What is the classic image of an American car? So classic now, fits all clichés, huh? That’s right, a ship with a length of at least five meters immediately comes to mind, with rear-wheel drive, rigid axle, V8 and automatic transmission. More Chrome, if that’s still possible, please. But of all things, the biggest players in the business from Detroit, although this word should be taken literally in this case, then it also shone with a clear opposite. As little as possible, please! And because profit was always the top priority, it can’t be a normal car either, because a cheap car is offered, the minimum level of the manufacturer. After all, developing a large car costs no less than developing a small one, if not less. After all, it takes more effort to squeeze all the important things into smaller ones. 25 years ago Chrysler had this desire to create some kind of basic car for the third world. Of course, that shouldn’t cost much. So you had to rethink everything from the ground up.
It started with the body. To save raw materials, the complete body, which consisted of only four parts, was created from more than 2,000 old plastic bottles. A complex process in which old plastic is pressed into a new shape under more than 9,000 tons of pressure. But that was not only good for the environment. The body was also very hard, made from one piece, and since the color could be added during the printing process, the subsequent painting process was saved. The reward for the effort: Kastl did not weigh 100 kg. Once the body was cut, the body was placed on a simple chassis and the doors, which were also made of drinking bottles, were hung inside. Air conditioning? A large folding roof had to do.
An air-cooled V2-cylinder gasoline engine with 800 cc and a whopping 25 hp from the dealer Briggs & Stratton was used as a drive, which transmitted its power to a four-speed gearbox and finally to the front wheels, to the top. speed of 100 km / h. If you now add it all up, the unladen weight is less than 600 kg, which is not more impressive than the production time of only six hours. For comparison: the Chrysler Neon of the time needed 17 hours to turn off the production lines under its own power. Therefore, all bearish signals were given.
CCV came out as a name. A certain similarity with CV 2 could no longer be denied soon, and some manufacturers also secretly admitted that they were trying to build a kind of modern version of the duck. Lawyers then were probably involved – because the mention of course showed a coincidental similarity. The acronym CCV stood for China Concept Vehicle, which shows once again what was still considered an adequate car for what is now the world’s largest luxury car market. However, the interpretation was quickly changed to a Hybrid Concept Vehicle, so as not to offend anyone, especially not other emerging countries. But none of this changed the price. Almost 5,000 euros had been set, and no one really thought that this car could not succeed. Until the truth came out.
It doesn’t matter how big or heavy it is – every car must meet current safety regulations. And of course that is not so easy with a car made of compressed plastic, without airbags and driving aids. Chrysler probably resented it because they knew all these features would make the car heavier and more expensive – and therefore less attractive. In addition, at a time when the increase in horsepower was just beginning, the question arose whether anyone would want the new version of the 2CV, especially since the real duck was still cheap at the time. If the board of directors was not convinced by that time, the merger with Daimler and all the mediation steps and then showing up to Tata could have been the death of this innovative concept.
With the Nano, the Indians built a real low-budget car that, however, wore all the insignia of a real car. So it had a metal body including paint, and also more than just two cylinders and a real water cooler. In short: At the beginning of the new millennium, Chrysler’s project that is perhaps ambitious remained very quiet – and the plastic bottles all ended up in the trash, although: There were definitely problems with the pressing process. But you learned a lot and could at least take out the Jeep Wrangler hard tops with it later.