Chrysler confidently touted the Thunderbolt as The Car of the Future, built to educate the public about aerodynamics and streamlining as “the source of modern, so-called functional styling.” It was promoted as having been tested in a wind tunnel, which provided scientific studies of how the car’s shape dealt with continuous airflow, and led to refinements that minimized wind resistance.
The Thunderbolt was devoid of superfluous ornamentation, with only a single jagged chrome lightning bolt on each door. It was also the first American car to feature an electrically operated, retractable hardtop. Its modern materials included a predominantly aluminum body with a steel hood and deck lid, while a chromium band encircled the entire base of the car to enhance the appearance of speed.


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