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The Most Futuristic Car Built In The 1930s

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The 1938 Phantom Corsair was designed by Rust Heinz. He was the son of H. J. Heinz who was famous for its "57 Varieties" slogan and its ketchup. Rust Heinz was a Naval architect and in the late 1930s started a industrial design studio in Pasadena, California.

Heinz wanted to build his own American Automobile and in 1936 arranged to have the coach builders Bohman & Schwartz and chassis builders A. J. Bayer Company to build his dream car. The sleek design of the 1938 Phantom Corsair was Heinz's and was developed with clay models.

1938 Phantom Corsair
1938 Phantom Corsair

The original prototype cost Heinz $24,000 to build. Heinz started with the Cord 810 automobile and used its front wheel drive subframe, Lycoming 289 cubic 190 horsepower V-8 engine and drivetrain. The Phantom's wheelbase was 237 inches, tract was 76.5 inches and it reportly weighed nearly 4,600 pounds. The body panels were made of hand formed aluminum and fitted over a tubular frame. Features included a louvered nose with unique headlights, flush fenders, no running boards, extremely small windows and telescoping bumper supports. The two doors opened by way of electric pushbuttons and small panels above the windows popped up to make it easier to enter. The Phantom Corsair seated six, four up front and two in the rear. Instrumentation came from the Cord and included the usual plus a compass and altimeter.

The Phantom Corsair Automobile

The Phantom Corsair Automobile was built on a standard front wheel drive Cord 810 chassis with a V8 engine. It can seat 6 passengers, fopur in the front and 2 in the rear.

The Phantom Corsair In The Movie - The Young in Heart!

The 1938 Phantom Corsair's streamlined styling stunned all who saw it. It appeared on the March 1938 cover of Motor Age and in the movie "The Young in Heart". Rust Heinz also made arrangements to display the car at the 1939 New York World's Fair.

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