It's always special when a classic concept car goes up for auction, and that was surely the case as this 1956 Chrysler Diablo Concept crossed the auction block at the 2013 Barrett-Jackson event with a top bid of $1,375,000.

Designed by the famed Virgil Exner Sr. in collaboration with Italian styling house Ghia, this show car is said to have been designed in a wind tunnel after being drawn by Exner himself. Underneath the beautiful bodywork lies the chassis of a 1956 Chrysler 300, fitted with a 392-cubic-inch V8 engine with dual four-barrel carbs.

You may have a hard time telling from the live image gallery above, but this machine measures just under 21 feet long. That's classic Americana with Italian flair. Read the official auction description and watch a video of the Diablo Concept crossing the auction block below.

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The director of automotive design for Chrysler in 1953, Virgil Exner Sr., was given the responsibility to design all of Chrysler's concept cars starting in 1954. Exner quickly collaborated with Ghia, one of the best body builders in Italy, to execute several of his now famous concept show cars designs on production Chrysler chassis. All of these cars became famous show cars that are now legendary in the history of automotive design. According to Virgil Exner Jr., a legendary designer in his own right, one of the greatest design works and the most elaborate design by his father that was ever produced with the collaboration of Chrysler and Ghia was the 1956/1957 Chrysler Dart/Diablo. Not only did Virgil Exner execute the design for this car on his own personal drawing board but also his design was highly aided by the fact that the car was designed in a wind tunnel. The Diablo is one of the largest custom bodied convertibles ever built by the Ghia body builder and in its second phase it retained a full convertible top, the basic Dart design, four bucket seats and a star wars dashboard. The chassis used for this build was a new off the production line 1956 Chrysler 300 with a special modified engine with two 4 barrel carburetors, automatic push-button transmission and a ton of chrome in the engine compartment. Every detail on this car was fastidiously gone over by Virgil Exner. Note the Diablo pitchfork emblems, even an emblem on the gas filler lid which is in the trunk area. Check out the sculpting on the exhaust tips, which reportedly took Virgil several days on the drawing board to get the design just perfect. The car is also equipped with power steering, power brakes, power windows, power top, power antenna and air conditioning. The car is of enormous size just under 21' long and extremely wide. This car has been in the same important collection for approximately 25 years and wears the crown of one of the most important American dream cars/concept cars ever.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 2 Years Ago
      A great example of automotive history :)
      • 2 Years Ago
      Serious mid-century modern style. Love the interior. Maybe the push-button transmission would've been more popular...if designed and placed the way it is in this car.
      William Bennett
      • 2 Years Ago
      Wonder why it never made it to production? A very futuristic looking car that probably would have been a "best seller".
      • 2 Years Ago
      Beautiful car.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Styling by Ghia, tailfins by Exner :p
      • 2 Years Ago
      I saw this car. It's exquisitely built. It sat at the Barrett Jackson previews alongside Duesenbergs, a Bugatti, several Rolles, a Delahaye . . . . The Diablo was totally at home among these exotics. Worth every penny.
      • 2 Years Ago
      The idiotic grille looked more like a stupid fish than... the devil.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Rich Shull
      • 2 Years Ago
      Perhaps it did make it to production in some form ,look atthe 1963 Oldsmobile Dynamic 88- looks like the same concept .
      • 2 Years Ago
      It's beautiful, but I'm amazed it's worth that much.
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