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DeSoto Adventurer II: The most beautiful raspberry red the car world has ever seen


The history of the automobile is full of insane studies that first inspired and then disappeared. This time: an incredibly long car, which 30 layers of paint gave it a magical sheen.

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The shape comes from the Italian design house Ghia, the technology from the former Chrysler group brand DeSoto.

The Adventurer II is considered to be one of the most beautiful concept vehicles ever.

Photo: Barrett-Jackson Auctions

1953 was not a good year for the US auto company Chrysler.

The sales figures plummeted by almost a third, among customers and car enthusiasts the boring design of the vehicles was the main reason for the misery.

And then main competitor General Motors had also brought the Corvette onto the market - a sports car with intoxicating styling.

Something had to be done urgently.

And Chrysler (with the brands Plymouth, Dodge, DeSoto, Chrysler) responded.

Among other things, those responsible sought support from the Italian design studio Ghia from Turin.

Within a few months, Luigi Segre and Giovanni Savonuzzi formed a car on the chassis of a DeSoto Imperial S-19 that continues to appear in "The ten most beautiful car studies of all time" rankings: the DeSoto Adventurer II.

The raspberry-red unique piece (30 layers of lacquer create an almost magical shine) extends over 5.44 meters, but is only 1.41 meters high.

A body like a thick, red line.

Without bumpers, without frills, without tail fins - but with the charisma of a flying object on wheels.

The passenger cabin of the two-seater crouches on the fuselage, in the interior there are black and red leather seats, a chrome-plated cockpit and a large three-spoke steering wheel with a wooden wreath.

The most ingenious detail of the car, however, is the electrically retractable rear window.

At the push of a button, it disappears under the trunk lid, which makes for an airy cabin, but according to reports it is not nearly as drafty and loud as in a convertible.

A brilliant idea that never went into production.

The king disliked the sitting position

Mass technology from the Chrysler shelves was hidden under the beguiling sheet metal. For example the 4.5-liter V8 Hemi engine with an output of 170 hp, the two-speed automatic, the power steering or the hydraulic drum brake system. So it would have been possible to build a car like the Adventurer II in larger numbers, but that never happened. What DeSoto only took over was the name of the concept model: Between 1956 and 1960, the brand manufactured the Adventurer series in various body styles, a typical US family car of the time.

The Adventurer II study had already done its job: from 1954, it was shown at numerous trade fairs and car shows for three years to demonstrate Chrysler's design expertise.

This was also the case in Brussels in 1956, where it caught the attention of the Moroccan King Mohammend V.

Chrysler had been waiting for such an opportunity and sold the one-off for US $ 20,000 to a car dealer in Casablanca, who in turn wanted to pass it on to the king.

But nothing came of the deal: The monarch returned the car after only a week, allegedly because the seat position was too low for him.

Hammer price $ 1.43 million

A little later, a US diplomat in Morocco bought the car, shipped it to the USA, where it changed hands several times and finally - completely restored and with less than 15,000 miles on the clock - at Barrett's in January 2012 Jackson auction in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The hammer fell at $ 1.43 million.

The current owner of the car hardly ever drives the car.

But neither is it simply locked away.

On the contrary: This icon of the legendary “Supersonic” look by Ghia from the 1950s is on permanent loan in the “Gateway Auto Museum” in Grand Junction, Colorado.

An Italian-American dream car that now seems even more as if it had just landed from another universe.

Source: spiegel

All tech articles on 2021-08-01

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