Chrysler freshened the CL Imperial range in 1933, introducing a new chassis stretched 146 inches, complemented by stunning styling with a swept-back, steeply-raked raked grille, cowl-less hood, and flowing fenders. Hydraulic brakes, adjustable seats, and hydraulic dampers all carried over to the CL, so performance was up to the standards that customers expected. Thanks to the advanced suspension geometry, superb hydraulic brakes, and powerful 8-cylinder engine, the CL Imperial is regarded as one of the finest driving cars of the Classic Era.
It is also considered one of the most elegant cars of the period, as Frank Kleptz’s 1933 Chrysler CL Imperial Dual Windshield Phaeton dramatically demonstrates. In 1933, America was still in the throes of the Great Depression, and sales of exclusive, custom bodied luxury cars were understandably dire. Chrysler delivered a mere 151 CL Imperial chassis in 1933, with most wearing one of the “semi-custom” coachwork options by LeBaron Carrosserie. This car is one of 36 originally outfitted with LeBaron’s spectacular Dual Windshield Phaeton body. Distinguished by its split windshield, rakish profile, and retractable rear windscreen, the LeBaron Phaeton is one of the most evocative and visually stunning bodies created for the CL Imperial chassis, and approximately 17 are known to survive.
This 1933 CL is another long-term part of the Kleptz Collection and a particular highlight of his incredible assemblage of Chrysler Imperials. It is offered with a preserved, older restoration completed in the 1950s and quietly stored over the past decade. Notable features include the split/opening front windshields, retractable rear windscreen, dual side-mounts with matching metal covers, and an integrated body-color trunk. Finished in beige over oxblood leather with dark red coach lines and wheels, it remains a visually stunning motorcar. While the restoration is old, it was done correctly, as the AACA National First Prize award on the glovebox demonstrates. As offered today, there is a considerable patina to the paint finish and brightwork, but it is complete and could easily be prepared for touring and road events and still turn heads in its current state. The oxblood red mottled leather upholstery also shows some wear and aging but is consistent, and could be readily freshened and enjoyed as-is. Instruments and other fittings appear to be authentic, and the convertible top functions well. The sale includes a full set of matching side curtains and a top boot with an integrated rear tonneau.
According to marque experts, this car appears to have its original engine and body intact, based on comparing this car’s numbers with factory records. The L-head inline-eight is respectably well-presented in period-correct colors. It shows considerable patina from age and use, though it does run quite well. Additional sorting and recommissioning will be required before touring, but it appears to be an excellent basis for returning to the road or restoring to its former glory.
The CL Imperial Phaeton’s stunning lines never fail to impress, and this car’s lovely patina adds a unique layer of character to an already profoundly desirable motorcar. One could easily sort the mechanicals and delight in driving the car as-is or use it as the basis of a more extensive concours restoration. Whichever way the next keeper chooses to enjoy it, this CL remains a fantastically stylish and eminently rewarding Full Classic.
Offers welcome and trades considered