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1956 Chrysler GHIA Plainsman Concept Station Wagon

Imperial Home Page -> Imperials by Year -> 1956 -> Chrysler GHIA Plainsman Concept Station Wagon

From Ebay 2010:

  • VIN: 9999760
  • Mileage: 50,354 miles
  • Body type: Wagon
  • Engine: 8 Cyl.
  • Exterior color: Tan
  • Transmission: Automatic
  • Fuel type: Gasoline
  • Interior color: Brown
1956 Chrysler Ghia Plainsman Station Wagon Concept Car

This is a Chrysler Auto Show Car displayed through out the United States in 1956 at all of the auto shows.    This car was recently on the cover of Old Cars Weekly, January 21, 2010.  This rare, original, as found 1956 Chrysler Ghia Plainsman Station Wagon concept car has been on display at all the important museums in the United States including the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum, the Petersen Auto Museum, the Gilmore Museum and others.  This is the only known 50's concept car/dream car station wagon that exists today. At the RM Auction at Meadow Brook a 1953 Chrysler Ghia, 2-door hardtop, fully restored car sold for $850,000.00. You could restore this car and sell it and maybe profit up to half a million dollars.

This car featured such advanced styling cues and mechanical functions as including the first station wagon to have a rear facing third seat.  Also the rear window lowers by power into the tailgate and then the tailgate opens as power operated.  The rear tailgate opens to step plates that were designed to come out of the rear bumper.  The third seat is also power operated so that it will either setup into a seat or flatten into the floor all by power.  The interior was finished with unborn baby calfskin.  The spare tire is stored in the rear fender.  The gas cap is under the left rear taillight, which sucks in under vacuum to expose the filler cap for filling the car with gasoline.

Virgil Exner designed 95% of Chrysler concepts and then the Chrysler chassis' were shipped to Ghia.  The completed concept cars were then returned to the United States for show purposes but had to be exported out of the United States within eighteen months in order for Chrysler not to have to pay duty.  This particular car was shipped to Cuba after its show purposes and was given to the president of all of the Cuban banks.  After his death the car was returned to the main Chrysler dealership in Cuba.  The export manager for Chrysler Corp. lived on a large estate in Cuba and was given the car by the Chrysler Corporation and shortly thereafter Castro took over Cuba and chased out all of the Americans.    The Export manager for Chrysler escaped from Cuba with all of his worldly belongings including this Chrysler concept car and returned to the United States.  

The Export Manager had the car refitted by Chrysler with a Chrysler 440 engine, which currently powers it.  This car was produced as a 2-door station wagon because Chrysler anticipated the success of the Chevy Nomad and wanted to have a competitive vehicle.  However, this is the one and only 'show" 2-door prototype station wagon that exists today. He was later promoted to the Export Manager of Australia where he lived for many years and then retired to California.  Again taking this concept car with him. The car was given to his son and the son later gave it to his son.  In the late 80's the car was sold to a famous auto collection where it remained for a number of years before it was sold to the present owner.  It was the intent of the present owner to restore the car to its original pristine condition but the financial climate in the United States has forced him to put the car up for a reluctant sale. 

This car is highly documented and similar restored concept cars to this have sold previously within the last six years for $1 to $3 Million Dollars. Again the financial climate in the United States forces the current owner to sell this car for a more then attractive price. This is one of the rarest Chrysler concept cars and the only concept station wagon known to exist from the 50's and the 60's from American Manufacturers. This car runs down the road just fine. The power tailgate and power rear seat are fully functioning. The Italian custom body manufacturer Ghia also manufactured bodies for other foreign automotive manufacturers. Ghia is considered such an important company that this year the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance featured Ghia cars. Yes, the car needs all cosmetics. A ONCE in a lifetime opportunity to have one of the finest American concept cars in your collection!  This car is listed at a very low reserve.   The owner and car are both located in San Mateo, CA.   Factory photos are in Black & White.

More information about this incredible station wagon can be found on our 1955 page.


This page was last updated September 13, 2012 .  Send us your feedback, and come join the Imperial Mailing List - Online Car Club