This is the story of a long lost concept car that got trapped in the jaws of corporate bureaucracy and economic uncertainty of his era…and that could have been the greatest muscle car ever.
Here’s a photo of the latest design studio before Chrysler’s then burgeoning financial board decided against it by sending that car -of all places- to Cleveland, Ohio to asess its public reception…therefore signaling the company’s long running demise until the federal bailout of 2009-2010 and subsequent acquisition by FIAT.
That served to warn corporate financial officers to use extreme care and common sense while “taking care of business”…
Here’s another design study for the cancelled '75 Cuda that was vaguely inspired by -of all things- the Dodge Charger Daytona sans the rear wing. Notice those dual NACA air intakes for the engine and concave headlight bezels (nope…no retractable headlight housings or “elephant” HEMI motor under the hood/bonnet on this one either).Like the previous example, it uses most of the then-current Gen-2 Barracuda unibody structure to save some serious money.
Muscle cars are cool, but they can’t keep a company the size of Chrysler up on their own.
The reason why Chrysler is owned by italians isn’t because they didn’t go forward on projects like this.
The reason is that they forgot to get their head out of their asses and fill their clients’ needs for well made cars, and that the poorly built stuff of yesteryear wouldn’t fly it anymore in a more and more competitive market.
Ford did get their head out of their asses early enough, by partnering with Mazda to make some very competitive cars and by bringing some models from Europe. There is a reason why, of the big three, they experienced the least problems during the recent economic crisis.
Good point right there; Those pesky, grossly overpaid bean counters are the major culprits -along with the EPA- for screwing up on car manufacturing for decades since…but now the formers are just coming back to their once enthusiastic senses and, therfore, easing on those major project budgets so we can take over
the streets and racetracks with great authority in our powerful chariots…
While you might say the EPA is to blame, all those other manufacturers that competed with Chrysler had to follow those rules, so I don’t see how it’s much of an issue.
And I can tell you that the Challenger (and the various variants that are crazier than the other), where greenlit by management because they knew they would make money with them. The Hellcat specifically is probably for brand imagine, and because they knew that 700hp for 60k would sell well.
OK…The EPA has a small part of the guilt for not implementing those early emissions rulings progressively across the board as our good Lord would have intended…instead of forcing them all over, that is.
Now that i think of it, You’re right about the now-current Challenger; Every single muscle car enthusiast in America is glad that Chrysler’s management decided to approve it and give it some slight styling updates to keep it fresh and relevant.
That was way back in the 50’s; General motors was way too inmersed into the famous “Jet Age” as those concepts prove right there. Fortunately, those were scrapped as jet fuel (and maybe nitromethane) were quite unatainable fuels as well as their sheer impractiality,
There was a fourth Firebird prototype that was far more subdued than their previous attempts -it didn’t include the rocket boosters from the originals- which was later rehashed as the Buick Century Cruiser concept for the 1969 Auto Show season. Sadly this was the only color illustration of the concept that i could find on the web, as it was ultimately sent to the crusher in the early 80’s.
All of them featured some form of “autopilot” capabilities that would have come in handy, just in case the driver went exhausted, groggy or drunk.
I’m wondering what could’ve been if one of those concepts was put into production and sent to the streets…