This is an installment in a series of posts looking back on show cars that we feel deserved a little more attention than they got. If you have a suggestion for a Forgotten Concept topic, please shoot us a line or leave a comment below.
First Shown: 1997 Detroit Auto Show
Description: Heritage-design 4-door hard-top convertible
Sales Pitch: “Phaeton embraces and contemporizes elegant, classic design cues from historic touring automobiles of the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s.”
First seen at the 1997 Detroit Auto Show, the Phaeton Concept was a large, 4-door convertible featuring true “dual cowl” design and borrowing styling elements from Chryslers of decades past. The big drop top was powered by a 425-horsepower, 5.4-liter V12 engine—created by melding two of the company’s 2.7-liter V6s—mated to a 4-speed automatic transmission.
The Phaeton rode on an enormous 132-inch wheelbase and featured distinct front and rear seating compartments, true to phaeton models of the Twenties, Thirties, and Forties. The Phaeton concept was penned in-house by Chrysler designer Tom Gale, and paid specific tribute to the limited-production 1941 Chrysler Newport Phaeton.
Though the Phaeton was never seriously considered for production, it did see action as an available ride in the popular Gran Turismo 2 video game.
Word is that the Chrysler, jealous of the Dodge Viper and Plymouth Prowler, was fishing about for a flagship of its own. The retro-themed Phaeton had the makings of just such a car, though the dual-cowl design, V12 engine, and extreme size, might have made a production variant of the Phaeton too expensive for a Chrysler audience.
That said, the Phaeton was a handsome thing. We think the huge 22-inch wheels and elegantly simple silhouette worked to create a clean, timeless design that, properly dialed back, might have made for a credible, limited-production flagship. Rather sad that the project never got the go ahead.
Phaeton Concept Gallery
(Click below for enlarged images)