THE RALPH ROBERTS CUSTOM: CHRYSLER’S Y-JOB
When it comes to American Classics, the one-off 1933 Chrysler CL Imperial Dual-Windshield Phaeton
set for RM’s Arizona sale is groundbreaking in design. Believed to be the last example completed, chassis
no. 7803657 was the stunning personal car of LeBaron’s renowned automotive designer Ralph Roberts. 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. From its low-mounted
headlamps to its extended fender line, aerodynamic rear fender skirts and dual rear-mounted spares, such
styling cues were ahead of their time, and their influence can be clearly seen on the Chrysler Airflow and
Airstream models that followed. Further differentiating 7803657 from its peers, it was the only CL Imperial
Dual-Windshield Phaeton to have its radiator shell painted as opposed to chromed, along with its headlights
and horns, a very unorthodox idea in 1933.
Beyond its magnificent styling, 7803657’s provenance is elevated by its well-known ownership history which
includes the renowned Milhous and Otis Chandler Collections, along with various successes on the show
field, 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 (Est. $1,400,000 - $1,800,000).
“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,” comments 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.”
FROM AMERICAN CLASSICS TO MODERN SUPERCARS
In keeping with past tradition, entries for RM’s 2017 Arizona sale will offer tremendous diversity, ranging from
pre-war classics through to important sports and racing greats and contemporary supercars. To this end, the
elegant, flowing lines of the Chrysler CL Imperial will be juxtaposed by the appearance of two of Ferrari’s
hottest modern supercars: a 1995 F50, and a 2003 Enzo.
Essentially an F1 car for the road, the F50 combines cutting-edge, Formula One-inspired innovation and
technology with a road car platform. From a design perspective, it is differentiated from its supercar siblings
by its open-top, enabling both driver and passenger to enjoy the car’s full exhaust note. A U.S.-spec example,
the 1995 Ferrari F50 set for RM Arizona is one of very few completed in black, and sports just 2,000 miles
from new (Est. $3,000,000 - $3,500,000).
Designed by Pininfarina, the Enzo was a drastic departure from the cars that came before. From nose to tail,
form was secondary to function providing for an unrivalled driving experience. Gone was the massive rear wing
that defined both the F40 and F50, replaced by a small speed-activated spoiler at the rear, while the
protruding nose was a styling cue taken from Ferrari’s contemporary Formula One cars to highlight its use of
race-inspired technology. The 2003 Ferrari Enzo set for RM’s Arizona sale comes from the collection of
fashion mogul, Tommy Hilfiger. Purchased new by Mr. Hilfiger, it is one of very few examples in the U.S. that
have remained with its original owner. Exceptionally well maintained, it is also low mileage, showing just over
3,600 miles on its odometer (Est. $2,700,000 - $3,000,000).
Additional early highlights for RM’s two-evening Arizona sale include: a 1938 Bugatti Type 57 Cabriolet,
beautifully presented with exceedingly rare coachwork by Letourneur et Marchand (Est. $1,250,000 -
$1,500,000); along with an exciting series of modern classics from the 1980s and 90s. Included in the latter
group is a 7,986-original mile, ‘flying mirror’ 1985 Ferrari Testarossa, complete with Ferrari Classiche
certification (Est. $130,000 - $160,000); a 1990 Mercedes-Benz Cosworth 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution II, the
first EVO II offered publicly in North America (Est. $225,000 - $275,000); and, a 1997 Porsche 911 Turbo S,
striking in original Yellow over Black and showing 12,150 original miles (Est. $425,000 - $550,000).
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