David Margulies' 1954 Chrysler Windsor Convertible
(from Volume 27, Issue 322)

story by David Margulies, photos by Michael B. Kelly


My journey started in Brooklyn, New York. As a kid I always loved the big lumbering cars. Speed was never my thing. I just enjoyed the sheer size of these massive machines that passed by while I was playing outside. One day, my father came home early from work. As he pulled up, I stood frozen with my eyes larger than basketballs. He jumped out and said, “Well what do you think?”. I could not talk. The expression on my face said it all. Wow, I was in love. Standing in front of me was a brand new 1965 Chrysler New Yorker. Beautiful black paint with a white interior. That is how my love for Chryslers began….

My parents did the New York thing, they moved to Florida, and I grew up on Miami Beach. My love for the aesthetics of old cars and their timelessness grew stronger. The only difference now, was my lust for the behemoth convertibles of the 1960’s. Upon turning 16 my dad and I stated our search for my first car. I fell in love with a 1969 Chrysler 300 convertible. It just so happened to be powered by a 440 cubic inch TNT V-8. Beauty and power all in one.

Fast forward till today, and you will find me sitting in the cockpit of my 1954 Chrysler Windsor Custom Convertible. My quest for the car of my dreams took me on a nationwide search. Day in and day out, my pursuit to find a vehicle became an obsession and the internet time grew from a few minutes to hours each night. I even tried the auction circuit like Mecum and Barrett Jackson but had no luck. My dear friends from New Jersey, Bob and Richie, both true classic car owners, kept providing me solid advice about finding the right car. One of my local buddies, Steve Levreault, kept telling me to be patient and keep up the search. You will find what you are looking for. This advice was solid and seemed to be echoed by my friends inside my non car club, the Geezers. Great group of car guys...and boy do they know cars. In February I took a step away from Chrysler and looked at a 1953 Packard Caribbean Convertible. A car once shown to me by my dear friend Richie. I loved the look and lines of it, but something was missing. Finally, one day in March, while looking on the computer, it happened. The car I had been looking for came into view and I was hooked. The crazy thing is that it was not across country or hundreds of miles away, it was a few minutes from my house.

My wife Judy and I could not wait to see this beauty. When we arrived, that same look that appeared on my face in 1965 was back. This stunning 1954 turquoise and tan beauty was proudly positioned in the driveway. We were pleased to meet this wonderful couple, as they presented her to us. It was truly an insightful experience to see this car through the eyes of a skilled builder and classic car enthusiast. We both agreed that this true classic belongs in our family. We named her Miss Essie, after my wife’s mom, and took her home.

The 1954 Chrysler Windsor Custom Convertible is indeed a rare find today. With a body off restoration and powered by a 331 cubic inch Hemi engine (professionally rebuilt). It also has a Summit carburetor, electronic ignition, Hot Heads aluminum intake manifold, and sports so much more. Among the many comfort features that make this car enjoyable for cruising include RideTech programmable automatic leveling for the front and rear suspension, with adjustable shocks. The color and style of this majestic motorcar shines through its show quality paint, gorgeous canvas top and smooth leather interior. The dash is home to a classic instrument panel. Magnificent chrome is just about everywhere.

As a connoisseur of fine convertibles, in which I have enjoyed many, the challenge to find and own this one has proved to be worth the voyage. The old saying, they do not make cars like they use to, is true. You can use the styles of yesterday and combine them with today’s technology and build them better today. I am just blessed that I did not have to embark on the years that it takes to truly build a splendid piece of automotive history, like this 1954 Chrysler Windsor Custom Convertible.

The interesting tidbit of history that linked these two cars together is that in 1961 the Chrysler 300 Non-Letter Series replaced the Windsor model for good. I am grateful to have owned and driven both great automobiles. CN