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August 22, 2019
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Virgil Exner – Visioneer: The official biography of Virgil M. Exner, designer extraordinaire

Virgil Exner – Visioneer: The official biography of Virgil M. Exner, designer extraordinaire

By Peter Grist
About the Author

25x20.7cm • 176 pages • 336 pictures

ISBN: 978-1-845848-63-7

£ 25.00 Postage + P&P (eBook prices vary, and delivery is free)

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First book ever written about the subject
Covers his whole life, from birth to death
Offers unseen family photos and paintings
Covers the history of industrial design and development of automobile & powerboat styling
Clarifies rumours and speculation on historic events
Shows rarely seen pictures and period adverts
Written in plain unpretentious English, and easy to follow
Extended captions with the images
Foreword by Virgil M. Exner Jnr


An in-depth look at the last of the great auto designers of the 20th Century, his glorious achievements and personal tragedies. With many previously unseen works of art and family photos among the 150 colour images throughout, this is a unique and fascinating insight into a pivotal player in the development of the modern automobile.


The story of a man that brought his own personal style to the world of industrial design, from automobiles to powerboats. Some 50 years after his design masterpieces wrested styling leadership away from General Motors - Harley Earl. Thirty four years after his untimely death, Virgil Exner’s name still remains inexorably linked to the Chrysler Corporation in the minds of car enthusiasts worldwide. For an all too brief period, Exner’s name epitomised all that was great and exciting in America. His thrilling automobile designs from the mid-fifties took the world by storm and put Chrysler at the top. His work was nothing less than a revolution. Until the mid-fifties, engineers, creating cars that were reliable but invariably staid and conservative, had dominated auto design. Exner introduced to Chrysler, firstly with his ‘idea cars’ then with production models, vehicles that were wanted for their looks but at the same time, were soundly engineered; automobiles that carried classic proportions and gave the illusion of movement even whilst stationary. His design of the 1947 Studebaker established the design pattern for all modern cars and was a huge success. Along with automobile styling, his talents stretched to many other areas of industrial design, from trains to trucks and boats to Buicks. This book gets behind the character of the man, his strengths and weaknesses, his personal tragedies and his vision of modern transport. Uncover why he set up in competition with Raymond Loewy, get the real facts behind historic inaccuracies and why he was made scapegoat for the sales disaster of the early sixties, Then delight in his fine artwork and his love of motor racing. With many previously unseen works of art and family photos among the 150 colour images throughout this is a unique and fascinating insight into a pivotal player in the development of the modern automobile.

Covers the following models and individuals:

1914 roadster, 1916 tourer, 1918 tourer, 1918 Ambulance, 1924 roadster, 1928 Victory Six, 1932 DL sedan, 1937 D5, 1942 Deluxe, 1951 Chrysler New Yorker, 1953 Coronet, 1953 Diplomat , 1954 Firearrow, 1954 Pace car , 1955 Custom Royal, 1956 Custom Royal, 1956 D-500, 1956 D-500-1, 1957 Coronet, 1958 Custom Royal , 1959 Custom Royal, 1960 Dart, 1960 Polara, 1961 Dart, 1961 Lancer, 1961 Polara, 1961 Flitewing, 1962 Dart, 1962 Lancer, 1962 Polara, 1963 330 , 1963 440 , 1963 Lancer, 1964 Dart, 1964 Charger, 1965 Dart, 1965 Coronet , 1965 Charger II, 1966 Dart, 1966 Coronet, 1966 Polara, 1966 Charger, 1967 Coronet, 1967 Dart, 1967 Charger , 1968 Daroo I , 1968 Dart, 1968 Coronet, 1968 Charger, 1969 Coronet, 1969 Charger, 1969 Dart, 1969 Daytona, 1969 Dart Swinger, 1970 Challenger , 1970 Coronet , 1970 Charger , 1970 Dart, 1970 Yellow Jacket, 1971 Challenger, 1971 Charger, 1971 Demon, 1971 Diamante, 1972 Coronet, 1972 Challenger, 1972 Charger, 1972 Dart, 1973 Challenger, 1973 Charger, 1974 Challenger, 1974 Dart, 1978 Aspen R/T, 1982 Challenger, 1985 Omni Charger, 1986 Daytona, 1987 Shelby Charger, 1988 Intrepid, 1989 Viper RT/10 , 1991 Stealth, 1991 Neon concept , 1992 Daytona, 1992 Viper RT/10, 1993 Intrepid, 1993 Viper GTS, 1994 Neon, 1994 Venom, 1995 Avenger, 1995 Dakota, 1995 Neon, 1996 Stealth, 1996 Stratus, 1996 Viper GTS-R, 1996 Viper RT/10, 1996 Viper GTS , 1997 Copperhead, 1997 Viper GTS-R, 1998 Neon R/T, 1999 Charger, 1999 Daytona, 1999 Viper GTS-R, 2000 Neon, 2000 Stratus, 2000 Avenger, 2000 Viper GTS-R, 2001 Intrepid, 2001 Neon SRT, 2001 Neon, 2001 Stratus, 2001 Super8 Hemi, 2001 Viper GTS-R, 2002 Viper GTS, 2002 Viper SRT10, 2003 Avenger, 2003 Magnum, 2003 Razor, 2003 SRT-4, 2003 Tomahawk, 2003 Viper Competition Coupé, 2004 Magnum, 2004 Slingshot, 2005 Stratus, 2005 Viper, 2006 Caliber, 2006 Challenger, 2006 Charger, 2006 Hornet, 2007 Avenger R/T, 2007 Challenger, 2007 Charger Daytona, 2008 Avenger, Ambulance 1918, Baker, Buddy , Bell, Justin, Bullitt, Chrysler, Walter, Dodge brothers badge, Dodge, John, Dodge, Horace, Donohue, David , Dunn, Mike, Eames, Danny, Eckstrand, Al , Exner, Virgil, Faubel, Bud, Garlits, Don, General Lee, Harrop, Bobby, Hamtramck factory, Hemi engine (Chrysler), Hemi engine (Dodge), Keller, K T, Kiekhaefer, Karl, Krause, ‘Mr Norm’, Landy, Dick, Lindamood, Roger, Lutz, Bob , Lyons, Edward, Mozer, Herman, Mundy, Frank, Newburg, William, Panch, Marvin, Petty, Lee, Petty, Richard, Ramchargers, Scat Pack, Shelby, Carroll, Thatcher, Norman, Torsion-Aire suspension, Thornton, Jim, Yarbrough, Lee Roy, Zeder, James C

