Chysler’s financial crises of the early 1950s couldn’t stop the string of Virgil Exner’s Ghia concept cars
In 1953, Dodge unveiled its first concept car, the Firearrow, a sleek out-of-this-world roadster that provided a glimpse of what everyone’s new automobile would look like in just a few years. While this stylish open-top car looked like it was ready to ply the highways of tomorrow, it was just a rolling concept display model and had no running gear. But the public response was strong enough that the approval was given to design and build an actual running prototype; thus was born the Firearrow II.
As with earlier versions of the Firearrow, the Series III coupe was mounted on a regular production chassis from the Dodge Royal, and the running gear was left in stock form, with the “Red Ram Hemi” V8 engine providing plenty of power. Suspension was also taken straight from production models, as was the recently introduced fully automatic Torque-Flite transmission.
Upon delivery to the Chrysler Corporation, the sleek blue coupe was earmarked to be the center attraction at the opening of the company’s new Chelsea Proving Grounds in June 1954. Betty Skelton, one of the best aerobatic pilots in the world, took the Firearrow III out on the new banked oval and opened it up all the way. In the process she set a new world record for a woman on a closed course of 143.44 miles per hour, and this while wearing a dress and high heels!
Since that time, the Dodge Firearrow III has been treated to a ground up restoration by the gifted shop of Fran Roxas. The Firearrow III presents a most significant chapter as the only concept/dream car ever to hold a land-speed record, demonstrating that this beautiful blue Firearrow III Concept was not just built for show.