Chrysler Norseman

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The Chrysler Norseman was a Concept car built in 1956. It was a four-seat Coupe. Although designed by Chrysler Corporation's stylists, actual construction was contracted out to the Italian coach-building firm of Ghia. Ghia already had experience in the construction of low-volume vehicles and one-off prototypes, having built the very successful Lincoln Futura concept the previous year. It took Ghia's craftsmen well over a year to build the complex Norseman.

Construction


Chrysler wanted a fully drivable vehicle, not just a rolling mockup, so all normal systems for the Powertrain, braking, suspension, etc. had to be installed. Much more difficult to fabricate was its unusual Cantilever roof, which was secured to the body only at the rear Pillar (car). There were no side pillars, and at the front the roof rested only lightly on a fully frameless windshield. There was a power Sunroof as well, an advanced feature at the time, and difficult to integrate into a slender roof structure with no structural support at the front. The door glass was also ventless (having no small Quarter glass at the front), a styling theme that would become popular some ten years later.

Fate


The car was to be a featured attraction of Chrysler's auto show exhibit for 1957 and was shipped by Ghia to New York City in July 1956. The car was booked on the ill-fated liner SS Andrea Doria, which was involved in a collision off the coast of Massachusetts and sank, with the loss of forty-six lives and all its cargo.

The Norseman, as a result, was never shown to the public and was never seen by most of the Automotive design who worked on it. It is well known to automotive historians, however, via photographs and specifications. Chrysler never used the cantilevered roof design in any subsequent vehicle.

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