Jan 27 2015

Concept Cars That Never Made It Part I

Bill K. has forwarded this photo series of 1950s concept cars "that never made it".

They were pure fantasy on wheels, machines designed to make the heart race and the mind ask, "What if?" These 1950s concept cars were automotive art built to attract public attention, test wild engineering ideas and give motorist a fleeting glimpse down the highway of tomorrow.


Howard Kroplick


Feb 01 2015 Dave Fischer 7:04 AM

Hi Howard, as always, everything from photos to story, very interesting….......I looked at the concept cars, too bad a couple of them never made it to production…..you wonder if they did, would they have sold many of them…...take care, always enjoy your articles….

Feb 01 2015 Steve Vilardi 7:23 AM

All of those concept cars were inspirational for Detroit design work, they were a taste of the future. Some of them are still in existance including Buick xp300 (at the Flint MI Sloan Museum), Batmobile (slightly.remodeled Lincoln Futura) and the Orange Lincoln Indianapolis. The olds golden rocket shows signs of a future Corvette roof, a 1960 Caddy tail and a 1963 Riveria like nose. The turbine firebird III was the envy of every kid of the day. Unfortunately only the name held strong when those kids became Hell on Wheels teens myself included….I once had a 69 Firebird convertible and I still have a 1977 ferrari style window C-3 Corvette. The following year the roof was modified to look similar to the golden rocket. Concept cars are fantastic marketing tools that inspired the sales of thousands if not millions of cars

Feb 01 2015 Walt Gosden 12:45 PM

The orange Lincoln Indianapolis was restored by Sussex Motor and Coachworks in Matamoras, Pa. when they were in business. Jim Cox owned the shop (his wife was Beverly Rae Kimes) . It was quite a restoration, that owner (at the time) Tom Kerr of Pa. had done. New curved windshield had to be made , a lot of moldings to mount it back in the car also had to be created from scratch. I believe all body panels were steel, not alloy. There was a write up of the car in AQ after it was finished too I believe. Tom Kerr is a friend and it was odd he owned this car, as he is really a pre WWII Packard enthusiast. It was a very rough car that had been apart for many many years, and the restoration came out great.

Feb 01 2015 Roger Price 6:08 PM

I remember seeing the Firebird II at the GM Motorama in the Waldorf Astoria.  Every year, my buddy and I went to NYC to the Walforf for the show.  The attendance was free.  We got to see all the show cars, the beautiful models (women and cars) and the new upcoming cars from all the GM divisions.

Feb 01 2015 Constance Smith 7:51 PM

Norm James worked on the exterior of GM’s Firebird III and my former colleague, Suzanne Vanderbilt,  worked on the interior. Mr. James award winning autobiography - Of Firebirds and Moonmen -  features his struggle overcoming a physical disability, the history of the Firebird III and his design for rovers for moon explorations for GM’s Defense Labs. He subsequently designed mass transit and aircraft. James will be recognized with an award in NYC in March for his design work on GM experimental vehicles. He lives and works on the West coast.

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