1940/1941 Chrysler Newport Phaeton

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The 1940/1941 Chrysler Newport-Phaetons were the first ever Chrysler show car.  It was designed by Ralph Roberts of Chrysler and LeBaron built the cars.  Similar to the 1940/1941 Thunderbolt show car, five of these wonderful automobiles was built, one of which Walter P.  kept as a personal car.


The Phaetons were built on the New Yorker frame and featured an integrated aluminum body and the aircraft-style cockpit, with dual fold-down windshields.  And as with the Thunderbolt, the Newport Phaetons sported hide-away headlights.

The legendary actress, Lana Turner, owned a red Newport Phaeton and here is a picture of that car, notice the custom license plate:

Another notable accomplishment of the 1940/41 Chrysler Newport Phaeton was the fact that it was the pace car for the Indianapolis 500 in 1941.  The car that ran the first leg of the race was painted a bright yellow with "Chrysler" written on the side in bold black script.  One of the amazing trivia facts about that pace car was that the running gear was NOT replaced....it ran on the conventional Chrysler gears.  The driver of the pace car was A. B. Couture.

Here is a modern model car reproduction of the '40/'41 Chrysler Newport made by Brooklin Models as a publicity product for Motor Sport magazine.

Read an interesting magazine article written by famed LeBaron designer, Hugo Pfau. Mr. Pfau relates a few memories about Ralph Roberts and his innovative Newport design.

This page was last updated December 8, 2004. Send us your feedback, and come join the Imperial Mailing List - Online Car Club