Last week, CEO Sergio Marchionne announced some major changes to brands like Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Jeep, and Fiat as part of the automaker’s five-year strategy. While we’re definitely excited for new vehicles like the 600-horsepower (447-kilowatt) Alfa GTV, and the long-awaited Maserati Alfieri, suspiciously absent from the announcement was Chrysler. While the American automaker didn’t go the way of the dodo as rumored, there’s still a lot of mystery as to what will happen going forward.
In anticipation, we’ve decided to celebrate some of the best and most beautiful concept cars Chrysler has ever built, and hope that some of them make their way to the lineup soon – in some form or another. From classics like the Ghia-designed D’Elegance, to more modern examples like the powerful ME Four-Twelve and the fully electric Portal SUV, these are the 10 most memorable concept cars to ever come from the Chrysler brand.
1952 Chrysler D’Elegance Concept
Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Chrysler built some really pretty cars – but arguably none were as stunning as this Ghia-designed concept. The Chrysler D’Elegance was scheduled for a limited production run of 25 examples, but never made its way to the road. Still, it remains one of the most beautiful cars to ever come from the American marque.
1991 Chrysler 300 Concept
In 1991, Chrysler revived the 300 nameplate after more than 20 years off the market. This long, lovely looking four-door coupe was the newest iteration, and its styling was… unique, to say the least. Truthfully, it was just a few minor modifications away from being a really beautiful production car.
1998 Chrysler Chronos Concept
Similar to 1991’s 300 concept, the Chronos – just seven years later – reignited Chrysler’s vision of a long, luxurious coupe. Now with a more corporate grille, retro-styled wheels, and unique rear haunches, the Chronos concept could have given buyers of the late ’90s the luxurious coupe they were looking for from an American marque. Sadly, it never made its way to production.
1999 Chrysler Java Concept
Before subcompact SUVs were selling like hot cakes, Chrysler came out with the Java concept in 1999. The teeny, tiny SUV looked more like a hatchback, but with a taller roofline, a four-door layout, and subtle yet handsome styling cues, it might have spelled a recipe for success well before the current craze of small SUVs.
2000 Chrysler 300 Hemi C Concept
Once again Chrysler revived the 300 moniker – this time in the year 2000 as a sleek convertible instead of a four-door coupe. Admittedly, the concept shares a number of cues with the first-gen Sebring that showed up shortly thereafter, but with a high-powered Hemi V8 producing 353 horsepower (263 kilowatts), it was far from economy-minded.
2001 Chrysler Crossfire Concept
Yes, Chrysler did built a production version of the Crossfire. Problem was, it did away with most of the sharp, sporty cues found on the concept in place of something far more basic. The production version wasn’t nearly as much of a sports car as many had hoped; maybe a more accurate representation of the concept would have faired better on the market.
2004 Chrysler ME Four-Twelve Concept
This vehicle, hands down, is one of the best-looking products Chrysler has ever put on the road (or at least on a show stand). Built on a carbon-fiber and aluminum honeycomb chassis tub, and wielding a 6.0-liter Mercedes V12, the ME Four-Twelve concept was reportedly good for a 0-60 mile-per-hour sprint (96 kilometers per hour) of just 2.9 seconds, and a top speed of 248 mph (399 kmh). It’s the supercar that Chrysler should have built, but never did, and probably never will.
2006 Chrysler Imperial Concept
The Imperial nameplate has been around since 1926. But following its departure from the lineup for good in 1993, Chrysler failed to capitalize on the same success of the original. This concept debuted in 2006, and though it was outrageously retro and never truly destined for production, the rebirth of the legendary nameplate in the form of a throwback vehicle (similar to Aston Martin’s Lagonda) might have made sense.
2009 Chrysler 200C EV Concept
Though the gas-powered 200 sedan was never the outright success Chrysler had hoped, this battery-powered plug-in concept could have helped save the nameplate. With a gas engine rated at 268 horsepower (200 kilowatts), and a lithium-ion battery pack adding another 74 horsepower (55 kilowatts), the 200C EV was good for an alleged 400 miles (643 kilometers) of range (40 in battery mode), and could sprint to 62 miles per hour (100 kilometers per hour) in just about seven seconds. Pair that with one stunning cabin, and the 200C EV might have been a real success.
2017 Chrysler Portal Concept
The Chrysler Portal concept may be too little too late. The futuristic SUV made its world debut at CES in 2017, and though it has all the right pieces in place to become something special – unique design, loads of tech, and an electric powertrain – it currently sits in production limbo. Rumors of a production version continue to circle, but Chrysler hasn’t confirmed a production date.