We featured the 1957 Chrysler 300C recently and I said it was a great example of purity of line and that it exemplified the brilliance of Virgil Exner Sr’s “Forward Look”. Exner’s friends called him “Ex”. His detractors, though, called him Virgil Excess. This 1957 Dodge Custom Royal D-500 might give you an idea how that nickname originated. Overstyled with all sorts of little geegaws and fillips, many of them slathered in chrome. I think the proper term for the way the tailfin, taillights, two-tone paint and chrome trim go together is “hot mess”. The front end is so malevolent looking with its toothy bumper that I’m surprised that Stephen King went with a ’58 Plymouth Fury for Christine instead of this model. Though there’s clearly a family resemblance between this ’57 Dodge and the ’57 Chrysler 300, it’s still hard to wrap my mind around the idea that the same man approved both designs. I’m sure that Diran and Joyce Yajezian, who displayed this Dodge at the 2012 Eyes On Design show, love their car, but I wouldn’t put it on a list of Exner’s best work.
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