Chrysler Lost Heritage: The Norseman, Part II

Chrysler Lost Heritage: The Norseman

Welcome to the second and final installment of our look back at the Norseman concept car. To read the first installment, please click here.

Interior features on the Chrysler Norseman included four electric-power bucket seats, with the front seats capable of pivoting to the center of the car, for easier access to the rear seat. The Norseman was also one of the first cars to feature retractable lap seat belts.

On July 17, 1956, after 15 months of production, the Norseman was loaded on the luxurious ocean liner Andrea Doria in Genoa, Italy. Both the car and the ship were scheduled to arrive in New York City nine days later, on July 26, 1956. The Andrea Doria’s trans-Atlantic voyage was cut short when it collided with a passenger ship, the MV Stockholm, causing the liner to sink within hours, taking all of its cargo, including the Norseman, to the ocean floor 200 feet below.

A great deal of speculation still surrounds the design translation of the Chrysler Norseman – the original 3/8 scale model of this car never left the Highland Park Plant – as Ghia, only receiving engineering surface drawings, had no tangible scale model as a benchmark. Photographs of the car are rare and color photographs nonexistent, resulting in conflicting reports about its color scheme.

What the Chrysler brand is doing with Exner’s vision 57 years later in the cutting-edge world of technology suggests a level of innovation that has the automaker at the forefront of the industry. The spirit of ingenuity that went into the Norseman is still pertinent in modern Chrysler models today, including the Chrysler 200, Chrysler 300 and the Chrysler Town & Country.