16 May 2012

The remarkable Phantom Corsair (1938)

The Phantom Corsair is a prototype automobile built in 1938. It is a six-passenger coupé that was designed by Rust Heinz of the H. J. Heinz family...

The Phantom Corsair's steel-and-aluminum body measured just 57 in (140 cm) 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...

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...

The body measured an impressive 237 in (600 cm) long and 76.5 in (194 cm) wide, enough to accommodate four people in the front row, including one person to the left of the driver. The back seats could only hold two passengers, however, in large part because of space limitations posed by on-board beverage cabinets. Though weighing a hefty 4,600 lb (2,100 kg), the Phantom Corsair could achieve speeds of up to 115 mph (185 km/h) because of its modified, naturally aspirated 190 bhp 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 (equivalent to about $370,000 in 2010), into limited production at an estimated selling price of $12,500. However, 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.
Only two passengers in back because of the on-board beverage cabinets!!

Text from Wikipedia, via Reddit.  Photo via Conceptcarz, where there is a gallery of about 30 images.


  1. Wonder if the 57 inch height is a nod to Heinz 57, or coincidence?

    1. Good question. The 57 in their slogan was certainly well established when the car was built.

  2. That. Car. IS. Awesome!

  3. My girlfriend said "It looks like Cruella DeVille and Batman got together and made a car baby." I think she likes it.

  4. I wish I could own and drive one now! It looks much better than anything out there today other than the Bently Sport.

  5. Was it available in any other colour?


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