18 Replies to “The Wild and Crazy Times of the Chrysler Ghia Plainsman”

  1. AvatarSobro

    This looks nothing like my Dad’s ’56 Dodge poverty spec wagon with the push button transmission. I do wish the old Dodge had those awesome (vent?) levers below the gauge cluster.

    Reply
  2. AvatarJohn C.

    Interesting that the concept car had to leave the USA to avoid an onerous duty. One of the more sensible restrictions trying to curtail the big three from sluffing off their design and construction work to then low wage Italy. It had the added benefit of getting the car out and about around the world and avoid just gathering dust in some museum. Great story Billie, thanks

    Reply
    • AvatarRonnie Schreiber

      While the low cost (and not having to deal with the UAW) of offsourcing the job to Italy, which was still rebuilding after WWII, was one reason for Chrysler using Ghia to fabricate its concept cars in the 1950s, according to the Featherston and Thacker book on Chrysler’s “idea” cars, Exner and company were highly impressed by the quality of the work done by Ghia.

      Too bad about the Chrysler Norseman that went down with the Andrea Doria, though.

      Reply
      • AvatarJohn C.

        Italy was low cost and clearly competent. However if the welfare of Americans is your countries priority, then putting up hurdles seems very sensible. Notice how when costs naturally rose and the Italian design genius aged out to be replaced by international riff raff, how one by one they failed.

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        • AvatarCJinSD

          What was really accomplished? Chrysler used Ghia for prototypes and show cars, in addition to the Turbine. Anything that reached series production was made in the USA, as the economics of making the cars in Italy only extended to hand-crafted vehicles. It was still more economical for US car companies to make show cars abroad, even accounting for having to destroy most of them to escape onerous duties on cars that nobody in the UAW was qualified to build anyway.

          Reply
          • AvatarJohn C.

            The Nash Metropolitan style outsource was probably what was feared by the government. Such a deal would have been a big score for one of the Italian style houses and their labor cost would have been even lower than Austin whose pound was still a little more sound. A while back Tom told us about the Italian compact motorcycle that Harley put their name on in this period.

          • Avatar-Nate

            FWIW, Nash tried FIAT for the Metropolitan project, the chassis they came up with was far to weak and under powered for American use .

            The Met’s body style was 100 %American penned .

            -Nate

      • AvatarScout_Number_4

        Formally requesting someone (Tom, Billie…Ronnie??) tell the story of the Chrysler Norseman in proper RG fashion.

        Reply
  3. Avatarstingray65

    Perhaps it is just me, but the first thoughts that came into my mind upon seeing the name and history of this car was the genocide of native American lives and culture as European settlers (aka plainsman – but what about the women?) stole land while moving west across the continent. Then because greedy Chrysler didn’t want to pay their “fair share” to Uncle Sam, the car is moved to Cuba an island nation exploited by Western colonialism and capitalists. Then to avoid being taken for the Cuban people by their heroic savior Fidel Castro (just ask Bernie Sanders), the car is stealthily moved down under to another land of aboriginal genocide and exploitation at the hands of greedy English settlers. And with a 440 V-8 this bugger burns enough fuel to warm the planet and drown polar bears. With such a history, this car needs to be immediately destroyed so I can feel safe again – where is BLM and Antifa when you need them?

    Reply
  4. Avatarhank chinaski

    The Wagon Mafia approves, but why in tarnation are those jet thrusters pointing forward?
    The console and switchgear are quite fetching. A 5 year old version of me longs to fly it to Mars.

    Reply
  5. AvatarRonnie Schreiber

    I seem to recall that the Plainsman was in Joe Bortz’s collection of Motorama and other ’50s concept cars and that he ex-wife ended up with it after a contentious divorce.

    It’s hard to imagine the same styling studio produced this montrosity of a hot mess and the stunning Norseman.

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  6. Avatar-Nate

    Wow ~ wild, over the top 1950’s Chrysler styling, I love it .

    Glad to see it survived and is restored .

    -Nate

    Reply
  7. Avatarsgeffe

    Is there a vent up on the roof to draw air into the back, I wonder?

    If nothing else, the wind noise from that styling detail must have sounded like a hurricane at highway speed!

    Reply

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