1948 Dodge Custom Series news, pictures, specifications, and information
Club Coupe
Coachwork: Derham
Chassis Num: 31138409
Engine Num: D24-334434
Sold for $60,500 at 2012 Gooding & Company.
For 1948, Dodge produced 170,986 examples of their Deluxe model and 479,013 Custom models. Power was from an L-head six-cylinder engine that displaced 230 cubic-inches and produced just over 100 horsepower. They had a three-speed manual gearbox or an optional Fluid-Drive automatic. The Custom Series was priced from $1775 through $2190. Body styles included a 6- or 7-passenger sedan, town sedan, club coupe or convertible.

The seven-passenger sedan rode on a 137.5 inch platform while the remaining vehicles had a 119.5-inch wheelbase.

This one-off coupe designed by Enos Derham and Donald Diskey and commissioned by Chrysler, was based on the five-window Club Coupe. Derham removed the original top, shorten the package tray and moved the rear seat backward by some four inches, installed a new interior and wraparound windows. The wraparound rear window was similar in design to the contemporary Studebaker Starlighter designed by Raymond Loewy.

The interior was completely restyled with all the trim from the beltline up was of Derham design. The cabin was outfitted with dual interior lamps, two-speed electric windshield wipers, a passenger-side tissue holder, an electric clock, a heater unit with defroster, a seven-button Mopar radio, a custom rearview mirror and an upholstered trunk that included a Derham-badged tool kit case.

The outside featured specially designed hubcaps, scripting and a striking two-tone color scheme.

The Derham Body Company of Rosemont, Pennsylvania, had built a peerless reputation for innovation and versatility that kept the firm in business until Enos Derham's death in March of 1974. This was a very impressive feat, considering that most American coachbuilders failed to survive the Depression years. In the years that followed World War II, Derham transformed factory production bodies into elegant customs for wealthy clients, industrial designers and major manufacturers.

This D24 Custom was built for promotional display in Dodge showrooms, and - like most other concepts - to gauge the market for production of custom-series D24s. The result was a remarkable, one-off automobile that was utterly unique in its appearance and design.

The car was displayed in various showrooms for a year or so before it sold to Gertrude V. Fisher of Brooklyn, NY on January 20th of 1950. In April of 1985, with its whereabouts a mystery for over three decades, the Derham coupe was re-discovered in Vermont with Gael Dondon. The car had survived in original condition even though it had been left out in the elements. It was in need of a complete restoration. Dr. Joseph Leir, owner of the Memorial Auto Collection in Moorpark, California, purchased the car and began a restoration. A section of the original paint (Forest Green) was discovered beneath the padded top material. Inside, enough of the original upholstery remained intact to allow an accurate presentation of the patterns and materials.

The restoration work was completed in October of 2009. It made its concours debut at the Western Region AACA meet in La Quinta, California, and won a First Junior award. Since then, the car has earned First Senior and First Place Grand National Awards in AACA competition, as well as the James Melton National Award for Excellent. In addition to AACA events, the car was displayed at the 2010 Santa Barbara Concours d'Elegance and received an award at the 2010 Palo Alto Concours d'Elegance.

In 2011, the car was shown at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance and participated in the tour d'Elegance.

In 2012, this car was offered for sale at the Gooding & Company auction held in Scottsdale, Arizona. It had a pre-auction estimated value of $ 75,000 - $125,000 and offered without reserve. As bidding came to a close, the car had been sold for the sum of $60,500 inclusive of buyer's premium.
By Daniel Vaughan | Jan 2012
 
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