design-driven auto/moto mix!

Friday, 28 September 2018

Chrysler K-310

Chrysler K-310

The K-310 was a Chrysler / Ghia collaboration. It came about through Fiat. They had approached Chrysler - in the hope that the American giant could help streamline their manufacturing process. Chrysler, though, spotted a reverse case scenario. They could benefit from Italian design acumen. Ghia and Pininfarina - two of the great Italian houses - duly built and submitted bodywork. Ghia got the gig! Their brief had been the Plymouth XX-500 saloon. While slightly underwhelmed by the styling, Chrysler loved the craftsmanship. And the budget! Ultimately, Chrysler would be doing the design work. But, those sort of coach-building skills would prove invaluable!

Over to Virgil Exner! He was Chrysler's chief designer. In short order, he came up with the K-310. Drafts and scale models were dispatched to Ghia HQ, in Turin. They sent back a fully-fledged prototype. Chrysler were billed just $20,000. Exner was pleased. So, too, was Kaufman Keller. He was president of Chrysler ... and the man who put the 'K' into K-310. Exner's sculpted lines - and low profile - had been brought to shining life by Ghia. The car was laden with new features. Most notably, the enlarged wheels were highlighted by whitewall tyres - and generously-sized arches. The front-end was adorned by a diminutive 'egg-crate' grille. At the back, the shape of the spare wheel embellished a molded boot lid.

This was innovative design-work. In one respect, though, the song remained the same ... the booming baritone from the car's V8 engine! As ever, Virgil Exner had gone out on a design limb. In so doing, Chrysler had shown it could compete with the best of them, stylistically!

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