The 1938 Phantom Corsair American heir Rust Heinz $24,000 to build – that’s $300,000 today – and he hoped to sell production versions for half that price. Unfortunately the ketchup king passed away shortly after this single prototype was made.
As for the Phantom Corsair, its futuristic design was a huge influence on the designers of the day and many of its features would find their way onto production cars decades later.
The sweeping lines influenced the postwar generation of American carmakers, whose technological chops had been hammered on the anvil of WW2.
The Corsair was only 147 cm high, the steel and aluminum body had no running boards, bumpers or door handles. You opened the doors using buttons on the outside and on the dash.
The chassis as well as the V8 engine was from the Cord 810, one of the most advanced designs of the 30s with front wheel driven, electrically operated four speed transmission. Running gear was independent and adjustable, and the supercharged engine could produce around 190 BHP.
The Corsair may have been a dream that died with its inventor, but the priceless orignal survives to this day in the National Auto Museum in Reno Nevada, as testament to an unmatched vision of an automotive tomorrow.
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