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Chrysler Concept cars
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60 Finatic
Posted 2014-07-06 11:06 PM (#448116)
Subject: Chrysler Concept cars



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The first weekend in March is normally the date for the Amelia Island Concour d’Elegance. This year was the 19th annual. I first attended in 2004, and have only missed two years since. Over the years, they have brought many Chrysler concept cars; this year they had an entire class. I went back through all the photos I’ve taken over the years and have compiled them here for you. A lot of the information below was garnered from the plaques that were in front of the cars. Enjoy!
The 1941 Chrysler Thunderbolt, designed by Alex Tremulis, was introduced in 1940. The body was aluminum, the roof was an electric retractable hardtop (not again seen until the 1957 Ford Skyliner), door buttons replaced handles, headlights were concealed and the wheel wells fared over; there were no A pillars. The car was designed to erase the stigma of the failed Airflow and yet still cast streamlining as the way of the future. It debuted at the 1940 New York auto show. Six Thunderbolts were built.
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60 Finatic
Posted 2014-07-06 11:08 PM (#448117 - in reply to #448116)
Subject: RE: Chrysler Concept cars



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darn, photos are too big... will take a while to resize.
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60 Finatic
Posted 2014-07-10 11:16 PM (#448692 - in reply to #448117)
Subject: RE: Chrysler Concept cars



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1941 Thunderbolt



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60 Finatic
Posted 2014-07-10 11:19 PM (#448693 - in reply to #448692)
Subject: RE: Chrysler Concept cars



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The 1941 Chrysler Newport, designed by Ralph Roberts and custom-built by LeBaron, was one of the last dual cowl phaetons. It featured an all-aluminum body, concealed headlamps, folding windshield and hideaway top. A total of 6 Newports were built and four are known to exist today. A Chrysler Newport became the first concept car selected as the pace car in front of the 1940 Indianapolis 500. The car was originally powered by a Chrysler 323.5 cubic inch 8 cylinder engine developing 137 hp. Notice license plate? This car was originally bought by Henry J “Bob” Topping Jr. who at one time owned the Yankees and was a former husband of Lana Turner…




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60 Finatic
Posted 2014-07-10 11:21 PM (#448694 - in reply to #448693)
Subject: RE: Chrysler Concept cars



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This 1952 Chrysler D’Elegance was the sixth in a succession of 12 concept cars built in a collaborative effort between Chrysler and Ghia Coachbuilders in Turin, Italy. It was the hit of the 1952 Paris Auto Show. The car sits on a shortened Chrysler New Yorker chassis and is motivated by a 331 cubic inch Hemi. This car was discovered in Italy in the 1960s and returned stateside. It was then made roadworthy and driven over 100,000 miles before being sold in late 1980. Look close at it! Oddly enough, a scaled down version of this design would become the Karmen Ghia (the rear fenders/quarter panels - hard to see from this angle)!




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60 Finatic
Posted 2014-07-10 11:21 PM (#448695 - in reply to #448694)
Subject: RE: Chrysler Concept cars



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The 1952 Chrysler SWB (Short Wheelbase) Ghia Thomas Special was presented to the public at the 1953 Paris Auto Show. It is the only Chrysler show car of the era that sat atop a shortened wheelbase. Powered by a 331 Hemi, it has four-wheel drum brakes and three speed automatic. Other styling elements included concealed door handles and a fully concealed drop-down spare tire compartment. A limited production order for 400 Ghia GS-1 cars for Europe was placed but only 12 were built, all different.




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60 Finatic
Posted 2014-07-10 11:22 PM (#448696 - in reply to #448695)
Subject: RE: Chrysler Concept cars



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The 1953 Plymouth Beaumont was built for Chrysler by Briggs Manufacturing Company on a Plymouth 114-inch wheelbase chassis and boasted a couple of firsts for the struggling Chrysler division. It was the first to have a body constructed of fiberglass instead of steel, and was the first Plymouth fitted with a V-8 engine and Hy-Drive semi-automatic transmission. It stretched out long (nearly 192 inches from tip to tail) and low (maximum height of just 49 inches). The Belmont debuted at the 1954 Chicago Auto Show in a metallic light blue and exhibited what Exner and his team believed to be an aerodynamic design theme.




