Hot Rod Heaven: Chrysler Saratoga

By Ricki Chaikin, Co-Owner Reclaimed Relics as Featured on Abandoned

This Saratoga was recovered from a barn in Newtown, Connecticut.  In the 1850s, the Peck family purchased a plot of land in rural Newtown and built a thriving dairy farm. In 1932, during the worst of the Great Depression, the Pecks sold the property to Anthony Amaral.

Anthony “Tony” Amaral first came to Newtown, Connecticut in 1923 just as the automobile was growing in popularity. Although horse-and-buggy could still be seen on Newtown’s Main Street, in 1932 Tony founded Amaral Motors Service Station at 40 South Main Street. Over many years the business expanded. A Chrysler-Plymouth dealership for many years, a showroom was added in 1950 and an autobody shop in 1984.

Amaral passed away in 1989, leaving behind two barns full of vintage auto parts and memorabilia. His descendants still own the auto dealership, but are preparing to leave the Amaral Farm. The current buyer has stipulated that the barns, along with all their contents, must be removed. Fortunately, Jay stepped in before this incredible time capsule of automobile history was destroyed. Along with many collectables and parts, he recovered this 1941 Chrysler Saratoga.

The Saratoga nameplate first appeared in 1939 and was applied to Chrysler’s most expensive full-size eight cylinders, above that of the Imperial and the New Yorker. 1941 was the first model to offer fluid drive. In addition to fluid drive, this car has a flathead 8 cylinder engine and a 3 speed transmission. This car could not speak louder of its’ era. From the classy bakelight dashboard to the rope handles to hold a wool blanket on the back of the driver’s seat or the hanging rope and tassel used to help exit the vehicle, it is obvious this vehicle was built at a time in our history when car manufacturer’s took pride in their work and when owning a car was a luxury. And for your inner gangster: suicide doors! Suicide doors are hinged on the trailing edge closer to the rear of the vehicle… a tradition that began with the horse drawn carriage builders. Especially popular in the gangster era of the 1930s, it was once said that “It’s a lot easier to shove somebody out with the wind holding the door open.”

This car was driven by only one man. A local banker purchased the car new from Amaral motors in 1941. When he passed, Amaral Motors purchased it back from his estate and parked it in the barn on their Newtown farm until Jay arrived. On the door panel, it is recorded that the oil was last changed in 1969 when it had 51,351 miles. It now has 52,012 miles!

Because it was a cherished automobile, it was in surprisingly good condition. Under decades of dust, dirt and some animal droppings, Jay recognized it was a gem. Upon returning to PA with the car, he began a thorough interior detailing of the car. He then took it to none other than MM Afflerback & Sons of Quakertown Pa. Owned by two brothers now in their 80’s, they told Jay they remember working on these cars when they were new! After several weeks, they not only had her running again, but just as important… it was tuned up, safe and fun for the family. After detailing the exterior, it was time to ride! And so, we went to football practice—the very, very cool way—in a 1941 Saratoga!

Included with this car are also the contents of the glove box: the original Chrysler owner’s manual, genuine borg electric clock manual, AAA membership, official CT map and personal effects such as Aspirin and a comb to name a few. The details of the paperwork left in the glovebox speak volumes about the era in which this car was made. Nothing was throw-away and everything was made and done the right way. It really is true that “they don’t build them like this anymore.” We don’t hope that you’ll enjoy this restored American automobile… we know that you will. Like boaters and bikers, everyone in a vintage car like this one is in a good mood… it’s just the way it is when you’re living the way it was. Find out more about the Saratoga on the Reclaimed Relics site and explore some of the other finds the guys uncovered in the Newtown, Conn. barns.

Tonight at 9P on Abandoned: New York Masonic Lodge, after failing to find valuable goods at a Tappan, N.Y., Masonic retirement home, the team explores two barns set for demolition in nearby Newtown, Conn. Jay is blown away by the automotive relics stored in one barn, including a restored tractor, porcelain signage and a Chrysler Saratoga. Now, Jay must convince the owners that he will successfully restore and resell the entire contents of both barns, but only if they can agree on a fair price.



