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Chrysler Chronos Concept Car Strikes All The Right Chords - Reaches New Level in Contemporizing A Classic Form

5 January 1998

Chrysler Chronos Concept Car Strikes All The Right Chords - Reaches New Level in Contemporizing A Classic Form

    AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Jan. 4 -- Just one look at the new
Chrysler Chronos concept car and you immediately get the feeling that Chrysler
has reached a new level in contemporizing a classic form.
    Its attention to proportion, surface and craftsmanship all point to the
fact that Chrysler has taken this design exercise beyond some of the company's
past efforts.  "We've been looking for years at the possibility of finding the
right product for a Chrysler flagship model," said John Herlitz, Chrysler's
Vice President of Design.  "The Chrysler 300 concept car, the Atlantic,
Thunderbolt and Phaeton all were testing design theses for the ultimate
Chrysler icon.  This time we may have struck all the right chords."
    The Chrysler Chronos has such dramatic proportions that it immediately is
recognized as something incredibly different in today's automotive landscape.
From its overall length of 205 inches (5217 mm), to its 76 inch width
(1942 mm), the Chronos has a presence.  Its massive 20-inch front and 21-inch
rear aluminum wheels -- almost half of the overall height of the entire car --
flow smoothly with the side surfaces of the car to give the Chronos its solid
stance.  With the wheels pushed forward and aft and the cabin shifted
rearward, the Chronos has proportions of some of the classic designs of the
Virgil Exner-era creations of the 1950s.  Exner led Chrysler Design from
1949 to 1961.
    "This car really owes its inspiration to the 1953 Chrysler D'Elegance
concept vehicle," said Jack Crain, Chrysler Design Studio Chief, who headed
the development of the Chrysler Chronos.  "That car had these proportions, but
we updated the surfaces to meet the expectation of today's automotive
    The surface flows cleanly from the front chrome grille and jewel-like
headlamps, to the steeply raked windshield, to the Chronos' short deck,
highlighted by perfectly placed creases to give the body definition.  With
crisp, clean creases running from both A-pillars to the front of the car, and
surface creases running along the sides, the Chrysler Chronos surface gives
the feeling of strength and solidity.  Its sterling blue clear coat paint
offers subtle highlights and shadows that complement the surface character.
    "If there's one thing about the car that runs consistently throughout,
it's the feeling of quality -- quality as defined by craftsmanship," said Neil
Walling, Chrysler Director of Advanced Design.  "There's nothing in this car's
proportion or surface that says 'I'm fragile, or fussy, or frail.' It looks
sculpted.  Its materials look hand crafted."
    Nowhere are the materials and craftsmanship more evident than on the
    From the hand-wrapped leather steering wheel, to the hand-sewn leather
center console and door trim panels, the Chrysler Chronos harkens to the
meticulous attention to detail of the early coach builders.  Its wood dash
panels combine exquisitely with its white-faced sport-watch-like dials for the
instrument cluster and other gauges, all evoking the hand craftsmanship of a
bygone era in automobiles.
    The center console also features an in-place humidor, with storage,
lighter and humistat, in the space typically occupied by the center console
storage compartment.  Certainly a fitting "extra" for a car of this ilk.
    "What better way to put the ultimate exclamation point on this car, than
to have a humidor between the driver and passenger," said Crain.  "While
perhaps not politically correct in every circle, the whole car carries a
presence of 'having made it' and confidence."
    Driving the Chrysler Chronos may be its strongest statement.  While the
surfaces and proportions give it a solid look, its engine gives it life.  A
6.0-liter, V-10 engine, producing more than 350 bhp (261 kW), getting up and
out of traffic is of little concern.  Combine that engine with a short-long-
arm (SLA) front and rear suspension and a unitized body structure with
isolated front and rear sub-frames and high-strength steel chassis, and
driving the rear-wheel-drive Chrysler Chronos promises to be both spirited and
highly balanced.
    "If you're going for the flagship of the Chrysler brand, and the Chrysler
Chronos clearly is, then everything must add up," said Herlitz.  "The look
must fit.  The quality must be appropriate.  And the ride must be
exhilarating.  It all has to totally quench the thirst for perfection."  With
the Chrysler Chronos, no one is likely to walk away thirsty.

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SOURCE  Chrysler Corporation