Concept Cars

1995 Chrysler Atlantic Concept Car

1995 Chrysler Atlantic Concept Car

During the 1990s, Chrysler was trying out some new and interesting ideas. They were battling with Daimler-Benz at the time, and were having some major issues  with their product lines. As such, the company wanted to do something bold. The 1995 Chrysler Atlantic Concept Car was the ticket to grabbing new buyers – or so they thought. Read on to learn more about this unique piece of automotive history.

1995 Chrysler Atlantic Concept Car

They Designed It WHERE?

The Atlantic was considered to be a ‘retro concept’, and was inspired by the Bugatti Atlantique. The idea for this car was literally first conceived when Bob Lutz, president of Chrysler at that time, began to sketch out his ‘dream car’ on a napkin in 1993. Tom Gale, the chief designer, also contributed to the design after the initial sketch was done. The doodles of a bored Chrysler president actually came to life, and became a real concept car. Oh, to live his life for a day!


The Atlantic was, as is obvious to gearheads, very reminiscent of 1930s cars. The design was meant to be elegant, opulent, and luxurious. Some of the details were also borrowed from the Talbot-Lago T150SS Coupe of 1938, so this car was certainly a retro concept.  The shape and design were meant to be that of an elegant, yet sporty coupe. This is essentially what James Bond would have driven if he lived in the 1930s.  The color they chose, shown below, is positively perfect for this car. I cannot imagine liking that color on a lot of other cars, but on this car it is spot on!

1995 Chrysler Atlantic Concept Car

Powered By WHAT??

To keep with the idea of a 1930’s luxury car, the folks at Chrysler decided to keep it purely retro, and custom designed a Straight 8 engine. This meant that instead of the more modern and traditional V pattern, with 4 cylinders on each side, the cylinders were all in a line, much like the modern 4 cylinder engine. To accomplish this feat, they had to do some custom engineering, and do a whole lot of digging through the archives to figure out what worked (and what didn’t) when it came to designing an inline 8 cylinder engine.


To get a Straight 8, which had not been produced in decades, they had to figure out what they had already in production that could be modified to create this new engine.  As it turns out, they were able to use two of the curently produced (at the time) 4 cylnder Dodge Neon engines.  By combining two of these engines, doing a lot of homework, and staying up many late nights, they were able to achieve 4.0L displacement  and a respectable 360 horsepower.

This engine would push this little car around quite nicely, and it gave the car an elegant yet respectable exhaust. The car also used the Chrysler Autostick automatic transmission, which is similar to the Porsche  tiptronic. This meant that essentially the car had what is sometimes called a ‘clutchless manual’. The driver could select gears like a manual transmisison, but did not require the three pedal setup. The rims were – at that time – considered massive, as they were 21 inches in the front and 22 inches in the back. In 1995, that was absolutely unheard of, as 17 was considered big at that time!

Concept Car

Fate Had Its Way

As cool as it looks, the 1995 Chrysler Atlantic Concept Car just wasn’t practical to build for production. The engine and other technology used in the concept were untested, and the cost was rather high to build. As a result, the project was cancelled, and the car never made it to production. However, the 1995 Chrysler Atlantic Concept Car shown here is so popular that it still makes the occasional appearance at car shows.

If you thought the Atlantic looked familar, you may be correct, as it is regularly shown in advertising and on some packaging of automotive products such as car wax. Let me know in the comments below what you think. Would you buy this car, if it were offered? Do you like the 1930s design? I think it is way cool, and I would totally buy it!  By the way, if you love muscle cars and Mopars, you should check out my blog buddy Tim and read all about his monstrously cool and totally drool worthy Hellcat!  It is an interesting read!


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