It's a pity 1950s Chrysler concept cars -- such as the sleek Chrysler K-310, the lovely DeSoto Adventurer, and the burly Chrysler Falcon -- didn't make it onto America's roads. It's easy to imagine how pleasing they would have been.
History must forever record the unfortunate 1989-1990 TC by Maserati as Chrysler's first production "sports car." Which is a real shame considering the hot Dodge Viper that followed it -- or, for that matter, the many sports and GT concept cars Chrysler cooked up in the 1950s.
Virgil Exner headed Chrysler styling in those days. He's perhaps best remembered as instigator of the 1955 and 1957 "Forward Look" cars that turned the company's red ink to black by bringing real excitement to its products for the first time in decades.
But his influence was apparent much earlier. Teaming up with Italy's renowned Carrozzeria Ghia, Exner created a series of glamorous "idea cars," as Chrysler called them, starting with the four-door Plymouth XX-500 of 1950. Though not often appreciated, some of his sportier concepts came close to reaching dealerships.
Whatever their ultimate fate, 1950s Chrysler, Dodge, DeSoto, and Plymouth concept cars remain among the best examples of Exner's inimitable legacy. As a designer he was as unique as any of his creations and the time in which he flourished -- a younger, more innocent age we'll never see again.
This article will explore development of these 1950s concept cars, including what made them special and why they never made it into production. Let's begin with the K-310 and C-200 concept cars of 1951 and 1951. Go to the next page to learn more.