Chrysler Concept Car Brief: 1960 Plymouth XNR

The 1960 Chrysler XNR is a rare and exceptional concept car that holds a special place in automotive history and it will be at Historic Festival 41, along with nearly a dozen other rare Chrysler concept cars, Aug. 31-Sept. 4 at Lime Rock Park.


Unveiled at the 1960 New York Auto Show, the XNR was designed as a one-off, bespoke creation showcasing Chrysler’s design and engineering capabilities. It was a brainchild of Chrysler’s head stylist, Virgil Exner, and his team, who wanted to create a unique and futuristic sports car to captivate the public’s imagination.Also called the XNR 500, the car is an open roadster with some asymmetric features, and was proposed as a sporty addition to the Plymouth model lineup, and as competition for the Chevrolet Corvette. The XNR’s “Slant-6” engine is just one of 12 built to “NASCAR” specifications and is capable of 250 hp. Exner’s interest in photography and photographic equipment is reflected in some features of the XNR. The glass covers over the dash gauges mimic camera lenses, the glove box insert was removable and could be used as a camera case.


The Chrysler XNR featured an eye-catching design with aerodynamic lines and a distinct asymmetrical profile. The car’s most prominent feature was its singular “monoposto” cockpit, which placed the driver in the center of the vehicle, flanked by two headrest fairings. This design approach was inspired by Formula One race cars of the era and aimed to provide a thrilling and immersive driving experience. The XNR also featured independent front suspension and a rear live axle, ensuring a balanced and engaging driving dynamics.


The XNR’s design incorporated several innovative elements, including a retractable rear spoiler that rose automatically at high speeds to enhance stability. The car’s styling cues, such as the rocket-like rear fins and slim tail lamps, reflected the futuristic design trends of the 1960s, making it a standout and unforgettable concept car of its time.


Despite generating significant interest and acclaim, the Chrysler XNR remained a one-off concept and never went into full-scale production. However, it became an iconic representation of Chrysler’s design prowess and contributed to the development of other Chrysler models in the years to come. The XNR resides in a local collection, and will be loaned to Lime Rock Park over Labor Day Weekend.


Fans will have the opportunity to see this rare XNR, along with nearly a dozen more Chrysler concept concept cars displayed throughout the weekend with a special fan-viewing staging along the Sam Posey Straight for Sunday in the Park: The Lime Rock Concours over Labor Day weekend.


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