Independent Reviews

A fascinating and instructive read, you'll learn a lot and probably never look at one of Chrysler's early Sixties oddballs the same way again. Recommended.
American Car magazine

Richly illustrated ... entertaining and easy to read.
British Classics

Profusely illustrated in both colour and black and white, this is a terrific book about a remarkable man.
Classic American

A very complete story, and there is a lot to tell … I recommend that you buy [this] book.
Veloce Today

Richly illustrated … entertaining and easy to read.
British Classics

Reviews for the previous edition:

Wow! Masterfully Peter Grist weaves the triumphant, inspirational, and tragic in the telling of the Exner story. Illustrations, many never before published, are bright threads in this tapestry. As a photographic essay of Exner's life and work, this book is nothing short of stunning. Add well-researched text and you have a first rate study of one of the American automotive industries greatest innovators in the post-war period.
Cars & Parts magazine

This is a book that goes under the skin and into the mind of a legendary stylist and his creations. It is an intuitive and beautifully illustrated work that belongs on every auto enthusiast's book shelf.
Car Collector magazine

This very readable biography of one of America's most influential automotive designers introduces you to the politics and personal dramas that shaped the cars of the fifties and sixties ... It's as much a book for enthusiasts of design and aesthetics as it is for American car fans.
Classic Cars

If the evolution of the automobile in the US is of interest, you will find this biography quite fascinating. The book does not reflect only the good times, covering for example the death of Exner's son Brian, but nevertheless comes highly recommended.
Australian Classic Car

There are many sketches and photographs throughout the book detailing Exner's career ... the book's early chapters offers many colour photographs from Exner's time with Studebaker and Loewy.
Avanti magazine

... I found this official biography exceptionally interesting, a long overdue and well-illustrated, complete life story of one of the most important designers of the 1950s and '60s.
The Automobile

This is a highly personal and well-researched account of a styling legend.
Classic & Sports Car

Tribute to a design genius. When journalist Peter Grist realised that all his favourite cars had been designed by Exner, he was astonished to find that no one had written a biography of Exner's life. He has now put that right.
Freedom magazine

A must-read not only for Chrysler Corp. fans, but all fans of good automobile design.
Old Cars Weekly

... an extensive look at one of the great auto designers of the twentieth century. Author Peter Grist does an exceptional job of showing Virgil M. Exner's contributions to automotive design in its historical setting.

Veloce's trademark use of big, colourful illustrations is appropriate for his subject's glitzy, showbiz style, Grist has worked hard to round out Exner's persona ...

We can only say: this book is top class and belongs in every car library.
Oldtimer/Dreamcar magazine

This is not a paean to the tailfin. If you think it is, you're just underscoring why this book is so important. Delights abound. The hobby needs books like these more than cud-regurgitated marque histories. It's great, and an essential for Chrysler historians.
Hemmings Classic Car

Additional Information

Exner was the last of the Great American automobile designers, responsible for the design pattern for all modern cars.

The first book ever written about Exner, quashing theories and historic inaccuracies about “the Elvis of the automobile world”.

This book gets behind the image with many previously unseen works of art and family photos.


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