Unique 1933 custom Chrysler leads RM Sotheby's Arizona sale

Joes Garage

Joes Garage

2016-11-14 15:13:51

A unique custom Chrysler built in 1933 will lead a sale of American classics and modern-day supercars at RM Sotheby's in Arizona.

The 1933 Chrysler CL Imperial Dual-Windshield Phaeton is one of the leading lots in the company's first sale of 2017, which takes place at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix on January 19-20.

Chassis no. 7803657 is believed to be the last example built, and was the personal car of Ralph Roberts, regarded by many as one of the greatest automotive designers of the 1930s who worked for coachbuilder LeBaron and Chrysler.

According to the auction house, the car is "more than just a custom creation, it is an important design statement—a reflection of Roberts’ forward-thinking genius and his ideas and philosophies about what a modern automobile should be."

Featuring ahead-of-its-time styling such as low-mounted headlamps, an extended fender line, aerodynamic rear fender skirts and dual rear-mounted spares, the car's influence can be clearly seen on the later Chrysler Airflow and Airstream models.

(Images: RM Sothebys)

(Images: RM Sothebys)

In addition to Roberts' personal provenance, the car has also passed through many of America's leading collections including the Milhous and Otis Chandler Collections.

Having previously won countless awards, including Best of Show at the Concours d’Elegance of America at St. John’s, and Best in Class at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, the car will now be offered in Arizona with an estimate of $1.4-$1.8 million.

"The importance of this Chrysler CL Imperial cannot be overstated. It is, by far, one of the most significant Chryslers ever built, and arguably one of the best-looking American Classics," said Gord Duff, Car Specialist, RM Sotheby’s.

"Then comes its incredible provenance: not only was it a designer’s personal car, but past ownership by some of the hobby’s top collectors reinforce its importance and value in collector car circles. As a one-off creation, you never know when you may see this Chrysler back on the market. It’s definitely one to watch and deserving of close inspection."

Further early additions to RM's Arizona roster include a U.S.-spec 1995 Ferrari F50, one of just a handful finished in black, estimated at $3-$3.5 million; a 1938 Bugatti Type 57 Cabriolet with coachwork by Letourneur et Marchand, estimated at $1.25-$1.5 million; and a 2003 Ferrari Enzo from the collection of fashion mogul Tommy Hilfiger, priced at $2.7-$3 million.

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