Shipwrecked: The Story of the Chrysler Norseman


When it comes to innovations in automobile design and technology, car companies need a way to test their ideas with consumers, which is why the concept car exists. One concept car that went to a really unique place is the Chrysler Norseman. It’s major innovation was the cantilevered roof. Chrysler set out to create a car that provided maximum visibility of the road from inside the vehicle. The side windows and front windshield seemed to transition almost seamlessly. Believing that the Norseman pushed beyond the boundaries of car design at the time, Chrysler kept the vehicle under tight wraps before it’s public unveiling, and almost no one was ever authorized to even get near the clay studio designing the car. Unfortunately for car enthusiasts everywhere, the Norseman never made it to New York for its unveiling. Chrysler shipped it via the SS Andrea Doria, an Italian-registered cruise ship that shuttled people — and, obviously, cargo — from Italy to the United States. Of course, we all know what happened to the Andrea Doria, and like the rest of the cargo on the ship, the Norseman now rests on the bottom of the ocean. In 1990, the car was finally located, but the ocean’s salt water had eroded the metal so badly that it was just a heap of indistinguishable junk. The tires were still intact, allowed the car to be identified. Unfortunately, the one thing we’ll never know — thanks to the ocean — is the actual color of the car. While models were made in various colors, the actual color of the final concept car has been lost to history.