1938 Phantom Corsair by Alden Jewell
In their Story of the Week feature, the Motor Cities National Historic Area shares the story of the “different by design” 1938 Phantom Corsair:
The Phantom Corsair was one of the most unique automotive designs ever when it was introduced to the public in 1938. he model was designed by Rust Heinz, who once had a dream of what an American supercar should look like. Heinz was from the well-known family that made its fortune selling condiments like ketchup and mustard across the country.
The Phantom Corsair was intended for a limited manufacturing run and would have sold for $15,000 on the consumer market. However, that price was a problem for the Phantom Corsair since it was designed and engineered when most Americans were still struggling with the Great Depression.
The Phantom Corsair was a prototype 2-door model sedan. A clay scale model featured an aerodynamic shape that was sleek and futuristic. The model offered room for six passengers … Heinz’s parents disapproved in the beginning of his developing the Phantom Corsair. His aunt ultimately agreed to fund the project. Unfortunately, Heinz was killed in an auto accident in July 1939, and the Phantom Corsair project came to an end.
…For many years since, automotive writers and historians have said that “Although sometimes dismissed as a failure because it never entered production, the Corsair is regarded as ahead of its time because of its futuristic features and styling cues such as faired-in fender and a low profile.”
The Phantom Corsair prototype offered an electric push-button door operation, along with green tinted triple-layer safety glass windows, hydraulic impact bumpers, and fog lights for nighttime driving. The instrument panel offered a flush design with a dozen instruments that included a compass and altimeter. The interior offered an aviation design theme with a warning light that signaled when the door was ajar. Other features included a multi-wave radio with twin speakers plus a great air conditioning and heating system. The prototype model used a Cord V8 Lycoming engine with a front wheel drive transmission.
Read more & see some really great photos at motorcities.org!
For a chance to really geek out on some wild automotive designs, have a look at Alden’s Concept Vehicles & Prototypes gallery on Flickr.
Low-Rider…, photo by Kenneth (Off/On)
Two interesting auto-related tidbits came across my desk in the last couple of days.
The first is from Deadline Detroit, and shows an excerpt from a 1917 newsreel with a Detroit Police Department driver-safety campaign trying to persuade drivers to slow down.
Fast forward to today and beyond with Michigan Senate approval of self-driving vehicle testing on Michigan roads. The Detroit News reports that (pending House approval):
Under the Michigan rules, a driver would be required to be in the driver’s seat at all times during testing to take over in the case of emergency. Manufacturers and suppliers would use an “M” license plate for automated vehicle testing. “Upfitters” of automated vehicles, such as Google, would be permitted to test vehicles along with manufacturers.
The action comes as the U.S. Congress is set to hold a hearing Tuesday on autonomous vehicles amid growing interest among automakers. They will hear from General Motors Co. and Nissan Motor Co. executives along with the Michigan Department of Transportation.
…The University of Michigan says that by 2021, Ann Arbor could become the first U.S. city with a shared fleet of networked, driverless vehicles. That’s the goal of the Mobility Transformation Center, a cross-campus U-M initiative that also involves government and industry representatives. Ann Arbor has been home to a 15-month-long ongoing study of 3,000 vehicles that are linked to one another in a test of technology to see if connected cars can help each other avoid crashes.
I love it when the perfect photo shows up at the perfect time! Kenneth took this HDR shot in Mustang Alley at the Woodward Dream Cruise. See it bigger and check out more in his HDR slideshow.
More automotive features on Michigan in Pictures.
LFA by JSFauxtaugraphy, photo by JSFauxtaugraphy
Snapshots from the 2013 North American International Auto Show aka NAIAS 2013 aka the Detroit Auto Show started yesterday for media & industry. The public show runs Saturday, January 19 through Saturday, January 26. Here are a few quick hits:
- At $12 per person and $6 for seniors and youth, the tickets seem like a pretty great deal.
- It’s once again at the Cobo Center after a number of years at the Renaissance Center. Detroit Auto Show, 1960 is stunning shot at Cobo from Michigan in Pictures that captures the glamor the show once had. I’d be interested in what anyone who has attended in the 60s and recently has to say about the feel of the show.
- They have a Facebook page, but then again is there anyone or anything at this point that doesn’t? They are giving away tickets and posting some nice photos like this birds-eye view of the show floor.
- Concepts? They have concepts, though Jason from Jalopnik says that the Tesla Model X is the only car that really feels like it’s from the future. (I think it’s the doors)
- There’s plenty of green machines at NAIAS 2013, but the International Business times wonders why there’s just one using hydrogen fuel cell technology. Unlike batteries, fuel cells take minutes to recharge and offer greater range.
- Being an off-election year, there are not many politicians to be found, unlike years ago. Danny Glover however, is in Detroit talking about unions.
- Much more coverage of the 2013 Detroit Auto Show at mLive, the Detroit News and the Freep.
Check this out background bigtacular and see more in Joseph’s NAIAS 2012 slideshow.
More NAIAS on Michigan in Pictures.