The 2007 Chrysler Nassau concept car

This vehicle, designed to vaguely resemble classic British sports cars - or at least so Chrysler reps said - can do 0-60 in 5.1 seconds, making it phenomenally quick for a car with a 120 inch wheelbase. Within the instrument panel is a three-layer screen, which allows the simultaneous display of the navigation, passenger entertainment and vehicle function displays. 

2008 chrysler nassau concept car

This is a very different car from the original Chrysler Nassau concept.

Styling talk

The Chrysler Nassau concept is, according to Alan Barrington, principal exterior designer, “a more emotional and artistic articulation of what it means to be a Chrysler. ... Traditional exterior proportions have been enhanced with a silhouette that recalls the classic English ‘shooting brake. This provides SUV-like interior volume with a lower, more roadworthy physique. In order to attain a more compact appearance, the Nassau has deliberately concise front and rear overhangs, with the body surface wrapped around the large 10-spoke 21-inch wheels.”

chrysler concept cars

The sill and the lower portions of the front and rear fascias are finished in Starbright Silver. The lower surface of the body is defined by a subtle undercut that rises slightly toward the rear wheel. Though the arc of the roof resembles a coupe, the Chrysler Nassau concept is a four-door hardtop with front and rear side glass that retracts fully, with no above-the-belt B-pillar. The crisp but fluid A-line closes slightly against the rising belt.

“We sought to capture the effect of a classic sculpture – an artistic approach with a shapely flowing of lines that give the impression of movement even while standing still,“ Barrington said. “The line in the profile draws down and into the taillamp, leading the eye of the observer toward to the dramatic back end which creates its unexpected ‘shooting brake’ appearance.”

front - chrysler nassauThe upper portion of the rear hatch is steeply raked, with the back light swept cleanly around to the C-pillars.  The lower portion of the tapering back light glass is pulled rearward. The flanking taillamps are the reverse of the headlamps, with the lenses growing wider as they sweep around to the side, with the bright accent along the bottom of the lens. Much of the lens is populated by rows of bright rectangles set in a red field, to delineate the surface of the rear quarters when the lamps are unlit. Exterior lighting is visually distinctive with the use of atypical textures, colors and LED technology.

Fronting the long hood is a new interpretation of the eggcrate Chrysler grille, rendered in chrome and satin aluminum. Bracketing the grille and sweeping rearward nearly to the wheel openings, the long, narrowing headlamps and their upper chrome brows combine with the rising sculptured line of the upper fascia to evoke the uplifted wings of the Chrysler badge.
The Chrysler Nassau’s lower fascia is accented by the long chrome brows of the tapering left and right fog lamps.  The plan view of the Nassau highlights the dramatic swept-back curves that define both the front and rear fascias.

The interior has flowing seamless sculpture composed of leathers and fabrics derived from futuristic architectural interiors “We looked carefully at space efficiency,” said Ben Chang, principal designer of the Nassau’s luxurious interior. “We pushed the interior surfaces outboard to increase the space inside while individual bucket seating provides each of the four occupants personal space.

nassau controls

“The look of various components inside the vehicle was inspired by the design of contemporary cell phones, computers, iPods and MP3 players,” Chang added. “We paid close attention to the graphics and finishes of these technologically advanced products, seeking to make controls in the Nassau’s interior that the driver interfaces with similar to what you’d find in the office or among personal electronic devices. We strived to achieve a seamless interface between your car and the rest of your electronic world.”

chrysler nassauThe instrument panel is a showcase for new technologies in data display, personal control interface, and home theater-inspired entertainment. Gear selection is accomplished via a pod control mounted on the instrument panel while the steering wheel incorporates auxiliary paddle shifters. 

“The look of the instrument cluster was based on an expensive watch, again because we sought to create a visible connection with what people have and use,” Chang said.

