The Indy 500, 1941 and its Pace Car.


The Indianapolis 500 race 80 years ago, no I don’t remember it, but it’s Pace Car made it to Marshfield sometime later.
A pace car is that special car that leads the pack around the track at the beginning of  race. Always a production car, except in 1941 !

In the late 30’s Walter P. Chrysler Sr. wanted something special for the Chrysler Automobile Co’s show off car. Walter contracted the design company  of LeBaron Automotive designs, to design and build a concept car, a dream car,  for the Chrysler Company. The first Newport Phaeton prototype  was delivered in an unbelievable  90 days !            Walter liked it and ordered 5 more.

This was Walter P. Chrysler’s Car, (Ser.# C7807503), and passed on to his son, Walter Jr.
Walters affair with his Dual Cowl Newport Phaeton was brief.
Walter died in Aug. 1940.
The car was passed on his son Walter P. Chrysler Jr. along with the continuation of the Newports on order.  Walter Jr. used the first car as a personal driver, and was seen in the Provincetown, Cape Cod, area summers when Walter was visiting their summer residence.
Walter Jr.  arranged  to have the car be featured as the official  Pace Car of the 1941 Indy 500 race.

Correct text— wrong car photo— Walters car had exposed headlights !

This was very unusual for this event,  because it was not a production car as the event  previously required.
And the only non-production car ever used  in the 500 to this day.

Well now, how, when, where, who  & why would this famous car arrive in Marshfield?

Why? Well,  it was a promotional product of Chrysler’s.
When? Sometime between 1941 & the early 1950’s.
How? while visiting  in Massachusetts, it was circulated around to dealers to keep Chrysler products up front and to draw customers into the showrooms.
Where?  Thaxter Anderson’s Plymouth / Chrysler’s dealership on Main St, Marshfield Hills, Rte. 3A.
Who? In the drivers seat is Webster Clark of Clarks Store, Humarock, and a friend of Thaxter Anderson’s.

Webbie Clark, is shown here at the Hill’s Garage.

Walters personal car repainted.

The car shown here is the #1 Newport built and owned/driven by Walter P. Chrysler, & Walter P. Chrysler Jr.
How to tell? The headlights, the first & only to have exposed, rigid, rimmed headlights the other cars had hidden headlights.

Just imagine, this legendary automobile, plying  main roads, as well as back roads of our little town of Marshfield, and few knew or even saw  it !

Lana Turners  Newport, note her vanity plate.

This car was given to Lana Turner by her Millionaire, Playboy husband, Henry J. “Bob” Topping Jr. in 1948. After their divorce in 1952, Bob regained possession.

Five of these Newports are accountable today with Walter’s car selling for $ 1,017,500, in 2011.


W. Ray Freden.   Formally, Seaview, Marshfield Ma.  Currently, Down East Me.



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