Chrysler Norseman Dream Car
- Chrysler Norseman
In 1956, Virgil Exner the head designer of the Chrysler Corporation contracted with Ghia of Turin, Italy to build (at a cost of $150,000) a concept car without an A-Pillar for the 1957 show circuit. The car's fastback roof was made of a special glass by PPG for strength in a rollover. There were 1/4" steel rods in place of the A-Pillars -- which in theory were to break and cause the roof to snap back in the event of a roll over. Body panels were hand formed aluminum over wooden bucks. The leather interior of four bucket seats and futuristic gauge pods -- with some type of luminescent paint on the back of the front seats for a lighting experiment. Power came from a 331 CI Hemi rated at 235hp, with a 2-speed Powerflite transmission, and shifted by push-buttons.
The car was carefully packed into a wooden crate and loaded on the Italian Luxury Liner SS Andrea Doria for shipment to New York. 40 Miles off the coast of Nantucket, the ship collided with the Stockholm. It sank 11 hours later and now rests 235 feet below the surface on its starboard side. Virgil Exner was in the hospital recovering from a heart attack at the time.
The SS Andrea Doria is the "Mt. Everest" of underwater divers -- and many divers have lost their lives diving to it. Only one diver, David Bright, has seen the car (while searching for a lost diver) -- in 1994. He described it as a rusted hulk. Due to the way the ship lies -- he said that he doubts that he or anyone else will ever see the car again. He died in 2006, of cardiac arrest from decompression sickness after a 50th anniversary dive to the ship.
There is a dispute on the colors -- and precious few photos (none in color) exist of the car prior to loading on the Doria. Exner said he ordered the car in Silver paint. Chrysler says that it was to be dark green with green and gray interior. Reporters who saw the car prior to crating, say it was tu-tone blue with red leather and black accents.
Associated Press' coverage of the Norseman was short, simple, and to the point:
The experimental car was built for Chrysler in Turin, Italy, and was being shipped to the United States for public showing. A Chrysler spokesman said Friday the Norseman cost about $150,000, including a year's engineering work. It was insured.Read More