MotorCities National Heritage Area
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By Robert Tate, Automotive Historian and Researcher
Images Courtesy of the Chrysler Archives
Published 8.19.2020

1995 Chrysler Atlantic concept on display at the Walter Chrysler Museum RESIZED 11995 Chrysler Atlantic concept on display at the Walter Chrysler Museum

One of the most popular and exciting automotive designs introduced during the 1990s was the Chrysler Atlantic concept model designed by Bob Hubbach. A talented designer, Hubbach was inspired by the Bugatti Atlantique coupe from the 1930s.

Bob Hubbach designer of the Chrysler Atlantic concept 2Bob Hubbach, designer of the Chrysler Atlantic concept

The vehicle's origin was traced to a sketch drawn on a napkin by Chrysler President Robert Lutz and Tom Gale, who were directly involved with the model from sketch idea to design reality. Personally, I always thought that the Chrysler Atlantic concept was one of the best post-World War II designs of all time. Chief designer Tom Gale had hoped the model would go into production.

Color illustration of the Chrysler Atlantic concept by Bob Hubbach RESIZED 3Color illustration of the Chrysler Atlantic concept by Bob Hubbach

During the 1990s, Chrysler made some remarkable automotive advances in design and technology. The Chrysler Atlantic concept was powered by a straight-eight engine with four cylinders on each side all in line. The Atlantic straight-eight engine was two 2.0-liter Neon four-cylinder engines joined together. For many years, automotive enthusiasts and consumers admired the model’s upright grille, long hood, short deck and pontoon fenders. Many automotive enthusiasts said the model was “drawing on classic designs from the past.” However, the 1995 Chrysler Atlantic concept was just not practical to manufacture because of the production was just too high. For that reason, the project was cancelled.

1995 Chrysler Atlantic concept side view on display at Chrysler Museum RESIZED 41995 Chrysler Atlantic concept side view on display at Chrysler Museum

Chrysler design chief Tom Gale said, “We did the Atlantic because it was just so outrageous.” The Atlantic concept dazzled crowds everywhere and, even today, people still have very fond memories of it. The model also offered leather seating for four passengers and featured a modern all-steel unitized construction, four-wheel independent suspension, four-wheel power disc brakes and the same autostick transmission available on DaimlerChrysler factory automobiles at the time.

Rear view of the 1995 Chrysler Atlantic concept 5Rear view of the 1995 Chrysler Atlantic concept

In the 1990s, Chrysler was creating fresh new models for the consumer market and introducing great looking concept models that the public really admired and enjoyed. The Chrysler Atlantic concept front engine rear wheel drive was one of their most popular concept models and is still making appearances today. It has a timeless design appeal and was also used for advertising and package labeling for a variety of car care products sold all over the world.

1995 Chrysler Atlantic concept interior RESIZED 61995 Chrysler Atlantic concept interior

In conclusion, the Chrysler Atlantic concept, designed by Bob Hubbach, was displayed at the Walter Chrysler Museum in Auburn Hills for many years. Hubbach had an automotive portfolio of other great designs, including the original Viper, the Dodge Copperhead and the world famous 1994 Dodge Caravan. He joined Chrysler’s design staff in 1967 and retired in February 2001. His great automotive designs will always be a part of our automotive history, including the Chrysler Atlantic concept.

1995 Chrysler Atlantic rear view RESIZED 71995 Chrysler Atlantic rear view

 An illustration with three views of the 1995 Chrysler Atlantic concept RESIZED 8An illustration with three views of the 1995 Chrysler Atlantic concept

Bibliography

DeLorenzo, Matt. “Modern Chrysler Concept Cars: the Designs That Saved the Company.” MBI Publishing, 2000.

Adler, Dennis. “Chrysler DeSoto Plymouth Imperial Foreword by Thomas C. Gale.”

Hoeschen, Kenny. “Concepts from Future Past: 1995 Chrysler Atlantic.” January 26, 2015.