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1954 Plymouth Explorer Concept news, pictures, specifications, and information

Coupe
Coachwork: Ghia
Designer: Luigi Segre
 
In the post-World War II era, the public were very enthusiastic about the so-called Concept Cars of 'Dream Cars.' Virgil M. Exner had been placed as head of Chrysler's Styling department and was responsible for improving Chrysler's rather stodgy late 1940's image. He turned to Carrozzeria Ghia in Turin, Italy, to produce a unique series of one-of-a-kind 'idea cars' on production Dodge, Chrysler and Plymouth chassis. Exner had sourced the work out to these Italian craftsman because they could build these one-of-a-kind cars more creatively and less expensively than any American company.

Exner designed the Chrysler K-310 Series, which was followed by three more Ghia-built Chrysler design studies: the C-200, the SS, and the D'Elegance, as well as the DeSoto Adventurer 1 coupe. Luigi Segre of Ghia was asked to produce a memorable quartet of cars for Dodge called the Firearrows. The Dodge Firearrow III was a precursor of the subsequent De Soto Adventurer II and Plymouth Explorer concept vehicles that followed.

The sleek, wide-mouthed 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 humble 110 horsepower. There was a semi-automatic transmission, twin exhausts that exited through the rear fenders, and wire wheels. The car was distinguished by elegant ivory-hued side reveals, vestigial fins, a metal green finish, a white leather interior with bucket seats and fitted luggage.

Along with giving the public a glimpse into future designs for the company, the Dodge Firearrows, DeSoto Adventurer and Plymouth Explorer significantly helped to rejuvenate the company's image. Chrysler's 'Forward Look' styling of 1955 - 1961 inspired other automakers to return to their drawing boards to revise their models which lacked Chrysler's fresh, Italian-inspired flair.

The car debuted in the May 1954 Motor Trend. Despite its racy good looks, the Explorer was powered by the 110-horsepower, 230 cubic-inch, 6-cylinder engine coupled to a Hy-Drive transmission. The dream cars were the inspiration of Virgil Exner who was hired by Chrysler boss K.T. Keller to reinvigorate the Plymouth brand. Chrysler had discovered that there was considerable interest in 'dream car' design proposals, so much so that GM took its cars on tour, staging the elaborate Motoramas around the country. Throughout the 1950s, Chrysler displayed a string of dozens of cars penned by some of the leading styling houses in Europe.

This particular car was discovered by Joe Bortz of Bortz Auto Collection in the late '80s. It was located in Sweden and was purchased. When the car was shipped from Sweden it had a Jaguar engine, Taylor transmission and rear end. Bortz Auto Collection did not attempt a restoration but passed it on to others. At the time of purchase the car was painted in a metallic gold and was not in running condition.
Concours d'Elegance of America at St. John's : Class Previews
Here is a little preview of two of our special classes for St. John's upcoming show. Featured Designer: Virgil Exner The 2014 Concours d'Elegance of America will honor the work of famed chief designer Virgil Exner with an unprecedented display of Chrysler Corporation's 1955-1961 'Forward Look,' a daring two-pronged styling revolution that changed the look of the American car. First up were the 'jet-age'1955 Plymouths, Dodges, DeSotos, Chryslers and Imperials. Then came the 1957 m...[Read more...]
RARE REUNION: CHRYSLER CONCEPT CARS GATHER AT AMELIA, 2014
Nine rare and important Chrysler Concept Cars from the forties, fifties and sixties will be presented together for the first time at the 19th annual Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance on March 9, 2014. From the two-seat Chrysler Thunderbolt roadster and the dual-cowl Chrysler Newport of 1941 through the radical 1963 Chrysler Turbine car, Amelia's Chrysler Concept Car Class shows the genesis of the styling and engineering philosophy that summoned Chrysler's industry-changing 'Forward Look...[Read more...]
RM Auctions and Sotheby's Stun the Market with Incredible $63 Million 'Art of the Automobile' Sale in New York
• RM Auctions and Sotheby's momentous Art of the Automobile auction generates $62,797,500 of sales in two hours of furious bidding • Records tumble with the historic 1964 Ferrari 250 LM by Carrozzeria Scaglietti achieving $14,300,000 while the stunning 1938 Talbot-Lago T150-C SS Teardrop Cabriolet by Figoni et Falaschi sells for $7,150,000 • 93 percent of all lots sold to an international audience of bidders representing 17 countries • Full results are available online at www.rmauctions.c...[Read more...]
Volkswagen Celebrates 60 Years Of The Karmann Ghia
◾Volkswagen Karmann Ghia prototype shown internally in 1953 ◾Osnabrück-made sportster started the Volkswagen brand's move upmarket Wolfsburg, August 20, 2013 – Thanks to the Karmann Ghia, Volkswagen had a car in the mid-1950s in its line-up that was positioned above the Beetle, allowing the company to appeal to a broader customer base. It is now 60 years since that prototype was shown internally, on the occasion of the Paris Motor Show. The car went into full production in 1955. Today...[Read more...]
Joe Bortz to Host Historic Dream Car Discussion Panel
Dream car collector and historian Joe Bortz has prepared a special treat for participants at the 40th Annual Pontiac-Oakland Club International Convention in St. Charles Illinois, this coming July 17-21. In addition to bringing his four historic Pontiac Dream Cars, he has also assembled a panel, conisisting of two noted designers, a retired engineer and two veteran authors to examine the topic of Pontiac's early concept vehicles. The panel discussion will be held on Friday, July 20th at 1...[Read more...]

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