Skip to main content

Chrysler K-310

Chrysler K-310 1950s American classic concept car

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!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

FN Four

In terms of breakthroughs in the history of motorcycling, there cannot be many to rival the first in-line four engine. Belgium was the birthplace of this landmark layout. FN was the much-to-be-thanked manufacturer.The FN Four first hit the highway in 1911. It produced 4bhp. That, from a 491 cc capacity. At the time, such figures described state-of-the-art technology. Top speed for the FN Four was 40mph. Not bad - for an 8-valve inlet-over-exhaust set-up. Oh, it was air-cooled.The FN Four was light - tipping the scales at 165lb dry. Not only the motor, but the chassis, too, was avant-garde. It featured an early form of telescopic forks. A new-fangled clutch - and 2-speed 'box - only added to the FN Four's slick box of tricks. Solid shaft-drive output the power. Who, then, designed this visionary vintage? You will not hear the name Paul Kelekom shouted from motorcycling's rooftops. But, you should - for it was he who fashioned the FN Four. In so doing, he ki…

Gilera Saturno

Gilera was a big player in the realm of 1950s motorbike manufacturing. After that, the firm met with mixed fortunes. Gilera's Fifties flagship - the Saturno - was launched in '46. Rolled out in 'Sport', 'Touring', and 'Competition' modes, the Saturno would sell well for years.The Saturno 'production racer' was a hit both on road and track. Competitive for many seasons, it remained so for some time after its production run finished - at the fag-end of the '50s.In road-going form, the Saturno stayed tethered to the tarmac - thanks to its telescopic forks, and vertical rear shocks. Indeed, it would gain a reputation as a 'performance bike' of its day. Towards the end, Gilera was linked with Piaggio, Vespa - and the scooter scene, generally. Illustrious though those names still were, Gilera's glory days were behind it. Bikes like the Saturno, though, still shone a light for past success.

NSU Ro80

The styling of the NSU Ro80 was ahead of its time. At first glance, masses of glass were straight out of science-fiction. Closer inspection revealed the gently rising line of its profile - giving it a low front, high back stance - which would influence automotive design for years to come. The 5-seater body was supremely aerodynamic for a saloon car - making cruising at speed a breeze. So flawless was it outwardly that it was hardly touched in ten years of production. Just the tail-lights were modified, on later versions.The Ro80's handling was equally impressive. FWD - and precision power-steering - kept it perfectly pointed. The long-travel strut suspension soaked up bumps. High-efficiency disc brakes were fitted all round. The 3-speed semi-automatic transmission swept through the gears with aplomb. Top speed was a sound 112mph.But, of course, nothing is perfect. The Ro80 was powered by a twin-rotor Wankel engine. Unfortunately - in a rush to get the car into showroom…