- The Phantom Corsair is a one-of-a-kind, world-renowned automobile.
- It was designed by Rust Heinz of Heinz ketchup fame.
- Its aerodynamic design was far ahead of its time with an aluminum body and no running boards, fenders or door handles.
- Four persons sat across the front seat (one to the left of the driver against the door) and two in the back seat, facing the rear.
This very unusual six-passenger coupe was designed by Rust Heinz, a member of the H.J. Heinz (57 Varieties) family. The design was a joint effort of Heinz and Maurice Schwartz of the custom body firm Bohman & Schwartz in Pasadena, California. Heinz’s creation, costing approximately $24,000 in 1938, featured aerodynamic engineering, front-wheel drive, electric gear shift, four speeds forward and a Cord V-8 Lycoming engine, which was modified by Andy Granatelli. Approximate top speed was 115 mph.
Built on a modified Cord 810 chassis, the car’s lower frame was made of chrome molybdenum steel and the upper frame was constructed of electrically welded aviation steel tubing. The alloy steel and aluminum body had no running boards, fenders or door handles. The doors were opened at the touch of buttons located on the outside and on the instrument panel. The interior was padded throughout with cork and rubber for safety, sound proofing, and insulation.
In addition to the normal instruments found in a stock Cord panel there were oil temperature, manifold vacuum and fuel economizer gauges, battery charge level indicator, altimeter, barometer, and compass. Four persons sat across the front seat and two in the back seat, facing the rear.
Heinz planned to put the Phantom Corsair into limited production at an estimated selling price of $12,500. His death, however, shortly after the car was completed, ended those plans. This automobile was featured as the Flying Wombat in the 1938 movie, The Young in Heart, starring Paulette Goddard, Janet Gaynor, Billie Burke and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.