Over the years many concepts have claimed to be the car of the future, exhibiting outlandish designs and space age features destined never to see the light of day. Within this rather depressing graveyard of vehicles stands a car of the future which made it damn close to production; the 1938 Phantom corsair.
The Brainchild of Rust Heinz, the heir to the 57 Varieties fortune, the Corsair completely forewent any design cues of the time, creating a completely original shape. Like many brilliant ideas, the Corsair was sketched by Heinz on a cocktail napkin. He then employed Californian coachbuilder Bohman & Schwartz to craft the body and interior for the cars underpinnings, Heinz’s own Cord 810. Echoing the advanced donor car, the Corsair was far from devoid of cutting edge features such as an electrically operated pre-selector gearbox, electrically operated button door handles, interior lights indicating an ajar door and a compass and altimeter, a clear nod to the cars aeronautical design. Despite these technological advances, the most forward thinking aspect to the Phantom Corsair is clearly its breathtaking body. Framed by two art deco style chrome bumpers, the Corsair quite rightly has garnered a reputation as one of the prettiest cars ever built. A design which hasn’t aged a day, the sleek, formfitting body still gave way for four-abreast seating in the front, two in the back and a drinks cabinet.
Fitted with the Cord’s L-Head V8, Rust Heinz planned to put the Phantom Corsair into a limited production run at a price of around $400,000 today, but his death in 1939 lead to the end of the Phantom project, leaving the fully operational Corsair prototype as the only in existence.
Phantom Corsair Image Credit: cdn.silodrome.com/