The Series C-20 Custom Imperial was among Chrysler’s largest vehicles available, resting on a 130-inch wheelbase. Power was from an L-head eight-cylinder engine, which it shared with the New York Specials, and offered 115 horsepower. They were fitted with three-speed manual Synchromesh transmissions and had four-wheel hydraulic brakes. The seven-passenger sedan was equipped with two auxiliary folding seats in the front seatback. For the five-passenger sedans, this space was used for additional storage.
The limousine examples had a division window between the front and rear compartments plus additional folding seats. Most of the C-20s were built by the factory, with 11 examples being sent to custom coachbuilders, mostly Derham. Total 1938 Chrysler Series C-20 Custom Imperial production reached 519 examples. The Royal Series C-18 accounted for the bulk of 1938 Chrysler production with 43,300 examples built, while the Imperial and New York Special Seris C-19 had just over 10,000 examples produced. The C-20 was the top-of-the-line Chrysler model for 1938 with prices that began at $2,300, well above the $920 to $1,425 prices of the C-18, and the $1,120 to $1,600 of the C-19. At the end of the year, Chrysler was America’s ninth larger automaker in regards to model year production and the 11th largest in calendar year output.
Optional equipment for the 1938 Chrylser models included a radio antenna, Trippe lights, Radio, dual side-mount spares, wheel rim rings, whitewall tires, full wheel discs, license plate frame, special upholstery, cigar lighter, heater, clock, fog lamps, and outside rearview mirror.