Skip to main content

1938 Phantom Corsair news, pictures, specifications, and information
Coachwork: Bohman & Schwartz
Rust Heinz, heir to the Heinz 57 ketchup fortune, was a young designer who had the means to put into reality his car of tomorrow, better known as the Phantom Corsair. Based on a 1936 Cord Westchester Sedan with a Granatelli modified 192 horsepower supercharged Cord motor, the body was constructed by Maurice Schwartz of Bohman & Schwartz Body Company. Designed in a wind tunnel, the radical fastback body incorporates modern items such as a climate control system and crash padded dash. It starred in the 1938 movie The Young at Heart where it was called the 'Flying Wombat.' Originally intended to be produced in limited numbers for $12,500, the project ended with Heinz' untimely death in 1939.
The Phantom Corsair was designed by Rust Heinz of the Heinz 57 Ketchup fame, and Maurice Schwartz of Pasadena, California. Schwartz was one of the primary individuals in the Bohman & Schwartz Coachbuilding Company. The resulting design was amazing, aerodynamic and certainly bred from unconventional thinking. Its smooth surface was void of running boards and separate fenders allowing for the curvaceous body to gracefully flow undisturbed from front to back.

The chassis was from a Cord 810 and large enough to seat six individuals. To propel this rather large vehicle, a Lycoming V8 engine was fitted that displaced 289 cubic-inches and provided 190 horsepower allowing the Phantom to reach 115 miles per hour. Drum brakes on all four corners were necessary to slow the vehicle and keep it in the drivers control.

This was meant as a production vehicle. Heinz had hoped to sell these for $12,500, which was a very large fortune to most individuals at the time. Unfortunately, Heinz passed away in 1938 and the plans for production died with him. Only one example was ever produced.

This vehicle has played a starring role in the motion picture 'The Young at Heart.'

By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2007

Phantom Corsair Making Rare Trip Out of Museum for Amelia 2009

California Coachbuilder Bohman & Schwartz's Creation Labeled Both Monstrosity & Marvel

The Phantom Corsair, a one-of-kind look at the future of auto design penned in the late thirties by Rust Heinz of the H.J. Heinz family food empire, will make its way to the 14th annual Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance, March 13-15, 2009. The vehicle will be on display courtesy of the National Automobile Museum (The Harrah Collection) in Reno, Nevada.

'There are certain what I like to call ‘once-in-a-lifetime' designs and the Phantom Corsair easily falls into that category,' says Bill Warner, founder & co-chairman of the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance. 'When this car came out of Bohman & Schwartz, it was called outrageous and futuristic at the same time. It's a 70-year-old design and still generates a buzz wherever it goes, and still defies description today; just as it did when it rolled out of their Pasadena shop in 1938.'

Not Another One Like It In The World
The Phantom Corsair was ahead of its time and displayed a number of innovative design queues. The streamlined look from bumper to bumper gave the Phantom Corsair a distinct aerodynamic advantage enabling the car to reach nearly 120 m.p.h., which was impressive for a car its size back in 1938. There were several never-seen-before features in the car such as hydraulic impact bumpers, covered driving lights, climate control system, and
interior crash padding. After its stint at the 1939 World's Fair, it moved on to a new career in Hollywood as the mysteriously sinister 'Flying Wombat,' in the David O. Selznick production, 'The Young in Heart,' which starred screen legend Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.

Bohman & Schwartz built the Phantom Corsair for an estimated $25,000, and Heinz had plans to build a limited number for about $12,500 per car, but his untimely death shortly after its completion ended any production plans. The vehicle was later sold to the famous comedian Herb Shriner and was displayed for a time at the Silver Springs (Florida) Museum before ending up in the hands of famed collector William Harrah, who restored the car to its
original configuration and displayed it as a showcase car in his vast collection. Bohman & Schwartz performed work for many of Hollywood's elite and customized a number of makes, including Duesenberg, Cadillac, and LaSalle. They remained active until ceasing operations in the early sixties.

'There will never be another one like it,' Warner says of the Phantom Corsair. 'I've often wondered what it would be like to drive that car around town; imagine the looks you would get. It's going to really surprise people when it appears on the show field and it will probably be one of the most photographed cars throughout the day.'

Source - Amelia Island Concours
• RM Auctions presents the 'Condo Find Daytona' at its Amelia Island, Florida sale, March 14 • Offered on behalf of its original owner, the Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona recently emerged from 25 years storage in downtown Toronto • The official auction of the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance, RM sale also lifts the gavel on a spectacular 1938 Bugatti Type 57C Aravis Cabriolet, which was judged 'Best of Show' at Amelia Island in 2012 • Frequently updated list of entries available online at www....[Read more...]
On March 15, 2015, the 20th annual Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance will display the eclectic and eccentric cars customized and modified to promote America's movie and TV cowboys with the highly anticipated 'Cars of the Cowboys' class. In true 'Amelia' tradition, this unique display on the 10th and 18th fairways of The Golf Club of Amelia Island at The Ritz-Carlton will put fun ahead of fad and fashion as the first gathering of cowboy vehicles at a major international Concours. Featur...[Read more...]
'For an event like 'The Amelia' a class of beach cars is appropriate and ideal,' said Warner. 'After all, when you take a break from the concours field and sit on the veranda at the Ritz-Carlton with a cool drink in front of you, you stare at the ocean and the beach. I just wish we could find a way to make the beach part of the concours field just this once.' During the La Dolce Vita epoch, the ultimate European playboy's car was neither a Maserati nor a Ferrari. It arrived on sun splashed ...[Read more...]
The LaSalle show cars built for the 1955 General Motors Motorama will be featured at the 18th Annual Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance, March 10, 2013. Presented by Chubb Personal Insurance in partnership with the Bortz Auto Collection, Highland, Park, Illinois, the two cars, an unrestored sedan and the newly restored roadster, will be seen in public for the first time in 57 years. 'Joe Bortz has been on the cutting edge of dream car discoveries for over 40 years', commented Bill Warner, Chai...[Read more...]
DAVID PIPER JOINS AMELIA CONCOURS FERRARI VS COBRA THE BATTLE FOR THE WORLD SPORTS CAR CHAMPIONSHIP SEMINAR David Piper will join Ferrari's Mauro Forghieri, Cobra creator Carroll Shelby and Cobra Daytona Coupe designer Peter Brock for the Cobra vs Ferrari: the Battle For the World Championship for Sports Cars Seminar at 4:00 PM, Friday March 9th in the Talbot Ballroom of the Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island. Trying to cast David Piper in a racing movie would be almost impossible. ...[Read more...]

© 1998-2016. All rights reserved. The material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.