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9 Reviews
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delivers just what it promises
This is an excellent presentation of the Chrysler concept cars from the Thunderbolt of 1941 to the Rapid Transit Caravan of 1971. Each car has its own chapter and each chapter follows a consistent pattern in presenting information on a car. The sidebars add depth to the chapters and are well integrated.

The authors give just enough background information to...
Published on September 24, 2009 by John Mccarrier

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5 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A plan to save the US auto industry
Why three stars? Nothing's wrong with the writing or the research. The rave reviews are right. This is little known history; this is rare stuff. $25 might seem a bit steep for a quality hardback printed in the US. But it's not. It's a paperback printed in China, and at their labor rate ought to cost about a dime. At least you get a book drenched in rare color photos. But...
Published on November 11, 2008 by Gord Wilson


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delivers just what it promises, September 24, 2009
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This review is from: Chrysler Concept Cars 1940-1970 (Chrysler) (Paperback)
This is an excellent presentation of the Chrysler concept cars from the Thunderbolt of 1941 to the Rapid Transit Caravan of 1971. Each car has its own chapter and each chapter follows a consistent pattern in presenting information on a car. The sidebars add depth to the chapters and are well integrated.

The authors give just enough background information to make the story of each car interesting. Factors like the environment surrounding each car's development, how it related to current and future production models, the stylists involved, what company built the car and why, etc are included for every model.

This should have been a hardbound coffee table sized book so the pictures could have been larger - the amount of text is about right. Another useful addition would have been a single table listing key aspects of every car such as what model it was based on, who did the design, who built the car, the body style, important styling features etc. A family tree of the Ghia cars would also have been useful.

This book is an excellent companion to Peter Grist's recent biography of Virgil Exner since it puts a key part of his career into a wider context.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book, March 11, 2008
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This review is from: Chrysler Concept Cars 1940-1970 (Chrysler) (Paperback)
What a great book! Packed with information I've never read
and photos I've never seen. This is a totally indispensable
book for anyone who loves Chryslers or concept cars. Fantastic!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent historical review of concept cars, April 9, 2008
This review is from: Chrysler Concept Cars 1940-1970 (Chrysler) (Paperback)
This is an excellent historical review of Chrysler's concept cars. I had seen most of them, but not all in the same book. The text was quite interesting, too.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Future Perfect, March 3, 2008
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This review is from: Chrysler Concept Cars 1940-1970 (Chrysler) (Paperback)
While I think Harley Earl and Bill Mitchell were two of the greatest masters in terms of American automobile design contribution, the third within a trimvirate of greatest designers would have to be Virgil Exner. Mr. Exner's work elicited people to engage in and be challenged by elevated design consideration and critical conversation.

In my mind, there was a direct link from Carl Breer to Virgil Exner, and that link most defined Chrysler's character apart from General Motors and Ford sensabilities. Chrysler was willing to take chances! I say this from a layman's perspective, as I have no background in engineering or automobile design. I am a student of what attracts me, and often in a common way. That said, I believe that Chrysler and DeSoto Airflow's of 1934 set Chrysler on a path that led to the remarkable hiring of Virgil Exner in 1949/1950. The combination of Chrysler's engineering emphasis and advanced sheetmetal was defining. Once the Airflow was born, and despite its failure at the box office/showroom, it set in motion a spectacular path of memorable achievement. When Chrysler hired Virgil Exner they redeemed the Airflow! The Airflow put on Chrysler's side of the ledger, if anyone is counting, one of the most recognized and famous automobiles in history! It is almost surprising that it did not sell well for all the celebration of the streamline emphasis of its time, and its proud grill was probably bested only by Rolls-Royce in terms of proud recognition! The Airflow was something for which to be proud!

