The cars that gather in Monterey, Calif. every August are some of the rarest and most beautiful in the world. That will again be the case this year, as RM Auctions will sell the car that could’ve led to Chrysler’s Corvette-killer, the 1960 Plymouth XNR concept.
The concept was penned by automotive designer Virgil Exner Sr., who lent the phonetics of his last name to the car after Ford took the original Falcon moniker. The radical XNR was built on a modified Plymouth Valiant chassis and given an asymmetrical styling treatment. The driver-side hood got a long, bulging scoop that flowed into a small curved windshield. The passenger seat rider had to make do with only a flat, upright piece of glass to deflect wind. The driver-centric theme continued with an offset fin in the back, which was met with a horizontal chrome bar in the rear to form a unique, lopsided cross shape. Exner was influenced by the Indy racers of the day, and also drew inspiration from sports car racers like the Jaguar D-Type – a fact that’s immediately apparent in the XNR’s asymmetrical fin design. For power, the XNR employed a Valiant-sourced 2.8-liter slant-six modified to NASCAR specifications – good for 250 hp and 208 lb-ft of torque.
So where’s the one-off prototype been all these years? After Chrysler execs vetoed production of the XNR, it was sent back to Italian coachbuilder Ghia, which originally assembled the car. From there, it changed hands between several notable foreign collectors before finally being turned over to RM Restoration in Paris in 2008. The car was fully restored in March, 2011, and was displayed for the first time in the U.S. since the 1960s at last year’s Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. Now, the car will go to the highest bidder when it crosses the auction block at RM’s Monterey sale on August 17-18. No auction estimate has been assigned to the XNR, but considering its one-off status and sharp, jet-age styling, we’d guess it’s for high-rollers only.
Source: RM Auctions, Motor Trend Classic