The GM Futurliner

GM Futurliner by Bruce Bertz

GM Futurliner by Bruce Bertz

Wikipedia’s entry for GM Futurliners explains that these wild custom vehicles were designed in the 1940s for General Motors by the legendary Harley Earl:

Originally manufactured for the 1939 New York World’s Fair, the Futurliners were later featured in GM’s Parade of Progress, a promotional caravan travelling a 150-stop route across the United States and Canada. The Futurliners, along with 32 support vehicles, were driven by 50 college graduates, who also staffed the exhibitions along the route.

Typically arranged at each stop around a large tent and an information kiosk, each Futurliner featured a self-contained stage as well as a prominent deployable light tower, and each vehicle featured a particular subject. The mobile exhibition covered such topics as jet engine technology, agriculture, traffic engineering, stereophonic sound, microwave ovens, television and other innovations.

At 33 feet long, 8 feet wide, more than 11 feet tall, and weighing more than 12 tons, each Futurliner featured heavily stylized art deco, streamlined bodywork, deep red side and white roof paint, large articulated chrome side panels, a military-grade 302 cubic inch GMC straight-six gasoline engine and automatic transmission, whitewall tires and a prominent, high-mounted, centrally located driver command position with a panoramic windshield.

There are only nine of these left & the last one to sell sold for a cool $4 million!! Photos & more info at Wikipedia. You may also enjoy the many pics & stories including a restoration project at Futureliner.org.

Bruce took this photo at Wing & Wheels at the Yankee Air Museum & you can see more shots in his Yankee Air Museum 2021 gallery on Flickr.

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2015 North American International Auto Show

Infiniti Q30 Concept Car

Infiniti Q30 Concept Car, photo by Rich

The 2015 North American International Auto Show starts this Saturday (Jan 17) and runs through next Sunday (Jan 25). Held at the Cobo Center in downtown Detroit, it remains the premier show for car enthusiasts. For a sneak peek, have a look at CNN’s highlights which appear to be split between “muscular” and “efficient” (unsurprising spoiler: muscular wins 70/30).

If you do attend, consider going on their photo day (Jan 20) for early access. In any case, if you are packing a camera  you might want to enter their 2015 Photo Contest which offers five different prizes of $200 each.

View Rich’s photo from last year’s show background big and see more in his Detroit – 2014 NAIAS slideshow.

More about NAIAS/Detroit Auto Show on Michigan in Pictures.