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Story of the Week

By Robert Tate, Award-Winning Automotive Historian and Researcher
Images Courtesy of the Stellantis North America Archives, Vlad Radu Auto Evolution, Steven Juliano
Published 6.12.2024

The 1970 Dodge Diamante in white Steven Juliano 7The 1970 Dodge Diamante (Steven Juliano)

Sometimes working in automotive history, you research a concept that is rarely talked about or a vehicle totally forgotten. The Diamante was a show car introduced by the Dodge division of Chrysler in 1970. It was equipped with a 426 Hemi engine along with a very stylish interior that was great to look at during its unveiling at various auto shows around the country.

1969 Dodge Yellow Jacket show car Stellantis North America Archives CROPPED AND RESIZED 11969 Dodge Yellow Jacket show car, predecessor of the Diamante (Stellantis North America Archives)

Dodge made automotive history when they introduced the popular Challenger in 1970. It proved to be a huge success for Dodge.  

The 1969 Dodge Yellow Jacket introduced at the Detroit Auto Show Stellantis North America Archives 2The 1969 Dodge Yellow Jacket introduced at the Detroit Auto Show (Stellantis North America Archives) 

The Diamante concept was developed in the Dodge studio at Chrysler Corporation in the late 1960s and designed to compete with the popular Chevrolet Corvette from General Motors. The Diamante was modified from a previous show car called the” Yellow Jacket.” The Diamante made its debut at the 1971 Detroit Auto Show. It was originally painted in a Pearl White Diamond coat that became very popular among Dodge enthusiasts.

The 1970 Dodge Diamante concept Vlad Radu Stellantis North America Archives RESIZED 3The 1970 Dodge Diamante concept (Vlad Radu & Stellantis North America Archives)

The Dodge Diamante was well-received by the public and drew large crowds and attention from many automotive magazines. After touring the auto show circuit, the Diamante’s paint job was unfortunately damaged due to all the movement and repeated handling. It required a complete paint makeover. The show car was sent to George Busti of Creative Customs for the new paint job. They chose a Candy Orange color. Initially, Dodge was not happy with the color, but the Candy Orange paint job ended up being a huge success thoroughly enjoyed by the car’s enthusiasts. Automotive historians reported that the new color drew even larger crowds to see the Diamante concept.

The 1970 Dodge Diamante in Candy Orange Vlad Radu Stellantic North America Archives RESIZED 4The 1970 Dodge Diamante in Candy Orange (Vlad Radu & Stellantic North America Archives)

Tom A. McPherson, the author of “The Dodge Story,” said at the time, “Making the show circuit this year was the futuristic Dodge Diamante dream car. This unusual vehicle was a test bed for several styling features later seen on production cars.” By 1974, the Dodge Diamante show car was retired from the auto show circuit and placed in storage.   

The Dodge Diamante interior Vlad Radu Stellantis North America Archives RESIZED 5The Dodge Diamante interior (Vlad Radu & Stellantis North America Archives)

Later, the Dodge Diamante concept was auctioned off and sold a number of times by car collectors over the years. Recently, the Diamante was sold to Dodge enthusiast Steven Juliano, who would restore it back to its original Pearl White Diamond color.

A rear view of the 1970 Dodge Diamante Vlad Radu Stellantis North America 6A rear view of the 1970 Dodge Diamante (Vlad Radu & Stellantis North America)

The 1970 Dodge Diamante was a great looking concept, and many automotive enthusiasts and historians really appreciated its design. As it traveled the auto show circuit, the display featured a million dollars’ worth of real diamonds, which drew large crowds and received extensive media coverage. Today, I don’t think any car companies would use real diamonds as part of an automotive exhibit.

The 1970 Dodge Diamante in white Steven Juliano 8The 1970 Dodge Diamante in white (Steven Juliano)

In conclusion, the Dodge Diamante was a show car that most automotive historians seldom spoke about, however, the concept model will always be a part of Dodge history and looked upon fondly by generations to come.

Bibliography

Radu, Vlad. “Dodge Diamante: Mopar’s Forgotten 426 Hemi-powered Two-Seat Challenger.” Auto Evolution News, May 28, 2024.

Erdman, Bill and Jenkins, Jeremy. “The 1970 Dodge Diamante.” Motor Trend Magazine, August 1, 2000.

McPherson, Thomas A. “The Dodge Story.” Crestline Publishing, 1975.

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