Virgil Exner Sr has been treated somewhat unfairly by history. Yes, some of the designs that he rendered himself or that he oversaw as head of Chrysler styling make the nickname “Virgil Excess” seem appropriate. His best work, though, influenced other designers and had a purity of line and a design cohesion that his contemporary designers at GM and Ford rarely matched. Though Exner had been in charge of Chrysler styling for a while, it was the 1957 “Forward Look” Chrysler, Dodge, Plymouth and DeSoto cars that were the first production cars to bear his full personal stamp. Based heavily on the Flite Sweep concepts of 1955, the ’57 Mopars created a firestorm within the auto industry, and put Chrysler at the head of the Detroit pack styling wise, briefly taking the lead from GM.
December 2, 2011 - 12:23 pm