Friday, January 09, 2009
Dodge Flitewing: Yes, the notion of an 800-hp Viper is pretty "out there." But does it reflect "interests and achievements in Space-Age technology," as did Dodge's claims for its Flitewing concept car? No way! This was the '60s, and the Space Race was in full swing.
The Flitewing's standout feature was its flip-up windows, in place of conventional roll-down glass. When the door was opened, a window-roof canopy automatically cantilevered upward, and vice versa. Inside, the speedometer was made up of 13 individual "elliptical windows, [replacing] the conventional hodgepodge of dials," so said Dodge.
Back then, most Chrysler dream machines were built with engines and drivetrains-actual runners, not the pushmobile mockups many manufacturers displayed in their booths. Today, little has changed. The Flitewing, unveiled in New York's Central Park on Dec. 5, 1961, was no exception, packing a ram-air-inducted 330-hp 383-cu-in. Wedge V-8.
Forty years ago, Chrysler called them "Idea Cars," and placed the Flitewing's value at $125,000. We'll bet the company would've been happy to build this year's Crossfire, Super8 Hemi, Willys, and Powerbox concepts for anything close to that amount.
Thursday, January 08, 2009
Designed for cruising the superhighways of the future, the 1961 Turboflite was so far ahead of its time that it incorporated design features that still have not been introduced - like the glass canopy that rose automatically when either door was opened!
The revolutionary 4-passenger vehicles also featured a large rear spoiler later incorporated in the 'muscle cars' of the sixties, roof-hinged side windows, tail-lamps and turn signals placed behind a single lens stretching across the entire rear of the car, full-volume foam rubber seat cushions, and electroluminescent interior lighting in the door panels. It was designed for use with the latest Chrysler turbine engine.