The Chrysler Imperial was redesigned in 1931. The car received a new engine, a 384.84-cubic inch (6308.85 cc) Straight-eight engine. Marketing materials for this generation of Imperial referred to the car as the “Imperial 8”, in reference to the new in-line 8-cylinder engine. The engine would be found in many other Chrysler vehicles. The Imperial Custom had rust-proof fenders, automatic heater control and safety glass. The limo even came with a Dictaphone.
The redesign also saw the introduction of new wire wheels that became a standard wheel treatment until the 1940s. Stock car driver Harry Hartz set numerous speed records with an Imperial sedan at Daytona Beach, Florida. It was introduced shortly after the Rolls-Royce Phantom II,Mercedes-Benz 770, Packard Eight, Duesenberg Model J, Cadillac Series 355, and Lincoln K-series appeared in the 1930s.