Work Title: Chrysler Concept Cars 1940-1970
Work Author(s): David Fetherston and Tony Thacker
300 color and b/w photographs, 144 pages, Softcover $24.95
Reviewer: Alex Moore
"The Airflow had a lumbering, stupid look, a rhinoceros ugliness," wrote styling historian Paul Wilson. The "streamlined" 1934 Chrysler Airflow was the company's biggest design mistake---the Airflop, as acerbic pundits called it. Even the redesign of the "waterfall" grille didn't stem the tide of poor sales. Clearly, Chrysler needed styling.
In Chrysler Concept Cars 1940-1970, David Fetherston, author of numerous books including American Woody, and Tony Thacker, former editor of Custom Car magazine, present three decades of innovative car designs that followed the Airflow fiasco. The new designs were to represent Chrysler's philosophy that beauty should be the "sheer by-product of engineering integrity." The most significant concept car of the forties was the Golden Arrow. Streamlining was used, but tastefully tempered. The Golden Arrow incorporated a double cowl with visible fender seams, and its art was to later emerge in the Chrysler Imperial parade car.
World War II interrupted car production. Chrysler put aside its trunks and tail lights and began manufacturing such behemoths as the thirty-two ton General Sherman tank with 75mm cannon. After the WWII labor strife, aging management and unimaginative products were chronic problems.
A new management team appeared in the early fifties, and with it a new style strategy called the Forward...