I was just milling about the interwebz recently, and I stumbled across a picture of the 1938 Phantom Corsair. Suddenly I wanted a time machine, so I might wander back to '38 and get me one, but, alas, the Phantom Corsair is just a prototype.
It is a six-passenger coupé designed by Rust Heinz of the H. J. Heinz family and Maurice Schwartz of the Bohman & Schwartz coachbuilding company in Pasadena. Although it is sometimes dismissed as a failure because it never entered production, the Corsair is regarded as ahead of its time due to its futuristic features and styling cues such as faired-in fenders and a low profile.
The Phantom Corsair's steel-and-aluminum body measured just 57 inches in height and incorporated fully skirted wheels and completely flush fenders while forgoing running boards. The car also lacked door handles, as the doors were instead opened electrically using push-buttons located on the exterior and the instrument panel on the inside.
The instrument panel also featured a compass and altimeter, while a separate console above the windshield indicated when a door was ajar or if the car's lights or radio were turned on.
The Corsair's body was mated to the "most advanced chassis available in the United States" at that time, the Cord 810. The Lycoming 80º V8-powered Cord chassis also featured front-wheel drive and an electrically operated four-speed automatic gearbox, as well as fully independent suspension and adjustable shock absorbers.
Though these features from the Cord 810 chassis were all retained on the Phantom Corsair, the chassis was modified in order to accommodate the Corsair's large body, which measured an impressive 237 inches long--nearly 20 feet--and 76.5 inches wide, enough to accommodate four people in the front seat, including one person who sat to the left of the driver.
The back seats only held two passengers, however, in large part because of space limitations posed by on-board beverage cabinets.
And even though the Corsair weighed in at 4,600 pounds, it could still reach speeds of up to 115 mph because of its modified Lycoming engine as well as its aerodynamic shape.
Rust Heinz planned to put the Phantom Corsair, which cost approximately $24,000 to produce in 1938--about $370,000 today--into limited production at an estimated selling price of $12,500, but Heinz's death in a car accident in July 1939 ended those plans, leaving the prototype Corsair as the only one ever built.
The Phantom Corsair now resides in the National Automobile Museum (also known as The Harrah Collection) in Reno, Nevada.
Man, I so want one.