Phantom Corsair
& collect
The Phantom Corsair was designed in 1937 by 23-year old Rust Heinz of the H. J. Heinz family and Maurice Schwartz of the Bohman & Schwartz coachbuilding company in Pasadena, California. Having moved to California in 1936, Rust Heinz persuaded his aunt to fund the car in the face of protest from the rest of the Heinz family. Bohman & Schwartz started with a custom chassis from the AJ. Bayer Company that used a donor Cord 812 drive train complete with its complex front-wheel drive sub-frame and V8 engine. On top of this they fashioned Heinz’s extravagant body in aluminum and supported it with a steel tube lattice framework. Promotion included a full page ad issued in Esquire magazine, a display named it ‘The Car of Tomorrow’ at the World’s Fair and it played the role of ‘The Flying Wombat’ in David O. Selznick’s film ´The Young in Heart´ (1938). The dashboard had an unusual array of aeronautical instrumentation and a switch panel mounted on the roof. Other unique features included push-button automatic doors, ‘thermostatic’ temperature control, green-tinted safety glass, hydraulic bumpers, and a thick layer of cork/rubber insulation for the cockpit. Rust Heinz planned to put the Phantom Corsair into limited production at an estimated selling price of $12,500. However, Heinz´s death in a car accident at age 25 ended those plans, leaving the prototype Corsair as the only one ever built. The Phantom Corsair has remained in the National Automobile Museum, formerly known as The Harrah Collection, in Reno, Nevada.
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