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60 Finatic
Posted 2014-07-10 11:23 PM (#448697 - in reply to #448696)
Subject: RE: Chrysler Concept cars



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The 1954 Plymouth Explorer was mounted on a 114-inch wheelbase Plymouth chassis and was just 54-inches tall. Powering the vehicle was a 230-cubic-inch Plymouth L-head six that offered a meager 110 horsepower. There was a semi-automatic Hy-Drive transmission, twin exhausts that exited through the rear fenders, and wire wheels. Another of the Chrysler and Ghia projects, it was discovered in Sweden in the 1980s with numerous modifications. A full restoration finally brought it back to the original vision and condition.




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60 Finatic
Posted 2014-07-10 11:24 PM (#448698 - in reply to #448697)
Subject: RE: Chrysler Concept cars



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The 1954 Chrysler La Comtesse is a modified New Yorker. It was used as an Auto Show promotional vehicle and was the predecessor of the Dodge La Femme. It was sold to a private owner in the 50s and spent most of its life in California. Bought by Chrysler in 2006, a full restoration began in 2012 and was recently completed. This is the first public display the vehicle since the 50s. Note the Plexiglas roof, rose brocade seat inserts and other styling cues for the woman.




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60 Finatic
Posted 2014-07-10 11:26 PM (#448699 - in reply to #448698)
Subject: RE: Chrysler Concept cars



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There have only been two De Soto concept cars; the 1953 De Soto Adventurer I and the 1954 De Soto Adventurer II. I have only seen two photographs of the Adventurer I. The 1954 DeSoto Adventurer II is considered to be one of the 10 greatest automotive designs, of any marque, of all time. It was another joint venture between Ghia and Chrysler and powered by the famous Red Ram HEMI V8. The Adventurer is extremely large for a two seater but its graceful lines make it attractive. It’s most distinctive feature was the backlight (rear window) sliding down into the trunk. The elegant fastback roofline would be copied on numerous sports and muscle cars as we all know, the Adventurer’s tail fins became a major styling cue for the rest of the decade. When completed, it was shipped to Detroit for the opening of the Chrysler Cheslea Proving Grounds. It was then shipped back to Turin for the European car show circuit. Subsequently, it was sold new to King Mohammed V of Morocco.



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60 Finatic
Posted 2014-07-10 11:28 PM (#448700 - in reply to #448699)
Subject: RE: Chrysler Concept cars



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This 1954 Dodge Firearrow II was a true roadster. It was very similar to the Firearrow I, main difference being the body side molding didn’t wrap around car (the Firearrow I did not have a drivetrain). It was built on a Dodge chassis.



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60 Finatic
Posted 2014-07-10 11:29 PM (#448701 - in reply to #448700)
Subject: RE: Chrysler Concept cars



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Subsequently, the Dodge Firearrow III was built as a coupe. Much similar in appearance, it had four headlights and the grill consisted of concave vertical slats acting as air intakes. It was built on the Dodge Royal production platform, complete with Red Ram Hemi and the Torqueflite transmission. It was also present at the opening of the Chelsea Proving Grounds where race driver Betty Skelton set a new world record for a woman on a closed course and 143.44 mph. She did it wearing a dress and high heels. A second Firearrow III was built as the roadster seen here



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60 Finatic
Posted 2014-07-10 11:30 PM (#448702 - in reply to #448701)
Subject: RE: Chrysler Concept cars



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The 1954 Dodge Firearrow IV, also known as the Dodge Firebomb. The Firearrow series sparked the interest of wealthy car enthusiast Eugene Casaroll who purchased the production rights to the design. Teaming up with engineer Paul Farago, the two of them created a practical road car; the 1956-1958 Dual-Ghia. Both Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra owned one.



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60 Finatic
Posted 2014-07-10 11:31 PM (#448703 - in reply to #448702)
Subject: RE: Chrysler Concept cars



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The 1955 Chrysler Falcon is similar in size to both the Corvette and Thunderbird. It arrives on a shortened Chrysler 300 chassis. It was powered originally by 276 Hemi mated to a two speed Powerflite. The car is considered one of Virgil Exner’s best designs.




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60 Finatic
Posted 2014-07-10 11:31 PM (#448704 - in reply to #448703)
Subject: RE: Chrysler Concept cars



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1956 Chrysler Dart/Diablo was personally designed by Virgil Exner and built and fitted by Ghia in Italy. Originally built as a hardtop, it was called the Dart. Exner removed the roof, created a convertible and called it the Diablo. Its manta ray face, curved hood and muted fins produced a wind tunnel coefficient of drag of just 0.17. It’s massive body is 223 inches long, 80 inches wide and 54 inches tall. It was built on a 1956 Chrysler 300 chassis. It is powered by a modified Chrysler 392 C.I. Hemi with 3 two barrel carbs, pushbutton Torqueflite, Star Wars dashboard (speedometer to 220) and four bucket seats. It even has a chrome CO2 fire extinguisher. When built, it cost Chrysler over $250,000. It was showcased at the 1958 Chicago Auto Show.




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60 Finatic
Posted 2014-07-10 11:33 PM (#448705 - in reply to #448704)
Subject: RE: Chrysler Concept cars



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The 1958 Chrysler Dual Ghia 400 was based on a 1955 design study named ‘Gilda.’ It was designed by Giovanni Savonuzzi for Dual Motors. Pieces of this design ended up being on the Ferrari Superamerica and the Chrysler Dart. It was displayed at the 1958 New York auto show where it caught the eye of two New Jersey men, Alex Freeman and then 13-year-old Fred Kanter. Alex bought it and Fred eventually bought it 20 years later. This is the original car without restoration: a true survivor.




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60 Finatic
Posted 2014-07-10 11:35 PM (#448706 - in reply to #448705)
Subject: RE: Chrysler Concept cars



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To say that the 1960 Chrysler XNR was radical would be an understatement. It was built on a 1960 Valiant chassis using the standard 106 inch wheelbase and was powered by the hairiest version ever developed of Valiant’s 225 Slant Six, which pumped out 250 horsepower -- 1.11 horses per cubic inch. At the Chelsea Proving Grounds, it ran over 150. It is constructed in hand formed steel (not fiberglass) and was not built by Ghia. At one point, it was owned by the Shah of Iran. The car was discovered in Beirut, Lebanon in 1980 by its present owner.




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60 Finatic
Posted 2014-07-10 11:38 PM (#448708 - in reply to #448706)
Subject: RE: Chrysler Concept cars



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The Chrysler turbine program began in 1954 and lasted until 1981. There were a total of seven generations of turbine engines. This vehicle has a fifth generation engine. The majority of turbine engines were installed in standard Chrysler cars and trucks. Only the 1963 Ghia version was specifically designed to be powered by turbine engine. A total of 50 Ghia bodied gas turbine cars were built between 1963 and 64. Most of the vehicles were loaned to members of the general public for a three-month period. A total of 200 families used the vehicles. Their feedback was overwhelmingly positive. All vehicles were painted the “Turbine Bronze” and had matching interiors. This vehicle rides on 110 inch wheelbase and weighs 4100 pounds. Fuel type consists of kerosene, diesel, JP-4 jet fuel and even ran on perfume and alcohol. The turbine engine was never put into production due to the cost of its manufacture and the fact that fuel economy ratings were never dramatically better than the standard internal combustion engine. At the end of the evaluation, all but nine of these cars were scrapped due to tax and import tariffs. Of the nine remaining, three were kept by Chrysler and one each was given to other museums. Only five are in running condition.

Hope you enjoyed these!



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Matthew Keij
Posted 2014-07-11 12:38 AM (#448712 - in reply to #448116)
Subject: Re: Chrysler Concept cars


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Great story's and pictures!

I remember seeing the Adventurer II in 2012 in a museum. Beautiful car!
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55CRL
Posted 2014-07-14 12:21 PM (#449066 - in reply to #448116)
Subject: Re: Chrysler Concept cars



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Great to see tthat many of the fabolous cars in one spot, love it!
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Lancer Mike
Posted 2014-07-14 1:29 PM (#449070 - in reply to #449066)
Subject: Re: Chrysler Concept cars



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Dan, thanks for the thread and thanks for the article in NDC Adventures!
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GaryS
Posted 2014-07-14 3:25 PM (#449087 - in reply to #448116)
Subject: Re: Chrysler Concept cars



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Great pictures!
I was working at a Chrysler dealership when the turbine cars were loaned out to the public. The owner of our dealership attended an event to familiarize the franchises with the turbine cars and he loved driving them. Even at a higher price and less than spectacular fuel mileage, he was convinced sales would boom.
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d500neil
Posted 2014-07-14 3:59 PM (#449090 - in reply to #449087)
Subject: Re: Chrysler Concept cars



Exner Expert 19,174 posts. Neil passed away 18 Sep 2015. You will be missed, Neil!

