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Aspects of Motoring History # 18

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SLIDER: 1951 Chrysler K-310

The Chrysler K-310 was he first in a series of concepts designed by Virgil Exner (1909-1973) during the 1950s, also known as ‘idea cars’. Exner started his career at General Motors, working for the legendary Harley Earl. A few years later he left GM and worked with Raymond Loewy. He then moved to Studebaker where he created their post-war model range.

Chrysler design in the late 1940s was considered to be too conservative – and they decided to do something about it. Exner was hired by Chrysler as the Head of Advanced Styling Studio. He developed new models and brought about a big change in Chrysler’s attitude to design – with priority being given to the designer. His most notable achievement was the ‘Forward Look’ of the 1950s, characterised by sleek proportions and pronounced fins.

The Chrysler K-310 was built by the Carrozzeria Ghia in Turin. The two-door sports sedan was based on a Chrysler Saratoga/New Yorker platform. It was powered by the new Chrysler Firepower Hemi V8 engine. The K in its name was in honour of Chrysler’s president K. T. Keller (1885–1966); the number indicated a rather optimistic power figure of 310hp.

The K-310 travelled across the USA to showcase the new design direction for the Chrysler Corporation (Chrysler, DeSoto, Dodge, Plymouth and Imperial) and helped to create a new image for the company.

Image courtesy of Guy Loveridge

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