Wednesday, 27 January 2010

GM Futurliner

Designed by Harley Earl for GM in the forties, the Futurliner is one of the few concept vehicles of the era that still looks futuristic today. Well, futuristic-ish, if you were to build a concept car from the shell of an old Airstream caravan.
A fleet of a dozen was commissioned for use in General Motors' 'Parade of Progress', a sort of pan-American travelling showcase of new cars and tech. They were used in 1940-41, when the Parade of Progress was halted due to WWII, and again when it restarted in 1953 through to '56, after which they were disposed of... although nine of them are still known to exist. Click here to see the story of Futurliner #10, commonly regarded as the most accurately and sympathetically restored of the fleet.

So why did the Parade of Progress end in 1956? Well, of the many exciting things that the Futurliners showcased (jet engines, microwave ovens, stereophonic sound systems) one of them would ultimately kill the project: television. Why go out and see a parade when you can easily watch GM-sponsored content on your shiny new TV...?

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