Bryan's Wheels

1955 Chrysler Ghia Streamline X Gilda Concept Car

1955 Chrysler Ghia Streamline X Gilda Concept Car


Fellow gearheads, we have covered many interesting concept cars lately, including the 1930’s Stout Scarab   and the 1958 Ford Nucleon concept car . This car is equally cool, and is totally 1950s. It has wings, fins, and a jet engine, so what’s not to love? Read on to learn about this crazy 1950s Chrysler concept car.

1955 GHIA


Crazy Car

Why is it that all the automotive designers of the 1950’s wanted to use such wacky power sources? If you are a regular reader of this blog, you remember the 1958 Ford Nucleon with its unbelievable power source. This car is also one that had crazy design ideas incorporated into the car. First of all, the name is a bit of a mouthful. The 1955 Chrysler Ghia Streamline X “Gilda” obviously has a name that would be difficult to sell. Can you imagine if someone asked you what  type of car you had?  1955 Chrysler Ghia Streamline X “Gilda” is a bit long for a name.

The name itself came  from a 1946 Rita Hayworth movie. During the European marketing campaign for the 1946 movie “Gilda,” actress Rita Hayworth was given the nickname “La Vedette Atomique,” or “the Atomic Starlet” for her sleek lines and dangerous appeal. I think this name is quite fitting, in both cases.


Jet Powered, Baby!

The concept car was designed by Giovanni Savonuzzi, from the Italian coach builder and car design firm Ghia. You may know the name from the famous Volkswagen Karmann Ghia car of the 1970s. The first design feature that catches the eye is that the car was designed to use a gas turbine engine, The rear exhaust is certainly eye-catching, and looks a bit like the original Batmobile, but I would not want to stand within 10 feet of that super hot exhaust that would blast out of it! Luckily, the guys at Chrysler figured that out ,and made the prototype with a 1.5L 4 cylinder traditional gas engine instead. The entire car was designed around the idea of being a jet powered car, however there was no way anyone would have allowed that on the streets.


Hip 1950’s Design

The second design feature that catches the eye is the fins. This screams 1950s design, and I think the tail fins and taillights look really cool. I wish someone had produced a car that had  this actual rear fin setup. The sleek lines and the sloping trunk area are very appealing to me. I can imagine this car would have sold quite well if they put a big V8 in it instead of the jet engine. The interior was decked out with tons of gauges for monitoring jet exhaust temperature and other related functions. I don’t know why they stacked the gauges all along the dashboard, as it would be difficult to monitor the gauges if they are on the passenger side. I think that would have been a design flaw that could have been better thought out.

1955 Chrysler Ghia Streamline X Gilda Concept Car



Fate

Despite having the appeal of Rita Hayworth and a gas powered jet turbine engine, the car never made it to production. Safety issues, cost of production, and regulatory challenges made this one impossible to make. The idea was scrapped, the design was forgotten about, and the prototype was handed over to the Henry Ford Museum. It sat there for decades until it  was then sold to a California resident a few years ago,. The  1955  Ghia Streamline Concept Car prototype, which was shown in this post, is as far as this car ever went. It still tours the show car circuit, so you could possibly see it in person. It may even come up for sale again at some point, so keep an eye on the auctions!

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