Elizabeth Carmichael – Documentary, Dale & Facts

Elizabeth Carmichael promised to revolutionize the automotive industry with a fuel-efficient car called the Dale, but the vehicle was never manufactured. While facing fraud charges, she was publicly revealed to be a transgender woman.

Who Was Elizabeth Carmichael?

Elizabeth Carmichael, born c. 1928 (some sources say 1937), was a transgender woman who in 1974 launched a California-based car company promoting the Dale, a three-wheeled vehicle that claimed to deliver incredible gas mileage. Customers and investors, still reeling from OPEC’s recent oil embargo, were entranced by the Dale, and by Carmichael herself. However, the car never went into production, and those who’d paid to reserve vehicles or start dealerships found they’d been defrauded. 

As Carmichael went on the run to escape criminal charges, her transgender identity became public knowledge. Carmichael was found and convicted of conspiracy, grand theft and stock fraud, but while out on bail in 1980 she ran off before reporting to prison. It was only after she was featured on a 1989 episode of Unsolved Mysteries that she served her sentence. Her story is told in the 2021 documentary The Lady and the Dale.

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