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The Plymouth XNR: One of a Kind, But Never Alone

It’s not every day you see a car that has traveled the world, and yet has only 4 miles on the odometer. And it’s even less often that you see this one, a one-off concept called the Plymouth XNR. This beauty was designed in 1960 by one Virgil Exner, who at the time was the vice-president in charge of styling at Chrysler.

The car was designed to be a single-seater most of the time, but it could also (apparently with some reluctance) carry a passenger, though the passenger seat sat lower than the driver’s and has a separate, smaller windshield. The XNR’s 170 cubic inch engine was capable of taking it to 152 MPH, which was no small feat in those days.

1960 Plymouth XNR

After making its rounds at various auto shows, the XNR began a long and perilous journey through Europe and the Middle East, before eventually ending up back in the states and getting a complete restoration. It was first sent back to the company that built it, who then sold it to a wealthy businessman in Switzerland.

Its next owner was no less than the Shah of Iran. It would then make a stopover in Kuwait, then move on to Beirut, Lebanon in the mid-70s, in the heat of a brutal civil war. The car remained hidden during this time, and had to be moved many times by its Beirut owner to keep it out of harm’s way throughout the 1980s.

1960 Plymouth XNR

After its restoration by the RM auction house, it went back to the show circuit, where it began life so long ago. In August of 2012 the XNR began yet another chapter in its storied life, when it was sold at an RM auction in California for $935,000. For a price like that, there’s no doubt the new owner has a deep appreciation of the hand of fate in keeping this car in existence.

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- AutoandArt staff