Plymouth XNR concept makes strange journey to auction block

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Virgil Exner batwing

Thje 'Batwing' show car is anotehr off-the-wall creation fo designer Virgil Exner. Image: El Caganer/Flickr/CC BY

A so-insane-its-cool concept car from more than fifty years ago is returning home after surviving times of tumultuous unrest in the Middle East. The 1960 Plymouth XNR concept drives up to the auction block in August.

Plymouth XNR concept

The one-of-a-kind stylish roadster will be auctioned off on August 18 at the RN auction in Monterey, California. It is a world-class event where rare and extraordinary vehicles gather to find new owners every year.

Originally, the Plymouth XNR concept was meant as a sporty rival the Chevrolet Corvette. It was designed by Chrysler’s master artist Virgil Exner. It has a six-cylinder engine, delivers 250 horsepower and tops out at 150 mile per hour.

Exner originally wanted to call the bizarre asymmetrical roadster the Falcon, but Ford scooped him on that. Instead, he took the vowels out of his own last name and it became the XNR.

But Chrysler, alas, did not green-light the concept, possibly because it was too strange, and possibly because it seated only one. Whatever the case, it was sent back to Carrozzeria Ghia in Italy, where it was originally assembled on the chassis of a Plymouth Valiant.

That’s when the car’s unique history really heats up.

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A bizarre journey

Carrozzeria Ghia decided to sell the XNR, and it eventually landed in the garage of auto collector Mohammad Reza Pahlevi, more commonly known as the Shah of Iran. He later sold it as well, and it was not seen again for over ten years.

Then, in the early 1980s, car collector Karim Edde discovered in a garage in Beirut, Lebanon, at the height of a bloody civil war. Edde had seen the concept vehicle in a book and recognized it immediately. He bought it, and then came the trick of keeping it safe amidst a violent conflict.

Edde told RM Auctions:

“I hid the XNR in an underground warehouse. That seemed safe at the time, but… the last two years of the war were so bad, I had to move the car many times to save it from destruction.”

In 2008 Edde delivered the XRN to RM Restorations in Canada to have it restored to like-new condition. Since it was a one-of -a-kind concept car, no parts existed and many had to be fabricated.

Going for… nobody can say

RM is making no predictions about what it will sell for, since it has no precedent. However, it is not too big a stretch to say its puirchase will most likely require deep pockets.

‘The Plymouth XNR in action’


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