1960 Plymouth XNR Concept at RM Auctions Pebble Beach


One-of-a-kind Plymouth concept built in Italy and lost in the Middle East up for auction in California.

American automakers were renowned for building outlandish concept cars in the 50s and 60s. Rarely do they ever come up for auction, but that's just what RM has in store for us at Pebble Beach this month. And to make matters more interesting, this particular show car has royal provenance. The car in question is the 1960 Plymouth XNR, designed by Chrysler styling legend Virgil Exner and built at Carrozzeria Ghia in Italy.

The XNR was fitted with a 250-horsepower 2.8-liter OHV slant-six mated to a three-speed manual transmission and was said to be capable of hitting 150 mph - a high speed for its day. Cartoonish as it was, Chrysler was never going to put it into production, and once it was done showing it off, the Auburn Hills automaker ended up shipping it back to the coachbuilder in Italy. The one-of-a-kind roadster was then bought and sold several times over until it ended up in the hands of the Shah of Iran prior to the Islamic revolution that deposed him. It then went MIA for a time until one Karim Edde located it in Beirut.

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Local youths found it in a garage just 200 meters from his home, and desperate not to let it disappear again, Edde purchased the unique Plymouth and hid it for the duration of the Lebanese civil war. After getting it out of the country in 2008, he sent it to Canada for a full restoration. On the concours circuit, XNR took home the Gran Turismo Award and Class Award at Pebble Beach last year, along with the Class Award at Amelia Island. The rare Plymouth is set to go under the hammer on August 18, and while RM Auctions won't disclose its estimate now, we'll find out how much it's worth once the gavel drops.