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who/what owns the Turbine car?


BTW, in various publications you might read that there were "three" Falcons built.

Wrong; what an owner discovered, decades ago, was that the silver, red and black colors that the car was
seen wearing, was actually an over-laying of those paint schemes on top of each other.

Same thing, with the adventurer 1; silver and white over-sprayed on to it.


BTW(ii): the whereabouts of the Ad-1 is unknown.

Ex famously personally drove it, and in the 70's/80's it was rumored to be living somewhere in South America.

Ex would not have allowed it to be crushed, and I've not read his biography, but, I've never heard anything about
the factory (deciding to) crush it.








Edited by d500neil 2014-07-14 4:12 PM




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StillOutThere
Posted 2014-07-14 5:32 PM (#449102 - in reply to #448116)
Subject: Re: Chrysler Concept cars



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http://www.carlustblog.com/2012/05/the-desoto-adventurer-1-my-favor...

In the article, Virgil Exner Jr. writes that he observed the Adventurer I, K-310 and C-200 all being crushed.
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d500neil
Posted 2014-07-14 5:43 PM (#449104 - in reply to #449102)
Subject: Re: Chrysler Concept cars



Exner Expert 19,174 posts. Neil passed away 18 Sep 2015. You will be missed, Neil!

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I wonder how he cared to be, or was allowed to be, present when the Corporation crushed those vehicles....and why the Corp.
decided to crush those cars.

Book reference, please?

Also, if he made a special attempt to witness the crushing, why no one (Corp/otherwise) took no(?) photos
of that deed?







Edited by d500neil 2014-07-14 5:46 PM
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Lancer Mike
Posted 2014-07-14 5:55 PM (#449106 - in reply to #448693)
Subject: RE: Chrysler Concept cars



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A few years ago, I saw one of the 1941 Newport pace setters driving around the streets of Denver near Cherry Creek North! In my mind's eye it was a pastel yellow color, and did not have the big red siren as shown here. What a sight!
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jimntempe
Posted 2014-07-14 7:30 PM (#449117 - in reply to #448116)
Subject: Re: Chrysler Concept cars



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He doesn't say he was there while they were being crushed, he says he saw them just after.

By late 1956 it was time for Chrysler to either return the Adventurer to Ghia, sell it, or scrap it. The time for payment of customs duty on the purchase from Ghia was up. This was the case with most of the early Chrysler/Ghia idea cars. Chrysler didn't want to return it to Ghia as they didn't want to let it get into private hands, and they didn't want to show favoritism to any of the many Chrysler dealers or private Chrysler lovers who sought ownership. So, they scrapped it. With great sadness, I saw it in Engineering Alley on top of the Chrysler K-310 and the Chrysler C-200 just after all 3 were flattened.
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d500neil
Posted 2014-07-14 8:09 PM (#449122 - in reply to #449117)
Subject: Re: Chrysler Concept cars



Exner Expert 19,174 posts. Neil passed away 18 Sep 2015. You will be missed, Neil!

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Well, 'that' was NOT "....the case with "most" of the early Chrysler/Ghia idea cars (at any rate)."

The only cars that were crushed were the Turbines, of 1963, that I'm aware-of.

F-word's idea cars were crushed, as a rule.

Chrysler has a long history of having 1-off cars getting out of the factory confines.

One member, here, has a 1961 Newport that was owned by the Proving Grounds, with 300G stuff on it; that car was given to his father as a retirement gift.

the Chrysler Historical Society has no official documentation on this car's existence.

OK; so the Ad-1 was crushed....hard to believe, though.


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56D500boy
Posted 2019-06-14 3:27 PM (#583443 - in reply to #449122)
Subject: Re: Chrysler Concept cars



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56 Dart/Diablo on My Classic Car

Second half of the video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0L6Dxqa3F2U

Dave F.
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firedome
Posted 2019-06-18 9:54 AM (#583630 - in reply to #448116)
Subject: Re: Chrysler Concept cars



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Bob R., a guy some of us know, did the interior of that red Plym Belmont a few years ago. He was a frequenter of that "fins" Mopar site that's all but dead now.
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