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