- One of fewer than 20 authentic survivors
- Originally delivered to powerboat racer Lou Fageol
- Formerly owned by Turhan Bey, Jack Passey, and Laurence “Baron” Dorcy
- Well-known full history from new
This 1933 Chrysler CL Imperial Dual-Windshield Phaeton was bought new by racing boat legend Lou Fageol, “the world’s fastest man on water.” After about a year, Fageol had his shop fit the car with a 1930 Cadillac V-16 engine, no. 700132, along with associated adjustments to the chassis and suspension. With its V-16 fitted, the Fageol Imperial next passed to Hollywood film actor Turhan Bey and subsequently to a student at Stanford University, who sold it in the early 1950s to the late, legendary Northern California collector and enthusiast Jack Passey. Passey in turn traded the car to Earl Hill and Dick Wells, who sold it to Laurence Dorcy.
Better known to one and all by his favored nickname, Baron, Mr. Dorcy was the grandson of Great Northern Railroad magnate James J. Hill and lived the fabulous life of a millionaire eccentric. Over the next 50 years, he would come to own the Chrysler two further times, always buying it back after he sold it. Ken Daniel, a longtime friend and neighbor, was the last to sell the car to Dorcy, in trade for a Duesenberg in 2001, and reacquired it from Dorcy’s estate 10 years later.
The Imperial was restored between 1985 and 1987 by Harold Orchard. More recently, during Baron Dorcy’s final ownership, the car had the engine hood correctly replaced, and the body was refinished in its present brilliant scarlet. Most recently it has undergone further cosmetic restoration and, somewhat poignantly, the installation of a period-correct CH Imperial engine, very similar to the original CL unit that first powered the car in 1933.
The car has been well-known to the Chrysler Imperial community for decades. It is described in Christopher Cummings’ book Cadillac V-16s: Lost and Found and is pictured in For the Love of Old Cars by Ken Albert, a book on Jack Passey’s automobiles. Furthermore, it is listed in the compendium of original CL Imperial phaetons published by George Tissen in 1980, further documenting its provenance as a genuine example.
Surviving CL Imperial dual-windshield phaetons are widely held as among the most beautiful and desirable American Classics. Few, however, have the rather spectacular, unlikely, and wonderful history of the example offered here, which has been owned and driven since new by utterly fascinating individuals and has accrued a lifetime of amazing stories. This car represents an excellent opportunity to enter into American Classic ownership with Chrysler’s top-of-the-line model for 1933, the Imperial, one that set its sights on competing with the likes of Cadillac, Duesenberg, Pierce-Arrow, and Packard.