Chrysler partnered with the Italian firm Carrozzeria Ghia to design a streamlined, wedge-shaped automobile. The result was the 1955 Streamline X, nicknamed “Gilda” after actress Rita Hayworth’s character in a film noir of the same name.
Automotive styling was heavily influenced by jet aircraft and rocketry in the postwar era. Chrysler styling chief Virgil Exner sought to prove that scientific, aerodynamic design was viable in the American marketplace. Ghia technical director Giovanni Savonuzzi made a one-fifth-scale plasticine model of “Gilda” for wind tunnel testing at the Polytechnic University of Turin. His studies determined that the tapered tail fins improved directional stability in crosswinds at high speeds. Savonuzzi’s design for the completed “Gilda” combined aerodynamics with the aesthetics and dramatic styling of functional streamlining.