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Chrysler C-200
The C-200 was the second in a series of cars that were designed by Virgil Exner snr and his small team at Chrysler, and built by Carrozzeria Ghia SpA of Turin, Italy at a reputed cost of just $20,000. In essence, this is the convertible version of their first collaboration, the K-310. Both cars featured Exner's admiration of Italian car styling and his love of the wheel. He accentuated functional elements of the car instead of hiding them - elements like the wheels, radiator grille, spare tire and lights. Clever two-tone paintwork integrated the upper and lower body, enhancing the optical impression of a lower, longer car. Circles were the keynote and were used extensively on the interior design. The large wire wheels were housed in radiused wheel-arches and the rear of the C-200 featured the imprint of the spare wheel which was originally planned to go under the trunk lid, and those famous 'microphone' tail lights. Given the prefix 'C' for convertible and 200 for the hoped for horsepower, (the actual 331ci Firepower Hemi V8 used gave 180bhp) the subtle blend of American and simpler Italian sports car design created a classic convertible that looks as fresh today as it did when it was released in 1952.

Text by Peter Grist

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