1950's Ghia ChryslersDel Stewart

In 1938 Chrysler introduced the Airflow Project, which was, let's say, not a giant success.  Sure, they were innovative and streamlined, but in the end they were cars designed by engineers and not by artists.  They were ugly, so ugly that cats kept trying to bury them.  Ugly.  Ugh-ly.  U-G-L-Y ugly. 

Unsurprisingly, they didn't sell very well, and Chrysler struggled with the legacy of that failure for almost twenty years.  

Near the end of that time, gurgles of rebellion against the engineers could be heard, especially in its concept cars designed by Ghia.  Graceful lines, correct proportions, a whole set of car designs, pictured here identified in their captions, that makes me ache that none went into production.  

While there's usually a pretty good reason that concepts don't go into production—when that super cool gullwing door opens in a rainstorm and your car fills up with water you begin to understand—history is littered with those that should have. Car makers, in my opinion, have never understood how important the flagship model is. It doesn't really matter if it's a top seller or not, it still has value as a marketing and branding project.  Those beautiful cars that do sell are being driven around making your brand look better. Plus a timeless design doesn't go out of style.  Starting twenty or so years after production they start to become classics, floating around on the classic car market emphasizing that the car maker made damn good cars twenty years ago and likely still does.  Now sixty years later they could be a staple at Pebble Beach, enhancing the brand, instead of rarity concepts that only point to the historical disparity at Chrysler between those who got it and the decision makers who did not.  Alas, next quarter's earnings took precedent.  

This should have been the mission of any one of these Ghia designs, but unfortunately the Airflow debacle (did I mention they were ugly?) had left them with a bad taste. When they finally woke up to the need to have cars that were actually designed instead of drawn up, they went down the "fins" rabbit hole with the Forward Look. Oh well. What coulda shoula woulda been.