Dodge Firearrow III Concept

In 1953, Dodge unveiled the Firearrow, a sleek, out-of-this-world roadster that provided a glimpse of what everyone’s new automobile would look like in just a few years. While it did indeed look like it was ready to drive the highways of tomorrow, it was just a rolling concept display model and had no running gear, unlike the majority of Chrysler’s other concept cars of the early 1950s. Public enthusiasm was strong enough that approval was given to design and build an actual running prototype, resulting in Firearrow II. Taking many styling cues from the first static model, this car also won acclaim fuelling speculation that a limited-production version would soon follow.

The visual impact of the new Dodge Firearrow III was impressive, a skilful combination of sheet metal, chrome, glass and paint, which represented a quantum leap forward in styling. Up front, its most notable feature was the smartly styled chrome grille fitted into a rectangular opening with concave vertical slats acting as air intakes. Four headlights, two standard hi-lo sealed-beam bulbs paired with smaller high-intensity driving lamps mounted to the outside, were placed in a recess on the centerline from which a defining trim line radiated, lending a most distinctive look. A pair of neat chrome bumperettes was mounted under the main lights, with two nearly concealed parking/turn signal lights mounted to the outer edges.

Peaked blade-like accents acted as a mid-level belt-line starting at the leading edges of the front fenders, wrapping around and continuing down the entire length of the body. A pair of handcrafted and functional chrome exhaust pipes produced an inspiring throaty rumble even at idle, with outlets routed through each rear quarter-panel. No detail was overlooked, with even the rear panel treated to custom touches including a broad, rearward-sloping trunk lid operated by a concealed pushbutton, while the taillights were carefully mounted into the trailing edges of the rear fins. Back-up lights were flush-mounted in the chrome-plated rear license plate holder, which was flanked by chrome bumperettes. Unlike European sports cars of the day, the wheel openings were flat towards the top, not the usual full-radius cutouts, while fashionable wide whitewall tires were mounted on chrome wire wheels with simulated “knock-off” centers.

Generous amounts of glass were utilized, starting with the steeply raked windshield, providing excellent visibility in concert with ample side glass and a large wrap-around backlight, which was one of the largest single pieces of glass used in any car up to that time.

Despite standing less than five feet high, the interior of the Firearrow III was quite spacious for the driver and passenger alike, starting with plush adjustable leather seats featuring Opal Blue bolsters and white leather inserts. The interior decor also reflected the car’s futuristic design theme with easy-to-operate controls within reach, and modern amenities including a fully functional heater-defroster system and top-of-the-line pushbutton radio. Heavy-pile carpeting padded the floor, and another important appointment was included – a large ashtray between the front seats.

This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in January of 2009 at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, Phoenix, Arizona and in August of 2011 at the Portola Hotel & Spa and Monterey Conference Center, Monterey, California.

150 bhp, 241 cu. in. Hemi-head OHV V-8 engine, PowerFlite automatic transmission, independent front suspension with coil springs, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and Safe-Guard four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 119".

Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Darin Schnabel

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