars were nearly a century ago.

“Rare” is an over-used term in the old car world, and it certainly seems odd to use it on a Chevrolet. But this 1929 Chevrolet Imperial Landau is a genuinely rare Chevrolet. As the top-of-the-line model of the all-new International AC lineup, it cost a not insubstantial $725. GM executives were concerned that the Landau was too pretentious for the entry-level Chevrolet lineup and it was dropped early in production. As a result, only 294 (or 305, depending on your source) were built. Today, they’re among the most highly prized of all pre-war Chevrolets, offering a great early driving experience, a unique body style, and the fun that comes from owning a car that few have ever seen before.

Wearing an older restoration, this Landau sedan remains in excellent condition throughout. For the past several years it has worked weekends attending weddings and posing for photos with happy couples, which means it’s in top mechanical health and looks fantastic. Landau sedans only came in one color combination, Crockett Brown with Mistino Gray moldings and Omaha Orange pinstripes, and it adds to the Landau’s upscale look. At a glance, you’d never really notice the folding rear roof, and there’s plenty of familial resemblance to big brother Cadillac, including the shape of the grille, landau bars, and the visor over the windshield. It remains in excellent condition with a nice shine to the paint, correct pinstripe patterns, and bright chrome that adds just the right upscale accent. There are a few minor signs of age and use, but nothing that detracts from the overall presentation. It carries an accessory trunk with rear-mounted spare, and the trunk folds out to create a fairly substantial cargo bay, making this Chevy a great choice for pre-war touring.

Although our cameras have a hard time capturing the color properly (the lights make it look kind of purple), the interior is correct brown mohair front and back. The dashboard is the same simple setup used in other Chevrolets, with all the gauges and controls in a center gauge panel and they all seem to work correctly. The front seat features a rubber mat on top of a thick layer of insulation to help control noise and heat, while the rear seat is fully carpeted. The controls are standard, with a 3-speed manual transmission on the floor, although synchromesh was limited to Cadillacs in 1929 so brush up on your double-clutching. A full headliner makes it feel like a standard sedan inside, but you’ll quickly spot the latches holding the rear half of the top above the back seat, and it folds easily to add an open-air experience. There’s also a crank-open windshield, all of which make this Chevy a pretty nice place to spend some time.

Chevy’s familiar 194 cubic inch OHV inline-6 was actually pretty cutting edge technology in 1929, and it’s surprisingly smooth and torquey on the road. This one is a little bit fussy so you need to get the choke just right, but once you figure it out, it starts right up, idles nicely, and eagerly pulls itself around town. With 46 horsepower on tap, it’s about 15% more powerful than a Model A Ford and thanks to well-chosen gear ratios in the transmission it’s energetic on the road. The engine is detailed in engine enamel that’s a little more blue than gray, but it’s clean and uses correct hardware throughout, including a first-year fuel pump which was also fairly new tech. A correct updraft carburetor, 6-volt generator, and cloth-wrapped wiring harness all help with the authentic look. There are signs of use because this car is a runner, but nothing that should concern anyone about its mechanical health. Remember that these engines were bulletproof transportation for decades.

The aforementioned 3-speed manual transmission shifts cleanly and clutch action is light, and 3.82 gears out back are a nice combination of acceleration and cruising, making this Chevy happy at about 45 MPH. 4-wheel brakes are competent and live axles with leaf springs provide reasonable ride quality. Chevys used torque tube drive for many years and the floors are steel, not wood, and you can see they’re in excellent condition. An older exhaust system gives it an appropriate 6-cylinder grumble that’s pleasing both inside and outside the car. Disc wheels were standard equipment and carry 4.75/5.00-20 Firestone whitewalls of indeterminate age.

Documentation includes an owner’s manual and some period advertising.

You don’t have to be a fan of rare cars to appreciate this Chevy’s many virtues. Economical to buy and own, fun to drive, and, yes, unusual enough to cause a real stir anywhere you go, it’s everything we want an old car to be. And we have to admit that dropping the top creates fresh conversations and opportunities to talk about how much different cars were nearly a century ago. Chevrolet was an everyman’s car, but that doesn’t mean ordinary. Call today!

Harwood Motors always recommends or welcomes personal or professional inspections of any vehicle in our inventory prior to purchase.

Vehicle: 1929 Chevrolet Imperial Landau
Price: $25,900
Stock Number: 117156
Odometer Reading: 83,834
VIN: 699997
Engine: 194 cubic inch inline-6
Transmission: 3-speed manual
Gear Ratio: 3.82
Wheelbase: 107 inches
Wheels: 20-inch steel disc wheels
Tires: 4.75/5.00-20 Firestone whitewall
Exterior Color: Crockett Brown and Mistino Gray
Interior Color: Brown mohair
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