The 1960 Plymouth XNR

1960PlymouthXNRconcept

This is the
1960 Plymouth XNR .

It is a one-of-a-kind
concept car designed
by Virgil Exner, Sr,
who was Chrysler’s V.P.
for styling at the time.

(He also developed the
legendary Dodge Fire Arrow,
and the Plymouth
Explorer Coupe.)

The XNR was builtaxnr2
on a Plymouth
Valiant chassis,
with a steel body
by Carrozzeria Ghia
( of Karmann Ghia fame )

and utilized a fiberglass nose.

It used a 170 cubic inch slant-six
power plant making about 260 HP,
with a four barrel carb and high performance cam.

axnr3It could handle sharp corners
at speed with ease, and was
capable of just over 150 MPH.

After several years on the show car circuit,

it somehow ended up in the
hands of the Shah of Iran,

….and then spent the rest
of the century in Beirut,
surviving the Lebanese
Civil War in a secret
warehouse.

Amazing, but true.

It was brought back to the United States
for restoration in 2009, and was shown
at the Amelia Island Concours
d’Elegance in 2012.

It sold that year for
just under 1 million dollars –
– $935,000 .

Looking at the styling of
this beautiful car
makes me ask one
simple question —-

Why can’t today’s
automotive designers
come up with cutting edge
ideas like this today ??

Why does every car
on the road lookaxnr
like every other car on the road?

Has automotive styling gone
the way of the dinosaurs?

Hmmmm?

Well,
if so,
what’s next ?

.

a1

.

HOY!

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The 1960 Imperial

Sometimes deciding on a
vintage car project comes
down to figuring out if you
really want to end up
driving a car that every
other car enthusiast else
has/wants, or one that’s
a little more unique,
and downright cool.

After all –
coolness isn’t a virtue
that’s usually found in
mundane or everyday
stuff –
one of the factors that
distinguishes ‘cool’ is
individuality.

Consider the domestic-made
luxury offerings on offer from
1960:  mostly Lincolns, and
Cadillacs.

I certainly wouldn’t argue
with a fully restored 1960
Lincoln Continental,
although it’s a bit stodgy
looking and murder to
get parts for – (the later
1960’s models are better)
or much better yet, a 1960
Cadillac Eldorado Brougham
— BUT –
you’ll see a lot more
of these cars than you will
our chosen 1960 coolest car
– the 1960 Imperial
(made by Chrysler).

The corporate geniuses at
Chrysler, who had marketing
an Imperial since 1926,
decided in 1956 to make
“Imperial” it’s own line –
sorta like Cadillac is to
General Motors, or Lincoln
is to Ford.

This had little to do with
making the car better,
although for a while,
Imperial actually was
built on a different platform
and had other distinctive
qualities –
and it was advertised
“America’s Most Carefully-
Built Car”.

1960 was it’s best year
for styling and quality-
yet, it was outsold by
Cadillacs by a staggering
8 to 1.

Yow.

But that means:
if you have one –
you have one of only
17,500 or so manufactured.

Yes, so,
the makings of cool,
certainly.

Engine-wise, alas, no hemi’s
were available in Imperial
that year.

However, the virtual bulletproof
413 Wedge with a four barrel
carb was the engine of choice –
(the ONLY choice, actually)
making 350 horsepower with
the also mandatory/also
bulletproof three-speed
A-466 Torque-Flight automatic
transmission with push button
control on the left side dash.

( I personally love those
push button automatics )

The torsion bar suspension
doesn’t wear quite as well,
rust between the rear quarter
panels is common, and the
drum brakes weren’t all that
wonderful, of course.

Still, a very pretty car, and
a predictable rebuild for
the most part – remembering
that there are several
year-specific features like
the nose and grill- and the
limited availability of
reproduction parts.

Vrrrrrrrooooooom.