  1. Chuck
    Tehachapi, California
    September 19, 2012, 8:41 pm

    I am a gear head and loved this episode ! Since you bought both barns, and it included items from a Chrysler/ Plymouth/Desoto/Dodge dealership I am looking for a specific item. In the barns did you find an interior window frame molding for a 1931 Plymouth three window coupe. If so I would be very interested in purchasing the item.

    Thank you very much for your time and thank you for a GREAT show and preserving America’s history !

  2. Wes Gabel
    San Antonio,TX
    September 20, 2012, 10:47 am

    Great show, I enjoy watching this show. I been digging and
    picking in barns and buildings for years and getting older and responsible has limited me. So watching this show is like being right there with these guys. And these guys are really cool and make it fun to watch.
    Thanks for doing what you dooo guys

  3. Dinah
    September 23, 2012, 1:39 pm


    It’s a long shot that’ Jay’s reading these comments and checking for parts. Contact his company Reclaimed Relics ( They can then point you to who they sold the parts off to.The parts are not listed on their website under items for sale from the Amaral Motors Barn trip. They just don’t have a barn or warehouse to fit all that stuff in, so he’s had to have sold it off, probably during the couple of weeks he had before they even went back and cleared out the barns.

  4. Lauren
    Reclaimed Relics
    September 26, 2012, 2:52 pm

    Hello from Reclaimed Relics! We actually do have the parts from the two barns, but haven’t gone through them to see what all is there. We’ll be updating our website when we do so with the items available!

  5. Jim
    Batavia, OH
    September 26, 2012, 4:34 pm

    Hey there. Just caught this episode. I’m currebtly restoring a 56 Chrysler 300, and I need the delta wing air cleaner for two four barrels, most often referred to as a bat-wing. Did you happen to find one in the barns?

    Midland, Texas
    September 26, 2012, 9:47 pm

    I am a collector of gas station and car signs. I have collected over 450 signs. I am interested in purchasing signs that I have seen on the show.

  7. Reclaimed Relics
    September 29, 2012, 12:34 pm

    Hey there! Not such a long shot that we actually do read these (and sometimes even reply). We first want to thank everyone for watching. As Lauren said, we do actually have all of the parts in a warehouse, but haven’t yet inventoried it. Keep an eye on this site as well as ours ( through October and November. We may sell some things individually, but we may also have an auction (there are literally hundreds of MOPAR in-the-box parts from the size of a matchbox to a crated rear). Thanks again for watching. Hope to see you for a season two! Jay and Ricki.

  8. jay at reclaimed relics
    October 9, 2012, 10:27 pm

    lets talk stimulation son tucker and i just finished going through hundreds of brochures.from 1960 through the 70s from plymouth police cars to taxi cabs lets not forget the cricket or maybe we should.i could not ask for a cooler activity to engage in with my son. if anybody wants or knows of anyone that would like to purchase brochures please give a shout. To the guys who need parts i am doing my best to try to figure out the best course of action.Would someone like to by a truck load of vintage mopar parts.Give a call. thanks

  9. Gijoe
    November 14, 2012, 8:38 pm

    I just watched the show last night for the first time. Very cool. So….are you going to sell the Saratoga? I am interested.


  10. Paul Lewis
    Manado, Indonesia
    March 11, 2013, 3:21 am

    Excellent writing! I espcially enjoyed your line…”…everyone in a vintage car like this one is in a good mood… it’s just the way it is when you’re living the way it was.” Wow! So well said:).

    Keep up the good work of saving and restoring some of the best from the past!

  11. simon
    Sydney Australia
    September 29, 2014, 8:42 am

    A message for Jay on the show: it’s obvious you know absolutely nothing about classic cars….that Valiant with 25,000 miles – I would pay you USD$40,000+ plus shipping to Australia for it all day every day!! you left behind the one thing that would fetch you the most money….it worth more than that shitb*x 1941 Crysler…Silly man