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Event Report

The Plymouth XNR Ghia Roadster wins the Gran Turismo Trophy

On August 21 at the 61st Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, Gran Turismo series producer Kazunori Yamauchi selected the 1960 Plymouth XNR Ghia Roadster as the winner of the Gran Turismo Trophy.

Plymouth was a brand that started as the entry level models of Chrysler, and the XNR Ghia Roadster was a concept car which brought the high performance image Chrysler built in NASCAR racing, into the Plymouth brand.
In charge of the design was Virgil Exner, the legendary designer who led the golden era of Chrysler between the 1950’s and 1960’s. Exner designed this XNR as the future of sportscars, to go head to head with cars such as GM’s Corvette and the Ford Thunderbird. The name XNR is derived from his own name.

Its unique character is visible to anyone at a single glance. The front nose is narrowed like a formula car, and though it appears to be a single seater at first, a passenger seat does exist under the tonneau cover. The asymmetric engine hood rises gradually on the driver’s side and forms the instrument hood, and its peak continues behind the driver and forms a bold tail fin. The fins flowing from the front fenders to the rear on both sides of the body are in the same theme as the base car, the Plymouth Valiant.

The XNR Ghia Roadster was too unusual in style to go into production, and ended as a show model of which only 1 was produced. But the inspiration and shocking effect it had on car design in its day, and the incredible condition which shows none of its 50 years of age led to its high praise and award. This is one car which truly speaks out on the depth of American automotive history.

The coveted Best of Show in this years Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance went to a 1934 Voisin C-25 Aerodyne.