During those optimistic days of the 1950s in the US, Harley Earl and his team of designers at General Motors put together various concept cars to showcase the automobiles of the future. The jet age caught the imagination of people by storm, and that inevitably influenced concept car design. GM’s travelling Motorama was a brilliant idea to showcase these cars of the future and these dramatic designs were displayed across the US. Now, almost 50 years later, the Motorama returned to the golf links at Pebble Beach. Here are some of the 20 ‘cars of the future’...
It’s Superman! It’s a plane! No, it’s the XP-21 Firebird! And for a change, here was a concept that looked like a fighter aircraft and could move just as well. Harley Earl said that the Firebird’s body was inspired by the Douglas Skyray delta-wing fighter jet. And it was piloted by Mauri Rose – one of the greatest drivers of the era – to triple digit mph at GM’s Arizona Proving Grounds.
The Corvette was, believe it or not, intended to be only a show car. Imagine, you’d have seen this car and the model and thought, ‘Gee-whiz, that would be a cool car to pilot.’ Thankfully many Americans thought that this is one car they would like to own, and the Corvette became a production reality, in the process creating the first legendary American sports car that could rival the best from Europe. Harley Earl and his team reportedly took only eight months from paper to mockup. Originally conceived to be steel-bodied, somebody wise decided a fibreglass body would be more like it. Thanks to the Buick Wildcat I...