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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

The little-known Plymouth XX-500 concept led to big things with Chrysler, Ghia

The Plymouth Ghia XX-500 is a little-known footnote in automotive history, but it established a relationship that resulted in some interesting 1950s and '60s concept collaborations between the American carmaker and the Italian coachbuilder. On March 14, 1951-71 years ago today-the Ghia XX-500 was unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/automotive-history/the-little-known-plymouth-xx-500-concept-led-to-big...
24 REPLIES 24
Gary_Bechtold
Specialist

The XX-500 has a sad face. A bit too much frown in the grille.
JohnnyD
Intermediate Driver

Twas a lovely sophisticated upscale design for 1951. Rear resembles a Rolls Royce or a Bentley. Grill slightly suggests Studebaker Hawk of 1957+. Front also suggests Front of Dodge 1953-54. Love the skinny stainless trimmed window pillars. It is a European touring sedan/saloon. Metallic paint is premium finish for its day. This car comes up repeatedly in Chrysler auto history but I never saw this design influence any production Mopar's of the 1950s. Lovely little limo!
FloridaMarty
Instructor

I agree.
DMcC
Detailer

JohnnyD outside of the two features you mention, the vehicle was very much the rather boxy 4-dr body that emerged with the 1949 Plymouth and largely continued through to the '51 4dr. with minor detail changes.
bpgleason
New Driver

Agreed.
Punk
Advanced Driver

Quite an attractive and forward-thinking design, to my old eyes! It reminds me of Jaguar's compact sedan, the Mark I and Mark II, although of course there was no Mark I designation until the Mark II came along. You can see the sexy curves and smaller dimensions in this car.
JK
Intermediate Driver

I would like to see the Pinin farina proposal to compare the 2 approaches.

What Ghia ended up winning was the ability to build, but not design, the designs created by Exner and his team of designers.

GM became aligned with Pinin farina in much the same way.

Ironic that eventually Ghia would become acquired by Ford.
Louis
New Driver

They made it like a cross between a 50 model Ford & 50 model Mercury.....but they didn't put a lot of style into the body
DMcC
Detailer

Exactly, could have been lower, more swoop for the back, etc.
Patrician
Detailer

Looks like a 1951 Frazer Manhattan to me. Except uglier. In all fairness except for Ford and Studebaker earlier 50's styling left much to be desired. I love Buick but the front of a 1950 model had to be the most grotesque thing ever designed.
Cornbinder
Detailer

I see more 1951 Packard (front clip) and 1946-47 Packard Clipper (aft of the windshield) than anything else.
cericks66
New Driver

The xx-500 is not a bad looking car - I can see the rolls like appearance.
That 63 Turbine looks vaguely familiar almost like looking at the backside of a 63 T-bird...interesting!
drummertom
Pit Crew

I have thought that for years, and was beginning to think I was the only one.
Stixx
Detailer

jay leno has one of the turbines
Buzz
Detailer

If you were wondering where Chrysler got their 2005-2010 Chrysler 300 grill design, look no further. It’s amazing how influential some concept cars can be, even a half century later.
Maestro1
Technician

I don't know if it's realistic but Chrysler should have kept the Turbine design and built a car around it. It was always a classic.
I didn't know anything about Plymouth Ghias but I have had possession of a Chrysler Ghia
Convertible for several months a long time ago and it was certainly attention getting and
very comfortable. I remember the car was White with a Black Leather interior. Lots of grunt at the Green Light...........
Real_Life
Intermediate Driver

This is certainly a stylish upgrade from the stock Plymouth sedan, and frankly, this is new to me. I've seen pictures of the Chrysler and De Soto coupes, though, and they are stunning. I would bet a retrospective on those show cars or prototypes would be informative to many, many readers.
eighthtry
Advanced Driver

would have liked to have seen more pictures. Those a pretty rare cars that one can find no pictures.
Oldroad1
Technician

For early 1950s standards, I believe the XX-500 is very forward looking for the day. I'm seeing some 00-later Chrysler 300 in that 1950 Plymouth Model.
MR
Intermediate Driver

As an caretaker of a couple of Karmann Ghia's I definitely see the Ghia influence, especially the front & rear glass. The shapes are nearly identical.
The crown of the rear quarters are very reminiscent too.
Informative article!
MrBill-1943
Detailer

Owned a 53 Plymouth Cranbrook as well as a 52 Chrysler in the mid 60's and both were reliable tanks. Loved the Turbine design but it looks like a later T-Bird to me. Designs for the Ghia back in the 50's were forward thinking when you compare to what was produced. I really enjoy history lesson like these, keep them coming.
hyperv6
Racer

I always liked this car. It has an Air of a Rolls but not really looking like one.

This styling would not have lasted long but I try to look at it and see what it could have evolved into.
It is a shame that Chrysler has so many good show cars and limited run cars that just never really extended into the production cars as much as they could have.

The Turbine was designed by a ex Ford designer. That is why it look more T bird than Chrysler.

Imagine if the Imperial had gone this way as to how it may have influenced Cadillac and Lincoln.
chuck8731
New Driver

Wow, the XX-500 is one case where the stock vehicle is a lot better looking than the concept! Kind of a stodgy car!
Ken68
Intermediate Driver

I for one see some timeless styling here and have a difficult time believing Chrysler didn't jump on making this body design a reality. There's a distinct hint of Bentley / Rolls in these published photograph's, a vast improvement over many of the body designs put into production over the next 10 - 15 years after this concept vehicle was shown by Chrysler, Dodge & Plymouth. Too bad there weren't a few interior shots taken of this XX-500. I'm convinced they'd reflect the exterior's elegance as well. I'd be extremely happy to have a copy of this unique car in my collection, if only they would have actually produced them on the assembly line. Beauty indeed is in the eye of the beholder. Thanks for publishing this most fascinating piece!