Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Virgil Exner's Unusual 1960 Chrysler Concept

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In the late 1950s, Chrysler sought an answer to the popular Corvette, which was eating U.S. auto manufacturers' high-end sports car breakfast. The task for designing the Corvette-killer fell to Virgil Exner, the industrial designer who would eventually become Chrysler's first Vice President of Styling. What Exner came up with was unconventional, to say the least.

His XNR concept resembled an assymetrical shark and took tailfins in an unexpected direction.
The lopsided car seemed designed for the driver to belittle his passenger, with a tiny vestige of a passenger-side window and even a hatch you could close over that side altogether, reminding your shotgun-rider which of you was literally in the driver's seat.

2 comment(s):

soubriquet said...

Exner, of course, was heavily influenced by the asymmetric, finned, shark-like car that Jaguar were racing, and winning with from 1954 onward. It was Jaguar's ex-aviation designer, Malcolm Sayer, who put a fin behind the driver's head, to reduce drag vortices, and Sayer who specified a wrap-around windshield, also a cover to fit over the passenger side, and a folding windshield, thus greatly reducing drag when no passenger was present.

The Jaguar proved itself repeatedly in world class racing, and fathered the E-Type Jaguar.
Exner's car was more space-age in styling than jet-age.
Maybe if the cars had been built and raced, we'd see them differently, but for me? The D-type wins every time.


Gareth said...

soubriquet you're right about the D-type influence on that tail fin. I always wished Jaguar had made a production version of that than the E-type, the D-Type was much better looking.

However the rest of this car looks like something from one of those 1950s "what will we be driving in 1999" magazine articles. To be fair though many concept cars of the era looked like that.