Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Dodge Firearrow III Coupe


In the early 1950s, Dodge produced a series of concept cars under the Firearrow name. The first two Firearrows were convertibles and, since they were designed mainly for the show car circuit, they weren’t fully functional or road-worthy. The third Firearrow was a coupe, and it was built to run as good as it looked.

Like its predecessors, Firearrow III was a joint effort between Dodge and Ghia, the Italian coach building firm. Chrysler design chief Virgil Exner gave Ghia stylist Luigi Segre free hand to create an all-new coupe body to fit on a production Dodge Royal chassis. Advanced features in Segre’s stunning design included expansive, wraparound glass—the rear window was one of the largest pieces of molded automotive glass produced up to that time.

With its lightweight coupe body combined with a Dodge Red Ram Hemi V8, the Firearrow III was an impressive performer.  Dodge hired the famed female aircraft racing pilot Betty Skelton to test the coupe at the then brand-new Chrysler Proving Grounds in Chelsea, Michigan. In June of 1954 on the high-speed oval at Chelsea, she drove the Firearrow III to a new ladies’ closed course speed of 143.44 mph—wearing a dress and high heels.

Once the Firearrow III’s test and show duties were completed, the car was sent back to Italy in order to avoid the extremely high import duties then in effect. There it remained until a few years ago when the car was rediscovered and brought back to the United States. After receiving a complete, nut-and-bolt restoration to the beautiful state you see here, the Firearrow III Coupe sold at auction in 2009 for $880,000.

Courtesy of Redline Dodge

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