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Mario's Tribute to 1955 Chrysler Falcon Ghia

1 The 1955 Chrysler Falcon Ghia is a two-seater roadster concept car designed by Virgil Exner and built by Chrysler and Ghia.

2 Many of the ideas and styling elements used in the Falcon would be used in other Chrysler designs.

3 The 1955 Chrysler Falcon has a two-barrel downdraft Stromberg carb 276 cu in DeSoto V8 rated at 170 hp with 255 lb⋅ft of torque, mated to a 2-speed PowerFlite automatic transmission.

4 Chrysler’s Powerflite transmission had the convenience of auto shifting but at a price. With no parking gear, the driver would have to engage the emergency brake to keep the Falcon from rolling away.

5 Designed to be the basis for a competitor to the Ford Thunderbird and Chevy Corvette, the Chrysler Falcon was never put into production.

6 To this day, there are many who feel this very capable roadster, with its classic styling and solid performance, should have been put into production.

7 Those who actually drove the 1955 Chrysler Falcon gave it rave reviews. The steering was especially crisp and precise for a vehicle of its time in 1955.

8 Power brakes, power steering and electric windows. All the controls, outside of the steering and pedals, were operated using a short series of levers in four instruments on the lower dash.

9 The 1955 Chrysler Falcon is a beautiful example of form styling, using shape and contour instead of glitz and accouterments to create timeless styling.

10 The 1955 Chrysler Falcon rides on wire wheels with simulated knock-off hubs.

11 The large “egg crate” grille has aged well in terms of public perception, it’s prominent but not gaudy.

12 The Chrysler Falcon has exposed side exhaust pipes which would not be used in a Chrysler production car until the Dodge Viper in 1992.

13 The Chrysler Falcon was designed to be a gentleman’s car, not a teenager’s speed machine.

14 Inside, there are adjustable bucket seats, leather upholstery, and concave inner door panels to offer a roomier cabin.

15 In 1955 Chrysler was doing well, which probably explains why it didn’t throw its hat in the ring with the Falcon. The company’s lack of vision would come back to bite it a couple of years later.

16 The hood furthers the European appeal, having the gently rounded look of a classic estate sloop. The Falcon measures 182 inches long, stands 51 inches tall, and has a 105 in wheelbase.

17 It has a manual top that stows neatly behind the single seat. The louvers ahead of the doors are a nice touch, accenting its sporty nature without making it look like a sports car.

18 The Falcon’s styling is “European” in the best sense of the word. It’s classic. It has fins, but they’re proportional to the rest of the vehicle.

19 One issue is the lack of headroom when the top is up. This problem would have been corrected had the Falcon ever seen mass production.

20 With the 276 cubic-inch overhead valve Hemi V8 engine, the car has a top speed of about 115 mph. Zero-to-sixty took about 10 seconds.

21 The Falcon was meant to be something in between a sports car and a daily driver. Exner designed the specifications in 1952-53 and the Italians at Ghia completed the bodywork design in 1954.

22 The Chrysler Falcon is a concept that Virgil Exner conceived of as an “everyman’s car” to compete with the Ford Thunderbird and Chevy Corvette without being an expensive vehicle.

23 Shown in 1955 the Falcon was a pre-production prototype. Nothing about the car was fanciful or unrealistic, it was labeled as the company’s latest in the Forward Look line of show cars.

24 It was ready for production, but disagreements between Design and Engineering at Chrysler kept the car from entering production.

25 Management and Engineering argued that they already had a 1956 Chrysler 300, and another sports car would be redundant.

26 Mostly, however, the issue was about curbing the growing power Exner was exuding over the company’s direction.

27 Despite a ready to build design, the Chrysler Falcon was an innovative car for the time. The Falcon name was eventually to label a small, boring sedan from Ford instead of a beautiful car from Chrysler.

28 Acceleration was good for the time, with a ten second zero-to-sixty sprint, a 17.5 quarter mile (at 82 mph), and a top speed of 115 mph. Gas mileage was quoted at about 13 city, 16 highway.

29 The 1955 Chrysler Falcon is beautiful from all angles. A simple, European mustachio fender curls across the bottom of the vehicle’s face.

30 Upswept rear fenders, and fender louvers. The spring-balanced manually operated convertible top was covered completely by a folding lid.

31 From the side, the fender runs across to begin curving downwards when it meets the door, and the belt line follows through to a gentle downward slope underneath the rear quarter.

32 The one-piece curved windshield adds more class and its stainless-steel edging smooths into the rag top which can fold away out of sight behind the seats.

33 Ghia actually built three Chrysler Falcons though only one is still around. The Original Black shown here (which Exner owned), a Blue, and a Red. Only the Blue one remains today.

34 Three Chrysler Falcon concept cars were built by Chrysler’s Advanced Styling Studio, each with a 105-inch wheelbase and 170-horsepower DeSoto Hemi V-8 but only one remains today.

35 The Alfa-like base-shaped grille with grid lattice work and Chrysler Crown above is beset by the inset headlamp bezels and jutting fender curves.

36 The original Chrysler Falcon shown here was finished in black and went to Exner. It has gone missing and wasn't recorded as destroyed. It may be stored in an unknown warehouse.

37 The second one, a light blue example shown here, wound up in Joe Bortz's car collection Highland Park, IL in 1987 where it remains today.

38 The third one - reportedly painted red - is missing.

39 The 1955 Chrysler Falcon appears in the 1957 film “Four Girls In Town” Starring George Nader, Julie Adams, Marianne Cook, Elsa Martinelli and Gia Scala.

40 I added the full-length movie to the video section if you wish to see.

41 Car scene is at 1hr 15min in the movie. Front view.

42 Car scene is at 1hr 15min in the movie. Rear view.


Video and audio clips

1955 Chrysler Falcon Ghia


1955 Chrysler Falcon Ghia


1955 Chrysler Falcon Ghia


1955 Chrysler Falcon unveiled in NY


1957 Four Girls In Town (Complete Movie)



Related

More Cars of the 1950s
More Chrysler Coverage

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Comments

Mario on Jul 5, 2023 said:

The 1955 Chrysler Falcon is a two-seater roadster concept car designed by Virgil Exner and built by Chrysler and Ghia, Italy. It has a two-barrel downdraft Stromberg carb 276 cu in DeSoto V8 rated at 170 hp mated to a 2-speed PowerFlite automatic transmission.

It was designed to be the basis for a competitor to the Ford Thunderbird and Chevy Corvette. The Chrysler Falcon was never put into production. The 1955 Chrysler Falcon is a beautiful example of form styling, using shape and contour instead of glitz and accouterments to create timeless styling designed to be a gentleman’s car, not a teenager’s speed machine.

Ghia built three Chrysler Falcons though only one is still around. The Original Black (which Exner owned), a Blue, and a Red one. Only the Blue one remains today and is on display at Joe Bortz's car collection in Highland Park, IL.

The Original Black 1955 Chrysler Falcon appeared in the 1957 film “Four Girls In Town” starring George Nader, Julie Adams, Marianne Cook, Elsa Martinelli and Gia Scala. Enjoy! Mario.

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