Designed by Virgil Exner, one of America’s most influential stylist, this Chrysler Diablo is considered the most valuable concept car of the 1950s, and will go up for auction in January, 2013, as part of Barrett Jackson’s all-reserve salon collection.
Originally conceived in 1956 as a Dart concept car, this Diablo was designed by Exner and bodied by Ghia with many of the design team’s visions of the future of transportation. Built on a 1956 Chrylser Chassis, Chrysler stressed the importance of its aerodynamics. Its shape was inspired by ink blots driven by 200 MPH winds created in a wind tunnel.
During its first tour in 1956, the Dart was fitted with a retractable hardtop. In 1957, the car was returned to Ghia where tweaks to the engine and suspension were made, and the original retractable hard top was replaced with a convertible soft top. When it toured during the 1957 season, it dawned the name Dart II. The Dart II was equipped with a dual-quad Chrysler 354-cu. in. Hemi V-8, a pushbutton TorqueFlite automatic transmission, and was painted red. At the end of 1957, the car was shipped back to Ghia, and was again given updates. These updates included an overhaul of the body work, which included a reduction in the height of the fins. It was then re-released carrying the name Diablo.
The last time this car went up for auction at the RM auction in Monterey in 2008, it failed to meet it’s reserve set at $1.2 million.