The Mystery Car — It’s Not an Edsel, It’s a Scimitar

March, 2020

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In the late 1950s, Olin Aluminum Company funded a project to build three concept cars to demonstrate that cars could potentially be constructed from aluminum.    Brooks Stevens, an accomplished industrial designer at the time, was commissioned to create the “what if” cars.  Using a Chrysler New Yorker chassis, three vehicles were built: a convertible, a sedan town car, and a wagon.   All the cars had the same color scheme, their darker body panels were made of steel and the lighter panels were made of brushed aluminum. 

The cars were named “Scimitar,” which was derived from the shape of a saber with a curved blade, similar to the car’s black side panel.  The wagon model has one of the more interesting features of the three.  It not only opens for loading cargo in the back, but  the top also opens to allow tall objects to be hauled in the rear —  a feature found on Studebaker wagons in the early 1960s.   Also, the convertible Scimitar has a hard top that stores in the trunk area, similar to the Ford Skyliner.    

The cars were built in Germany and were introduced to the public at the 1959 Geneva auto show.  After touring the show circuit in Europe, they were shipped to the U.S. and displayed at the 1961 Detroit auto show.  Soon after, the trio went their separate ways, going to a museum and to private owners. 

During the 25th anniversary of the Amelia Island Concours, the three vehicles were reunited on the show field.   See the photos from this reunion below.