With all the attention lavished on new Jeep models, the matte-copper Chrysler 300S Turbine Concept seemed like an afterthought. The car pays homage to the original Chrysler Turbine concept, which bowed 50 years ago in 1963 with a real jet-turbine engine. Chrysler has two of the original Turbine concepts in its Detroit archive, but simply didn’t have space to show them on its stand here at Detroit.
Today’s Turbine Concept is simply a 300S sedan — 3.6-liter V-6 engine, eight-speed automatic transmission — dressed up to look like the original. The copper paint matches the 1963 car, albeit it’s matte rather than gloss. The big chrome grille, 22-inch deep-dish wheels, chrome mirrors, and black roof all provide stark contrast against the bright paintjob. The headlights and taillights are tinted, while the interior is mostly identical to an ordinary Chrysler 300S.
The car itself isn’t headed for production, although some of the individual components like the 22-inch wheels may end up on some future special-edition Chrysler 300. “Everybody loves the wheels,” says Chrysler head of large car and people-mover marketing Bruce Velisek.
As for whether matte paint will ever be used on a production Chrysler, Velisek is cagey. While he’d love to see such color schemes on mass-market cars, Velisek says that matte paint jobs are too fragile and don’t meet Chrysler’s warranty or durable requirements. “It’s a beautiful look,” he says, but Chrysler fears customers would ruin the paint by running cars through a car wash. Chrysler will investigate tougher matte finishes, so Velisek says “stay tuned” in case the paints reach production in a few years’ time.