1954 Dodge Firearrow Concept
|Model History||Auction sales research||Specifications||Body styles and Chassis Data|
The second concept in the series was the Firearrow II. It was a drivable example that took many of its styling cues from its predecessor. Again, the public response was positive and management considered a future limited production model.
A third prototype was created; the Firearrow III focused on aerodynamics and refinement of the previous cars. It was a closed coupe car that was fitted with all the modern day amenities. The design was courtesy of the Turin, Italy-based firm of Ghia. In charge of the design styling was Luigi Segre. Segre had worked with Ghia on several earlier Chrysler projects, including the C200 roadster and the later K310 coupes. The Ghia company had formed a working relationship with Chrysler's Chief of Advanced Design, Virgil Exner, and were able to agree on how the designs and styling of these concepts.
The Firearrow III was given a chrome grille, fitted into a rectangular opening with concave vertical slats acting as air intakes. There were four headlights with two standard hi-lo sealed beam bulbs paired with smaller high-intensity driving lamps mounted to the outside. Under the main lights were a pair of chrome bumperettes with two nearly concealed parking-turn signal lights mounted to the outer edges.
The artistic and hand-crafted styling reached nearly every aspect of the car, including the hand-crafted functioning chrome exhaust pipes that are routed through each rear quarter panel. The rearward sloping lid for the trunk is operated by a concealed push-button. The tail lights are mounted into the trailing edges of the rear fins. In the chrome-plated rear license plate holder are flush-mounted backup lights. Similar to the front, there are chrome bumperettes in the rear of the car. The raked windshield provides excellent visibility thanks to the excesses amount of glass. In-fact, there is a generous amount of glass throughout the vehicle, including the wrap-around backlight, one of the largest pieces of glass used in any car up to that time.
The Dodge Firarrow III coupe had the same platform as the Dodge Royal production car. The running gear was stock, including the 'Red-Ram' 'Hemi' V8 engine, suspension, and the fully automatic Torque-Flite transmission.
The overall package stood just under five feet high. Inside there was plenty of roof for the occupants, with plus leather seats featuring Opal Blue bolsters and white leather inserts. Each of the seats are adjustable. The interior has a decor that is both modern and futuristic. There is a fully functional heater-defroster system and a push-button radio. Also, there is a large ashtray mounted between the two front seats.
The Firearrow III was used by the Chrysler Corporation at the opening of the company's new Chelsea Proving grounds in June of 1954. Betty Skelton drove the car on the brand new banked oval, setting a new world record a woman on a closed course of 143.44 miles per hour. She did this in a dress and wearing high heels.
After the proving grounds, the car was put on the show circuit and eventually became the basis for the Firearrow IV. The result of these design studies later culminated into the famous Dual-Ghia convertibles offered in 1957 through Dodge dealers.
To avoid paying hefty import duties due to the Italian coachwork by Ghia on this car, a deal was made with the U.S. Customs Department that the car would return to the country of its origin. In early 1955, the Firearrow III was sent back to the Turin shops of Ghia. It was later sold to a private individual in France, where it remained for over three decades in the same ownership.
It was well maintained during that time and used on a regular basis. As the years passed, many believed the car to have been lost or destroyed. In the 1980s, after negotiating a deal, the car returned to the United States and into a growing collection of one-of-a-kind dream machines and historic concepts.
Since then, the car has been given a restoration and returned to its original appearance. It is painted in its original Opal-Blue metallic paint with color coordinated interior of matching leathers.
In 2009, this Firearrow III Concept was offered for sale at the Automobiles of Arizona presented by RM Auctions. The lot was estimated to sell for $1,000,000 - $1,500,000. It was sold for the sum of $880,000, including buyer's premium.
By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2009
|Auction Sales Information|
|Auction||Automobiles of Arizona|
|Auction||RM Auctions at Monterey|
|RM Auctions at Monterey||1940-1955|
|Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance||Ghia Styling|
|Automobiles of Arizona||1947-1955|