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Monday, July 27, 2020

GM's most Intriguing weird concept cars of the 1950s

After we see the Bill Carter's TOPCAT and G-WHIZ that look unique in shape like an airplane, maybe those are not the first car made. Well, long before that is approximately three decades before Bill Carter built those cars, the American giant automotive manufacturer, General Motors had made a concept car with a shape that is almost the same that was given the name of GM Firebird Concept Car.
The GM's Firebird concept car series. From left to right, 1953 Firebird I, 1956 Firebird II and 1959 Firebird III. (Picture from: https://bit.ly/39ub95u)
General Motors known to successfully solve turbine fuel research done since the 1930's to the 1950's on the Firebird concept car series with Emmett Conklin as projecy manager. By using the new turbine engine, Firebird series capable to boost the speed up to 200 mph.
1953 General Motors Firebird I concept car is designed by Harley Earl who took the inspiration from the innovations in fighter aircraft design at the time. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/1nNKJ49)
From its shape, it is clear that the Firebird was inspired from the design of existing fighter aircraft at that time draw by Harley Earl. And this American manufacturer makes this Firebird concept car up to 3 series, each of which was made in 1953 for the 1st series, then continued in 1956 for the 2nd series.
1953 General Motors Firebird I is described as a jet airplane on wheels and has a 370 hp (280 kW) Whirlfire Turbo Power gas turbine engine. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/1nNKJ49)
GM built the Firebird III in 1958 and debuted it at Motorama in 1959. It is another extravagant concept with a fiberglass body and no fewer than seven short wings and tail fins (which were tested extensively in a wind tunnel).
1956 General Motors Firebird II is a low and wide design, four-seat, family car with two large air intakes at the front, a high bubble canopy top, and a vertical tail fin. (Picture from: https://bit.ly/3hDGQMB)
The car is a two-seater powered by a 225 hp (168 kW) Whirlfire GT-305 gas turbine engine, with a two-cylinder 10 hp (7.5 kW) gasoline engine to run all the accessories. Its exterior design features a double-bubble canopy and technical advancements to make it more practical, such as cruise control, anti-lock brakes, and air conditioning.
1956 General Motors Firebird II exterior bodywork is made entirely of titanium and has a 200 hp (150 kW) turbine gas powered engine. (Picture from: https://bit.ly/2EmcK1R)
The Firebird III also featured “Space-Age” innovations, such as special air drag brakes like those found on aircraft, which emerged from flat panels in the bodywork of the car to slow it from high speeds; an “ultra-sonic” key that signaled the doors to open; an automated guidance system to help avoid accidents; and “no hold” steering.
1959 General Motors Firebird III is another extravagant concept with a fiberglass body and no fewer than seven short wings and tail fins. (Picture from: https://bit.ly/2OZn8yF)
The driver controlled the steering with a joystick positioned between the two seats. This gave the car a more futuristic feel and simulated the experience of flying a plane.
1959 General Motors Firebird III is a two-seater powered by a 225 hp (168 kW) Whirlfire GT-305 gas turbine engine, with a two-cylinder 10 hp (7.5 kW) gasoline engine. (Picture from: https://bit.ly/3g87T2s)
Actually there is still another Firebird concept car (or the-4th) made by General Motors coded internally as the XP-790 and made its debut at the 1964 New York World's Fair. But unfortunately this car is a non-fuctional car. The car was repackaged as a Buick Century Cruiser by GM to appear at a number of shows in 1969.
All of the GM's Firebird concept cars recently joined the display at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, and still make regular car show appearances. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | GM HERITAGE CENTER | DESIGN YOU TRUST]
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