1941 Chrysler Newport Concept
|Model History||Auction sales research||Specifications||Body styles and Chassis Data|
Driving these custom creations on the streets provided visual reinforcement of the skills employed. In August of 1940, K.T. Keller was approached by Ralph Roberts from LeBaron with an idea for two show cars that would become known as the Thuderbolt and the Newport. The Thunderbolt was a two-seater design while the Newport was a dual cowl phaeton with seating for four.
Keller commissioned Roberts for LeBaron to construct six Thunderbolts and six Newports to be put on the national show circuit. LeBaron was given a mere 90 days to complete the cars in anticipation of the 1941 auto show season.
The impossible task was nearly accomplished; only five examples of each concept were created before the start of the New York show. They were then distributed around the country to inspire traffic to Chrysler showrooms. They were shown in parades and dealer showrooms, seen by thousands of people, and helped inspire sales and excitement for the Chrysler marque.
Though LeBaron was only able to create five of each custom, it was far more than Ford's one-off idea car and GM's sole Y-Job Concept. Chrysler had their own mini-fleet of Newports and Thunderbolts.
The Newport was designed by Roberts and Alex Tremulis and given a classic dual cowl phaeton body style. The chassis had a wheelbase that measured 145.5-inches, the same used on the Chrysler Imperial chassis. This was the first American car to have a fender line that flows from the front to rear. There were no body seams or bolt-on fenders, and the smooth, un-interrupted, flowing design continued in all aspects of the car including the hood, doors, and deck. There were no excessive ornamentation. It was aerodynamic, with integrated rear fender skirts in the shape of teardrops, a flush cover for the top, and even a recessed license plate. Many of these design cues would maker their way into future production cars. Manufacturers and designers were inspired by the designs, using their creativity to craft future vehicles. Earl copied the front to rear fender line and used them on the more expensive Buicks in years to come. His cars, though, had bolt-on fenders.
Since the concepts were hand made, each were slightly different than the others. Four of the five Newports had their headlights recessed into the front fenders behind retracting headlight doors. The fifth car had a clean front fender design with exposed headlights. This was the car that would be given the honor being the pace car at the 1941 Indianapolis 500.
This car, chassis number C7807503, was the pace car and the personal property of Walter P. Chrysler, Jr. This car is fitted with a 'Vacamatic' three-speed overdrive transmission allowing clutch-less shifting between standard and overdrive ratios in second and third. The eight-cylinder engine displaces 323 cubic-inches and capable of producing 143 horsepower. There are four-wheel drum brakes, and independent front suspension and a live rear axle.
This car is painted in pastel green and reupholstered in dark green leather. It has been fitted with a top, by Chrysler and LeBaron, which folded under an integrated metal boot cover. To aid entry and exit to and from the rear seat, the cowl was modified to be raised and lowered electrically.
The current owner acquired this car in 2000. The car is almost completely original, including the paint and upholstery, and the monogrammed badges on the front doors.
In 2008, this Newport Concept was brought to the 'Automobiles of Amelia Island' presented by RM Auctions. Also, it was extended an invitation to be show at the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegnace a day later. The car has an estimated value of $800,000 - $1,200,000.
By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2009
|Auction Sales Information|
|Auction||Automobiles of Amelia Island|
|Auction||RM Auctions at Amelia Island, Fla|
|High Bid (Lot was not sold)||$1,000,000|
|RM Auctions at Amelia Island, Fla||1931-1942|
|Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance||Art Deco (1929-1941)|
|Automobiles of Amelia Island||1940-1953|