DeSoto Adventurer II Concept


We like the name Virgil Exner. It brings us to mind the cult sixties/seventies children’s programme Thunderbirds. But far from being a marionette, Ex was one of those typical mid century American creatives whose chops were honed by the Second World War – and whose vision inspired some of the most incredible cars ever drawn in America. His 1954 collaboration with Carrozzeria Ghia, the DeSoto Adventurer is one of our favourite cars of that fruitful period for American car design.


The Adventurer’s lines are not as self-consciously ‘futurustic’, of course, as cars like the Bertone BAT concepts, Cadillac’s Cyclone or Ford’s X-2000. Rather, there is an Italianate integrity to the flow of design. The bevelled chin up front remind us of early fifties Ferraris – and those subtle fins that flow through to the rear are beautifully restrained. Those circular chrome taillight mounts, of course, owe their look to that Fighter Plane aesthetic and the beginnings of the Sputnik-era space race.


Sadly the actual production model that bore the Adventurer moniker was NOTHING like this inspired creation – but the innovations bought in through collaborations like this resounded through the car culture of America for decades to come.