EXNER classic up for auction
the exhaust. Ghia, in Italy, shaped the e asymmetric steel body, which was styled to resemble an offset, Indianapolis roadster.
Although it has the look of a single seater, the passenger seat is lower in the car and can be concealed with a metal tonneau cover.
The emphatically thick, one-piece chrome grille surround established a design motif which would re-appear in various forms on many Chrysler corporation cars including the 1970’s Australian Valiant.
But it is the rear end which caught everyone’s attention. A large integrated chrome cross slashes through the body, with the vertical line of the cross starting at the top of the fin and reaching down below the exhausts outlets. The horizontal line forms the low-slung bumper bar.
It is both elegant and striking and, had they produced it, Chrysler would have had a style icon equal to the split window on the 1963 Corvette.
The XNR was paraded around the US motor show circuit and although Exner wanted it for himself, Chrysler sent it back to Ghia to avoid US customs taxes. Ghia then sold it to a private individual in Geneva, Switzerland, who later sold it to the Shah of Iran.
By 1972 it was in the hands of a Kuwaiti car dealer and then it went to Beirut, just in time for the war in Lebanon.
It was hidden in underground facilities for more than 15 years while war raged and was then slowly restored. It re-emerged in the US in 2011 at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and returns for the auction on August 18. >> David Burrell is the editor of www.retroautos.com.au