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Chrysler's Cult Cars Gain Classic Fame


Chrysler has made hundreds of models of automobiles for nearly a century. Many are considered enduring classics that will stand the test of time among the greatest to ever roll off an assembly line.

Then you have the cult classics, those cars that weren't the biggest sellers or the most popular on the showroom floor, but they made an impact on the general public in their own unmatched way. Chrysler put these vehicles on the market, but they never quite caught on with the mainstream for whatever reason—yet their names are still whispered in those far corners of antique fandom.

These are the models collectors still try to track down today in the parking lots of auto shows and luxury auctions “from sea to shining sea.” Here are four of the classics that reached cult status for Chrysler.

1941 Chrysler Newport Phaeton

The 1941 Chrysler Newport Phaeton lead the way in innovation, design, and style, moving away from the more practical automobiles being built after the first World War. Their frontrunner was the company's Newport Phaeton, of which only six were ever made. It housed a 143hp 323-cubic-inch inline eight-cylinder engine and three-speed overdrive Vacamatic transmission along with four-wheel drum brakes.

It was rushed into production in 1940, so it could be revealed at the auto shows the following year. When it was released, it became the official pace car of the 1941 Indianapolis 500 and Lana Turner owned one of the few models that were ever released. Only five still exist today and one of those recently sold at auction for a cool $687,500.

1967 Chrysler Imperial

The 1967 Imperial marked the company's switch to the unibody C-body platform that would later be a major component of larger size Mopar vehicles. Produced from 1955-1975, the Imperial was one of the longest automobiles ever produced — measuring longer than 18 feet. Its low roof clearance gave the car an even more elongated profile.

The Imperial came with some pretty cool features; the most unique among them were the front passenger seat that could swivel 180 degrees and a convertible desk that unfolded from the back seat so you could turn the car into a mobile workspace.

1974 Dodge Monaco

Another C-body platform was the Dodge Monaco, which went through five generations of design from 1965 to 1978 and made a brief reappearance in the 1990s. Still, the '74 Monaco remains the cult classic design that is sought after the most.

As a huge gas guzzler, it was not a very popular automobile in the wake of the 1973 OPEC oil embargo as gas prices shot up exponentially. The Monaco did, however, become well-known as a police vehicle; so well-known, in fact, the car was selected as the Bluesmobile in the 1980 cult classic film The Blues Brothers.

1992 Dodge Viper

The Only 200 Dodge Vipers were built in initial production year of the vehicle. That production would multiply ten-fold the following year, and the Viper became one of the few vehicles created that could realistically compete with the likes of the Chevy Corvette and the Shelby Cobra.

Today, the 1992 Viper is sought out the most by many collectors because it is equipped with an aluminum V-10 engine capable of 400 horses, which was an incredible amount of unprecedented power in that era. Buyers were also impressed by the body design since it liked something out of a sci-fi movie from the distant future. Seated in the Viper, the riders knew they were beholding a truly unique automobile.

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