At the auto show, we spoke with Ben Chang. We asked for the source of inspiration on the instrument panel, and he showed us his watch, to which it indeed bore a strong resemblance. He said he was not influenced by the Lexus IS, which was also watch-influenced. As for whether it could make it into production, he didn't see any real obstacles in terms of cost or materials; it was a decision that would have to be made through normal channels. Ben also designed the climate control knobs - with the chrome rings and integral buttons - we've admired on other Dodge designs, which appear to be making their way through the entire product line. We found Ben to be very friendly and unaffected, as indeed other Chrysler stylists have been in our brief interchanges.

The shape of the upper instrument panel was inspired by Constantin Brancusi’s Bird in Space sculptures.  Brancusi, an artist based in Paris from the 1920s to the 1940s, was preoccupied by physical attributes of birds in flight.  The theme fits perfectly with the vehicle’s goal of giving the constant impression of smooth, slender movement. 

2008 nassau photos

Sandwiched between the upper and lower surfaces of the instrument panel are partially-concealed horizontal vents that direct cool air into the cabin.

The four bucket seats are covered in cream-colored leather, with the suede accents in a fine bamboo texture, a theme repeated on the door trim panels. Occupants can gaze upward through twin “Picture View” skylights, longitudinal blue-tinted glass panels that run the length of the roof panel. Those in the rear seats can enjoy a movie displayed on the flush video screens incorporated into the rear-facing portion of each of the front seat headrests.     

Running fore-aft between the seats is a center console with a satin silver trim strip that travels from the instrument panel center stack to the upper rear seat backs. Set within the console are the front and rear “joy stick” controls designed to function much like the “mouse” control of a home or office computer. Power window switches and flush-mounted pop-up cup holders are also contained in the console.

chrysler nassau concept

Among the more interesting visual details within the Deep Mystic Blue and Cream interior are the refined-yet-simple chrome accents and textures used on the silver speaker grilles on the doors, seat back monitors, headliner and foot pedals. Behind the passenger cabin, the surface of the boat tail-shaped cargo cover is accented with five stainless steel accent strips, while panels in the carpeted cargo area below offer additional storage.

FOR MORE PHOTOS AND SUCH, see our 2007 NAIAS coverage and our 2007 New York show coverage

Our chat with the designers

introducing the stylists

We spoke with Ben S. Chang, senior designer and the man responsible for the interior of the Avenger as well as the Nassau show car. First, we asked for the source of inspiration on the Nassau’s watch-like instrument panel, and he showed us his watch, to which it indeed bore a strong resemblance. He said he was not influenced by the original Lexus IS, which was also watch-influenced, but by his own watch. As for whether it could make it into production, he didn't see any real obstacles in terms of cost or materials; it was a decision that would have to be made through normal channels. Ben also designed the climate control knobs - with the chrome rings and integral buttons - we've admired on other Dodge designs, which appear to be making their way through the entire product line. We found Ben to be very friendly and unaffected, as indeed other Chrysler stylists have been in our brief interchanges.

Hemi engine

Chrysler Nassau performance and specs

0-60 mph

5 seconds

  Weight

4500 lbs (est)

Standing 1/4 Mile

13.5 seconds

Length

196.1” (4981 mm)

Top speed

165 mph

Wheelbase

120” (3050 mm)

Range

380 miles

Front overhang

37” (940mm)

Engine

6.1L HEMI

Rear overhang

39” (991 mm)

Horsepower

425 hp @ 6200 rpm,

Width

74.2” (1885 mm)

Torque

420 ft. lb @ 4800 rpm

Height

58.9” (1496 mm)

Drivetrain

RWD, WA580 5-speed auto

Track front/rear

63.8”/65.5”

Suspension

Front Short-Long Arm
Rear 5-link

Turn circle

38.7 ft (11.8m)

Tire size

P245/40R22 29.7 inch

Wheels

22 x 8.5


venomConcept cars are often made so a car’s feel can be evaluated, problems can be foreseen, and reactions of the public can be judged. Some concepts test specific ideas, colors, controls, or materials — either subtle or out of proportion, to hide what’s being tested. Some are created to help designers think “out of the box.” The Challenger, Prowler, PT Cruiser, and Viper were all tested as production-based concepts dressed up to hide the production intent.


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