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2024

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.

By Brian Yopp, MotorCities Deputy Director
Images Courtesy of Jack Teetor and the Automotive Hall of Fame
Published 6.7.2024

By Robert Tate, Award-Winning Automotive Historian and Researcher
Images Courtesy of the GM Heritage Archives
Published 6.5.2024

1992 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray III design sketches GM Heritage Archives 21992 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray III design sketches (GM Heritage Archives)

One of the most stylish concept Corvette models that came out of the General Motors Technical Center was the 1992 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray III concept. This concept was created under the direction of Charles M. “Chuck” Jordan (1927-2010), who was a part of the GM design team for many years.

Charles M Jordan VP of GM Design staff 1986 1992 GM Heritage Archives RESIZED 1Charles M. Jordan, VP of GM Design staff 1986-1992 (GM Heritage Archives)

Throughout GM history, Jordan contributed many great designs to the company’s various brands that were very successful. The 1992 Corvette Sting Ray III concept was introduced in a black cherry color scheme that many fans really liked. I remember seeing the model when it first debuted and was very impressed with its futuristic styling. It offered a great looking front-end with angled headlight styling features.

Another 1992 Corvette Sting Ray III sketch GM Heritage Archives 3Another 1992 Corvette Sting Ray III sketch (GM Heritage Archives)

Some automotive historians have said that the 1992 Corvette Sting Ray III concept was reminiscent of the popular 1960s Corvette models. Jordan was very pleased that the Sting Ray III concept generated a lot of buzz and recognition when it was introduced at the 1992 Detroit Auto Show.  

A black and white aerial shot of the 1992 Corvette Sting Ray III concept GM Heritage Archives 4A black and white aerial shot of the 1992 Corvette Sting Ray III concept (GM Heritage Archives)

The Sting Ray III was designed by a GM stylist from its advanced concept center located in Southern California. Automotive historians have said that this concept was considered for production, however, its $300,000 price tag made that idea a responsible no.

The 1992 Corvette Sting Ray III design concept GM Heritage Archives 5The 1992 Corvette Sting Ray III design concept (GM Heritage Archives)

The concept was built using carbon fiber, which provided strength and flexibility. An adjustable steering wheel was added along with a great-looking sloping windshield design. John Schinella, who was in charge of the California-based studio, said, “After the structure and drivetrain placements were determined, sketches were made, presented, debated and finalized. The completed shape had to look new.”

1992 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray III concept GM Heritage Archives 61992 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray III concept (GM Heritage Archives)

The Sting Ray III used advanced technology, including optical sensors. The model also featured all-wheel steering and cast-aluminum wheels. In addition, the concept featured an analog and digital instrument gage panel, and the interior design provided a fighter jet feel when driving.

1992 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray III concept GM Heritage Archives 7A rear view of the 1992 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray III concept (GM Heritage Archives)

Michael Lamm & Dave Holls, the authors of “A Century of Automotive Style: 100 years of American Car Design,” said, “GM’s California Concept Center, under John Schinella, developed the 1992 Sting Ray III as one possible answer to the Dodge Viper. John Mack did most of the exterior design, while Jon Albert designed the interior. The running metallic purple prototype carried a 300-hp Corvette V8.”

1992 Corvette Sting Ray III concept interior GM Heritage Archives 81992 Corvette Sting Ray III concept interior (GM Heritage Archives)

In conclusion, GM Design staff were shaping the future when they introduced the Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray III concept to the public in 1992. It also received several awards for best design concept.  Finaly, this model will always have a place in our automotive history as a great-looking show car that Corvette fans and historians will enjoy and remember for years to come.

Bibliography

Car Styling News. “1992 Sting Ray III Concept.”   

Teeters, Scott K. “1992 Sting Ray III Concept, AKA: The California Corvette.” Motor Trend Magazine, February 17, 2016.

Rosenberg, Diego. “1992 Corvette Sting Ray III Concept, Melding the Past and the Future.” October 10, 2014.

Lamm, Michael & Holls, Dave. “A Century of Automotive Style 100 Years of American Car Design.” Lamm-Morada Publishing, 1996-97.

by Bob Sadler, MotorCities Director of Communications
Images Courtesy of the Automotive Hall of Fame
Published 5.29.2024

By Robert Tate, Award-Winning Automotive Historian and Researcher
Images Courtesy of The Henry Ford Media Center Archives
Published 5.22.2024

By Robert Tate, Award-Winning Automotive Historian and Researcher
Packard Illustrations from the Robert Tate Collection
Published 5.15.2024

By Robert Tate, Award-Winning Automotive Historian and Researcher
Images courtesy of Stellantis North America Archives, GM Media Archives, and Ford Motor Company Archives
Published 5.8.2024

By Robert Tate, Award-Winning Automotive Historian and Researcher
Images Courtesy of the Petersen Museum, AllCarIndex, and Custom Rodder magazine
Published 5.1.2024

by Brian Yopp, MotorCities Deputy Director
Images by Bob Sadler, MotorCities
Published 4.24.2024

By Robert Tate, Award-Winning Historian and Researcher
Images Courtesy of the GM Media Archives
Published 4.17.2024

By Robert Tate, Award-Winning Automotive Historian and Researcher
Images Courtesy of the Robert Tate Collection and The Henry Ford
Published 4.10.2024

By Jeffrey D. Brasie
Images Courtesy of the Sloan Museum of Discovery
Published 4.3.2024

by Brian Yopp, MotorCities Deputy Director
Images Courtesy of the Ford Piquette Plant Museum
Published 3.27.2024

By Robert Tate, Award-Winning Automotive Historian and Researcher
Images courtesy of the Robert Tate Collection
Published 3.20.2024

By Robert Tate, Award-Winning Automotive Historian and Researcher
Images Courtesy of Della Woods, Replicas West/Tom West, Drag Racing Hall of Fame
Published 3.13.2024

By Robert Tate, Award-Winning Automotive Historian & Researcher
Images courtesy of GM Media Archives
Published 3.6.2024

EDITOR’S NOTE: Today, we continue our observance of Black History Month with a look at the Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn's Achievement exhibit, which opened one year ago.

by MotorCities Staff
Image Courtesy of MotorCities National Heritage Area
Published 2.28.2024

By Robert Tate, Award-Winning Automotive Historian and Researcher
Images Courtesy of Ford Motor Company Archives and the Detroit Free Press
Published 2.21.2024

By Robert Tate, Award-Winning Automotive Historian and Researcher
Images courtesy of the GM Media Archives
Published 2.14.2024

By Robert Tate, Award-Winning Automotive Historian and Researcher
Images Courtesy of Chrysler Archives, Robert Tate Collection, ClassicCars.com
Published 2.7.2024

by A. Wayne Ferens
Images from the Ferens Collection
Published 1.31.2024

By Robert Tate, Award-Winning Automotive Historian and Researcher
Images Courtesy of Hot Rod Archives, Motor Trend Archives, Wallpaper.com and Chrysler Archives
Published 1.24.2024

By Robert Tate, Award-Winning Automotive Historian and Researcher
Images Courtesy of Paula Murphy Archives
Published 1.17.2024

By Robert Tate, Award-Winning Automotive Historian and Researcher
Images Courtesy of the Malcolm Bricklin Archives. A special thanks to Historian Ron Konopka for this story.
Published 1.10.2024

by A. Wayne Ferens
Images Courtesy of Ford Motor Company Archives and the Ferens Collection
Published 1.3.2024