Chrysler's obsession with advanced engineering was endemic, and complemented by European continental sophistications, where power and style were strongly associated, under Exner. Italian designs were among the most beautiful, historically. Virgil Exner made sure his footing was secure before he stepped too far into truly advanced concepts, but his K-320 and C-200 demonstrated he understood sheetmetal and how to honor the essence of the automobile in romantic ways. He romanced the classic and welcomed the future, stylistically, using new materails and applications. With techology, Chrysler's forte, at his side (and under the hood and elsewhere) Exner shaped designs that moved American culture forward in dramatic fashion. He adopted the best of two worlds, engineering and design, as the essence of Chrysler. Often thrilling, sometimes provocative and controversial, Exner brought WOW to the marketplace and to the driveways of average Americans. No longer were the thrills of great design the entitlements of the wealthy! He brought sophisticated design to the average man! You could hardly be around an Exner product and not notice, note, and discuss it! His work was as interesting as the best architecture or advances in music! He was a great artist who happened to work in sheetmetal! He was Wagner in steel bodies! He wrote an American myth of romanicism and heroicism on the assembly line! He documented his efforts with tail fins, microphone tail lights, grills that referenced radiators, and celebrated the wheel and its circle as one of the greatest contributions of man! He put spare tire, circular, references on rear decks and made them stylistic and sexy contributions to the rear body work! He chose colors associated with Greek myths; replete with symbolism; Athenian bronzes and golds, wholesome whites, sexy blacks, and fiery, tempting reds! He used anodized grills and hubcaps as if to adorn chariots and shields. Mylar stitching was put in fabrics! Crowns were embossed on seatbacks and Adventurers adorned hood medalians; DeSoto Adventurers! Imperial Crowns! Were these the chariots of Gods? No, they were vehicles designed to celebrate American culture, a culture that put ideas and concepts into production lines and into the ownership of kings queens of American households! "Chrysler Concept Cars 1940-1970" offers a special glimpse behind the scenes and into the studios and minds of those that helped create the successes of dream machines of the golden age of American automobile design. What a great book! Too bad it isn't in hardback! Posterity, you know!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My husband loves the book, August 9, 2009
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This review is from: Chrysler Concept Cars 1940-1970 (Chrysler) (Paperback)
I bought this as a gift. My husband is a dyed-in-the-wool MOPAR guy. He knows his MOPARS. He really loves the book. AND he has many car books.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Concept car history, October 26, 2010
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This review is from: Chrysler Concept Cars 1940-1970 (Chrysler) (Paperback)
Chrysler concept cars were the rage for Chrysler. Great to see stories about so many of them in one place.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very nice book, April 28, 2009
By 
Roy H. Schnauss "tech savvy" (jacksonville, florida United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Chrysler Concept Cars 1940-1970 (Chrysler) (Paperback)
The pictures are great and it is a very well written description of the concept cars.
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5.0 out of 5 stars MOPAR OR NO CAR, October 21, 2014
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This review is from: Chrysler Concept Cars 1940-1970 (Chrysler) (Paperback)
Great pictures of great cars.
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5 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A plan to save the US auto industry, November 11, 2008
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This review is from: Chrysler Concept Cars 1940-1970 (Chrysler) (Paperback)
Why three stars? Nothing's wrong with the writing or the research. The rave reviews are right. This is little known history; this is rare stuff. $25 might seem a bit steep for a quality hardback printed in the US. But it's not. It's a paperback printed in China, and at their labor rate ought to cost about a dime. At least you get a book drenched in rare color photos. But you don't. The majority of the photos are black and white, even though Popular Science and other magazines ran color photos of the same cars at the time. The subtitle: 1940-1970 ought also to tip off readers that this book only runs half way through the muscle car era, which ends in the mid-'70s.

So what we have is a book which will appeal to the collectors who drive their '40s and 50s restored showcars to Concours d'Elegance Show and Shines, but not to the casual fan of race day and Super Bees. On the plus side, this book deviates from the standard narrative history with pictures approach, opting rather for a sort of montage of writing, oral history, and anecdote. This makes for choppy reading, but also unearths little known insights buried in the Mopar vaults.

The Foreword, believe it or not, is not written by the authors for this book. It's a speech by designer par excellence Virgil Exner to Chrysler employees. Bits of it seem to have driven the company's turnaround in the '90s, and to have been taken to heart by its designers today. There is another book on this topic which claims that styling is what saved Chrysler. Styling, beginning with the distinctive RAM truck grilles in the '90s, continuing with the PT Cruiser, the rebirth of the 300 series and revival of the Charger and Challenger muscle cars, is what began the too-late turnaround of Chrysler and other American car companies. Although widely misrepresented in the press as being bailed out by the government, Chrysler subsequently fully repaid its loan, and after a hostile takeover by Daimler, revived as Chrysler LLC to create the Challenger.

The muscle car era from the mid '60s to the mid '70s was the pinnacle of modern American car design, and all three companies, after making junk for the intervening two decades, showed in the '90s they could still style a car: Ford with the Mustang, Dodge with the Charger, Chevy with the Camaro and Corvette. It's no accident they took their design cues from their namesakes, awaking from the amnesia of the '80s.

As this book shows, Chrysler had three experimental show cars, Chargers I, II, and III, two of them created before the first production Charger appeared in 1966. These cars could still turn heads today, and the new Challenger grille owes something to the Charger I. All three companies had been turning out experimental concept cars of the future for annual Detroit car shows since their inception, GM most notably in the Mororama exhibit at the World's Fairs. What Chrysler arguably did was simply bring them into the present, retooling its show models as production cars.

My plan to save the economy is simple. Retool the rich boy muscle car designs into well-styled, fuel saving compacts, and stop making all other cars. Instead of giving Oil Companies credits for crushing '60s era muscle cars, as is now done, crush all the behemoths from the 80s instead, and let collectors restore the remaining classic cars from the '60s and '70s. Levy an import "styling tax" on Hondas and Toyotas, whose "designers" have never heard the word "style". Stop making any American cars in China (or any books about American cars), and work to reopen American factories. Style has always been the wild card for Chrysler and American auto makers. Maybe it can save them again.
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Chrysler Concept Cars 1940-1970 (Chrysler)
Chrysler Concept Cars 1940-1970 (Chrysler) by David Fetherston (Paperback - January 4, 2008)
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