1958 Plymouth concept car to be sold by Red Baron's A one-of-a-kind concept car built in 1958 by Plymouth and featuring a sleek, futuristic design will be sold Nov. 11th by Red Baron's in Atlanta. The vehicle, the Plymouth Tornado, never saw production
News-Antique.com - Nov 30,-0001 - 1958 PLYMOUTH TORNADO, A ONE-OF-A-KIND CONCEPT CAR
WITH A COLORFUL HISTORY, TO BE SOLD BY RED BARON’S
(Atlanta, Ga.) – A true one-of-a-kind concept car built in 1958 by Plymouth and featuring a sleek, futuristic design will be sold November 11th at Red Baron’s in Atlanta, the Southeast’s premier auction house. Called the Plymouth Tornado, and built on the frame of a 1958 Plymouth Fury, the car reflects the burgeoning space age, just dawning at the time.
“This car, like many custom cars built during that era, resembles a space ship, with its winged back, rocket exhaust and curvaceous body,” said Robert Brown, president and owner of Red Baron’s. “Obviously, it was influenced by space travel, a theme that had gripped the public’s imagination. This spilled over into automotive design.”
Brown purchased the car about a year ago from a Hollywood director and car aficionado for $60,000 – a bargain, except for its condition, which was dreadful. The vehicle had been left to rot in a Utah field for more than 20 years before being acquired by the director, for $50,000. He sold it to Brown after abandoning plans to restore it.
That job was left to Brown, who enlisted the services of Moses Lunden, a Chrysler-Plymouth guru who has written more than 20 books on the company and its products line. Lunden, based in Reno, Nev., lovingly tended to every bolt and screw until the car was brought back to its original luster and glory. Total cost: about $150,000.
“I’ll either sell it for $100,000 and lose my shirt or get a million dollars for it and walk away happy,” Brown said with a chuckle. “You never know with vintage cars, especially concept vehicles like this one.” He acknowledged the car has already drawn interest from at least one high-profile celebrity collector, plus several auto museums.
The buyer will certainly be getting a car with a colorful past and interesting provenance. Built in Detroit at the height of America’s “dream car” era by the best and the brightest at Chrysler-Plymouth, the Tornado was unveiled amid much fanfare to a fascinated public. Not for sale (and originally painted gray), it soon went on tour.
For the next six years, the car was exhibited worldwide, a symbol of American automotive excellence and a possible sneak-peek at jet-powered cars (a promise that was never fulfilled). In 1964, it took second place for Radical Custom Design at the Sabers’ Auto Show in Denver. It was also featured that year in Car Craft Magazine.
In 1974, a Utah-based sports figure purchased the car and actually tagged and drove it for the next two years. Following his death, and the death of his wife, the vehicle literally sat – unattended – in a field at the late owner’s home, for the next 28 years. “It had hornets’ nests in the seats and mice living in the manifolds and hoses,” Brown said.
Luckily, a neighbor who was aware of the vehicle sent out feelers to potential