Design Capsule: Some Weird and Wonderful Chrycorp Wagons.


(first posted 4/20/2015)   Came across some interesting creations from the Chrysler Corporation while researching for Wagon Week. First up is the Plymouth Cabana II from 1958. Can’t tell you much about it, but that frontal treatment is certainly not in the prevailing style emanating from the pre-pentastar at the time. The pillarless look keeps the (relative) clutter to a minimum.


Those fins don’t look out of place at all in the Forward Look scheme of things, however. The bubble rear is beautifully shaped, if it is actually a bubble. I can’t see a roof or rear window, nor can I figure out how they would meet if they were indeed retractable.


The Cabana seems to be a short-lived set of wagon concepts. This 1956 sketch, from John Samsen with its 1957 body cues, is the first of the ‘series’, but I’m not sure if it was produced. For any fans of Chrysler Corp.’s styling from this period, has a thread here where Samsen joins the discussion about his time in the various styling studios. It’s a great read, with some rare drawings and pics.

desoto wagon

This DeSoto bears the same C-pillar as the Cabana, and is also a pillarless wagon. Don’t know anything about this picture or car.


There’s that C-pillar again. This time it’s on the Chrysler Plainsman from 1956. This one’s got an interesting history. It was brought to Australia and driven on the road after its owner put a 440 (!) in it. There are various accounts online that place this car in Cuba as well, but I remember reading about this in a ‘Whatever happened to’ type of story in a reputable Australian motoring mag. It was rediscovered in the US, and sold last year for $175,000.


We finish with a few more images from the thread. That straight wingline from the front to the rear is extraordinary, mostly in the fact that it seems to actually work. Interesting D-pillar detailing. Those portholes in the C-pillar found even stronger expression…