Chrysler has built a lot of concept cars over the years, but in 2007 the brand showcased a unique rear-wheel-drive coupe utilizing the popular British “shooting brake” design elements. Starting with the full-size 120-inch wheelbase from the Chrysler 300 Series, the 2007 Chrysler Nassau Concept appears more visually compact than the 300 Series.
The four-door, four-passenger Chrysler Nassau Concept luxury coupe explored a new expression of the Chrysler brand while combining refinement, function, and style. Though the arc of the roof which resembles a coupe, the Nassau was, in fact, a four-door hard-top. Nassau features front and rear side glass that retracted fully, revealing the absence of an above-the-belt B-pillar. The crisp but fluid A-line that closed slightly against the rising belt was also a design element highlight.
“Traditional exterior proportions have been enhanced with a silhouette that recalls the classic English ‘shooting brake,’” said Alan Barrington, principal exterior designer of the Nassau. “This provides SUV-like interior volume with a lower, more roadworthy physique,” Barrington said the exterior design vocabulary was fluid and sophisticated with special attention paid to wheel placement relative to the body surface for a sleek, toned stance. “In order to attain a more compact appearance,” explained Barrington, “the Nassau has deliberately concise front and rear overhangs, with the body surface wrapped around the large 10-spoke 21-inch wheels.”
Using a new Mystic Blue Pearl paint, the Nassau looked the part of a luxury car. Accenting the new paint, a Starbright Silver color was added to the sill as well as the lower portions of the front and rear fascias. The lower surface of the car’s body was defined by a subtle undercut that rises slightly towards the rear wheel.
“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 the dramatic back end which creates its unexpected ‘shooting brake’ appearance.”
Looking at the car from the side, the upper portion of the rear hatch was steeply raked with the rear glass swept cleanly around into the C-pillars. The lower portion of the tapering rear glass was pulled rearward. a treatment repeated in an upright surface of the lower part of the hatch. Flanking taillamps were graphically reversed of the car’s headlamps with the taillamp lenses growing wider as they wrapped around to the side of the car. The taillamp lenses utilize rows of bright rectangles set in a red field, which delineate the surface of the rear quarters when the lamps were unlit. The Nassau used distinctive atypical textures, colors, and LED technology in its exterior lighting.
The Nassau Concept also tested the waters of consumer feedback with its new interpretation of the egg crate Chrysler grille and winged badge, which were rendered in chrome and satin aluminum. At the time, the Chrysler brand was trying out a new brand identifying logo. A similar process was tried out on the 2009 Chrysler 200C EV Concept. Surrounding the grille and sweeping rearward nearly to the front wheel openings, which evoke the uplifted wings of the Chrysler badge. The front design of the car also features tapering left and right fog lamps, a detail replicated in the side mirrors.
Under the hood, the Chrysler Nassau Concept shared much of its running gear with the beloved Chrysler 300C SRT8. This means power came from a 6.1-liter SRT HEMI V8 and was backed by a 5-speed automatic transmission, which sent the HEMI’s 425 horsepower and 420 lb.-ft of torque to the Nassau’s rear wheels.
Inside, the Nassau featured luxury elements design to aspire a younger audience from the mid-2000s. The interior design theme featured seamless and flowing elements done in 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. 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.”
The instrument panel (IP) showcased some new technologies for the time, which included a new data display, personal control interface, and home theater-inspired entertainment. The driver could select gears using a “pod control mount” located on the IP or use paddle shifters on the steering wheels.
“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. While the instrument cluster has its own taut brow, the shape of the forward portion of the IP is sensuously sculpted. Housing the main cluster, the upper surface of the panel includes a wide asymmetrical elliptical opening.
The shape was inspired by Constantin Brancusi’s famous 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, or more specifically, the essence of flight. The theme fit with the vehicle’s goal of giving the constant impression of smooth, slender movement. Within the IP was a three-layer screen, which allows the simultaneous display of the navigation, passenger entertainment, and vehicle function displays.
Four formed bucket seats were covered in cream-colored leather, with the suede accents in a fine bamboo texture, a theme repeated on the door trim panels. Occupants could gaze upward through twin skylights, longitudinal blue-tinted glass panels that run the length of the roof panel. Those in the rear seats can enjoy video on the flush video screens incorporated into the rear-facing portion of each of the front seat headrests.
Running between both rows of seats was a center console with a satin silver trim strip that travels from the IP center stack to the upper rear seatbacks. Set within the console were front and rear “joystick” controls designed to function much like the “mouse” control of a computer. Power window switches and flush-mounted pop-up cup holders were also contained in the console.
Among other visual details inside the Deep Mystic Blue and Cream interior or the Nassau Concept were the refined-yet-simple chrome accents and textures used on the silver speaker grilles on the doors, seatback monitors, headliner and foot pedals.
Among the more interesting visual details within the Deep Mystic Blue and Cream interior were the refined-yet-simple chrome accents and textures used on the silver speaker grilles on the doors, seatback monitors, headliner and foot pedals.
The Chrysler Nassau Concept continues to make an appearance at various car shows and events and is currently part of the Chrysler Historical Collection and is housed at the FCA Conner Center.
2007 Chrysler Nassau Concept Image Gallery: