A Great Memory from Amelia Island, 2020

3 of 3: The Scimitars Reunited
Highlights from the 25th Annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance
The three Scimitar prototypes were reunited at the 25th Annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. Photo: Deremer Studios, LLC.
Industrial designer Brooks Stevens might be best remembered for the clever, low-cost product makeovers he performed for independent automakers. But sometimes he allowed his talents to run free with more wide-open and speculative projects such as the three Scimitar cars he designed and built for Olin Aluminum.
The idea was conceived as a marketing vehicle to suggest functional and decorative applications for aluminum use in automobiles. The three Scimitar models were crafted by Karosseriewerk Reuter of Stuttgart, Germany and first exhibited at the 1959 Geneva Motor Show.
The 1959 Scimitar Hard Top Convertible (left) displayed by The Petersen Automotive Museum.
Photo: Deremer Studios, LLC/Joshua Sweeney
The 1959 Hard Top Convertible model includes a metal roof that fully retracts into the trunk space. The car is built on a 1959 Chrysler New Yorker chassis with a 413 CID V8 engine and Torqueflite automatic transmission. The body utilizes removable aluminum anodized quarter panels for aesthetics and reduced maintenance. The grille, bumpers, trim, wheel discs, and many interior treatments are of brushed and anodized aluminum.
The 1959 Scimitar Town Car Phaeton (far left) was displayed by Cathy and Jerry Gauche.
Photo: Deremer Studios, LLC.
The 1959 Town Car Phaeton is believed to be the only town car ever built with a rigid roof that can be retracted into the trunk. Steven’s Phaeton can be configured either as an enclosed sedan, a fully open four-door convertible sedan or an open front town car.
To transform the Phaeton from a sedan into a town car, the driver actuates a switch on the dashboard and the roof retracts into a hollow area between the headliner and the metal skin in the rear roof section. Actuating the switch again will automatically open the rear-hinged deck and then raise the rear roof section and lower it into the trunk area.
1959 Scimitar EX All-Purpose Sedan displayed by National Automobile Museum (The Harrah Collection) Photos: Deremer Studios, LLC./Marty V Photography
The 1959 Scimitar EX All-Purpose Sedan (Station Wagon) was designed as an all purpose family vehicle and it incorporated a sliding roof panel over the cargo area, a feature Stevens would later adapt for the Studebaker Wagonaire. When open, the vehicle was able to transport tall objects such as furniture or appliances.
Scimitar details. Photo: Deremer Studios, LLC./Steve Robertson
Apart from the prototypes, The Scimitars were never produced or offered for sale to the public. Residing in collections around the United States, the three vehicles were reunited on March 8, 2020 at the 25th Annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance providing, for many, the only chance to experience Steven’s trio together in one place.
Thanks to the Petersen Automotive Museum, the National Automotive Museum (The Harrah Collection) and Cathy and Jerry Gauche for sharing these rare and exciting vehicles with us.
What interesting vehicles will Bill Warner and the crew unite for next year’s event? We look forward to seeing you March 4-7, 2021, at the 26th Annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.
About The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance
THE AMELIA will be held March 4-7, 2021 at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island and The Golf Club of Amelia Island. For the Amelia’s full events schedule, including Saturday’s Cars & Coffee at the Concours and Sunday’s premier Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, visit www.ameliaconcours.org. The show’s Foundation has donated over $3.5 million to Community Hospice & Palliative Care, Spina Bifida of Jacksonville and other charities on Florida’s First Coast since its inception in 1996.
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