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Groundbreaking Car Designs on Show at RM Sotheby’s Arizona Auction

By Paul Joseph

From a one-off Chrysler CL Imperial to a Ferrari Enzo owned by fashion mogul Tommy Hilfiger, RM Sotheby’s will shine a spotlight on groundbreaking automotive design at its annual Arizona Biltmore sale in Phoenix in January.

Celebrating its 18th consecutive year, the sale has been witness to some of the world’s most spectacular automobiles over the years, and the 2017 edition will continue in the event’s footsteps, presenting 120 handpicked motor cars.

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, this model was the personal car of renowned automotive designer Ralph Roberts.

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.

“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.”

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 most revered modern supercars: a 1995 F50, and a 2003 Enzo.

The 1995 Ferrari F50 combines cutting-edge, Formula One-inspired innovation and technology with a road car platform and is expected to fetch between $3-3.5 million at the sale. Meanwhile the 2003 Ferrari Enzo, designed by Pininfarina, comes from the collection of fashion mogul Tommy Hilfiger and is estimated to sell for between $2.7 and $3 million.

Additional highlights for the Arizona sale include a 1938 Bugatti Type 57 Cabriolet, a 1985 Ferrari Testarossa, a 1990 Mercedes-Benz Cosworth 190 E 2.5-16 Evolution II and a 1997 Porsche 911 Turbo S.

By Paul Joseph