In 1962, Budd created a prototype car called the XR-400 (The R stood for Rambler). This convertible design based on the two-door Ambassador was elegant and clean, but it would be rejected by AMC.
The Budd Corporation was founded in 1912 by Edward R. Budd and would grow over time to become one of the biggest companies in American transportation. Their work included contract designs and construction of rail cars including city trolleys and high-speed rolling stock. Their business would further grow to include aircraft manufacturing and ship building. In the early 1930s, Edward Budd patented a unitary body/chassis construction for cars. Later, the company would design and develop automobiles based on production car for various clients.
After pitching a design to Ford for the Thunderbird, the company switched their efforts to American Motors. Budd and AMC had a history; Budd had supplied much of AMC's tooling and parts. They had collaborated with AMC on designs and the past, and the XR-400 was to be a platform to showcase the company's capabilities.
The XR-400 was a 2+2 sports car convertible derived from the two-door sedan version of the new 112-inch wheelbase. Since the new platform was net yet in production, Budd built the prototype from a two-door 1962 Ambassador riding on a 108-inch wheelbase. Besides just exterior changes, the mechanical features were updated to cope with the new designs. The engine was lowered by two inches, the radiator was lowered by 3.5-inches, and there were new rear engine mounts, pedal box, and gas tank. The fan blades was shortened, as was the oil-filler neck. The exhaust system was reshaped and the batter, header, and air cleaner were re-located.
Sadly, the XR-400 would remain a prototype.
By Daniel Vaughan | Aug 2010
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