Acquired in October of 1969 by the Museu do Caramulo, the famous armoured Chrysler Imperial was the subject of a restoration which took into account the historical importance of the vehicle—by keeping the original armoured glass as well as the upholstery intact. Currently, with almost 30,000 km on the odometer, the Imperial of Salazar is kept in perfect working order, being exhibited together with other specimens used by the national political history.
Registered by the State Surveillance and Defense Police (PVDE) on November 22, 1937, the armoured model was a response to a bomb attempt on the life of the President and leader of the Council of Ministers, Prof. Oliveira Salazar.
Based on the fourth-generation Imperial, the car is equipped with a 5.3-litre V8 Flat-head engine, with 140 horsepower and a three-speed gearbox. The HE-10-32 adopted an armoured body developed by Chrysler technicians in collaboration with experts from Detroit’s Smart Safety Engineering Corporation. The result was 2650kg of bullet-resistant structure and a maximum speed of just 130 km/h. It was designed to comfortably transport personalities exposed to dangers.
Maintained at the PVDE facilities until 1960, the American juggernaut was transferred that year to the famous prison in Caxias, due to lack of space in the Police garages at Rua António Maria Cardoso, in Lisbon. That move was the inauguration of this Chrysler’s second life.
Planned with the armour in mind, on December 15, 1961, an impressive escape from the Caxias premises was successfully completed by eight political prisoners who had been imprisoned there. António Gervásio, Francisco Miguel, Elídeo Esteves, Domingos Abrantes, José Magro, Guilherme da Costa Carvalho, Tereso and Verdial would use the Chrysler Imperial as a luxury ram in knocking down the prison gates. An act which destroyed part of the front of the car, not to mention the hail of light machine gun bullets which ricocheted off the right-side windows—still visible today.