Are these the industry's first power locks and windows? Well, not quite. It appears the 1915 Scripps-Booth was the first to offer power locks. The website earlyamericanautos.com features a brief story from a November 1914 issue of Motor Age that touts this new-fangled feature. "The electric door latches are operated by a pushbutton, placed close to the door in the side of the body, operates the latch magnetically, eliminating entirely door handles of any form," says Motor Age. Americans apparently didn't care much for the power locks and they didn't reappear until 1956, on a Packard. But, as they say, the rest is history.
The origin of power windows is a little more complicated. Our research indicates that they were first offered on the 1940 Packard 180 and were soon followed in 1941on top-end Lincolns. It wouldn't be until after World War II that the technology became more widespread. So, indeed, the one-off Chrysler may be the first car with power windows, even though they weren't for mass consumption.
To learn more about the Chrysler's windows and locks -- and about this magnificent car in general -- we encourage you to visit Kroplick's great website, Vanderbilt Cup Races, where you can read all about the restoration, see detailed photos and enjoy commentary from Hemmings columnist and classic car guru Walt Gosden. This town car, commissioned by Walter P. Chrysler for his wife, Della, is loaded with special custom features. We especially like the center tail lamp, whose design mimics the front grill almost exactly.