Many a boy was filled
with excitement on his first visit to a neighborhood
new car dealership or an auto show. Back in the 1950s,
when chrome and tail fins were the rage and annual model
changes were very distinctive, school boys were inspired
to sketch dream cars in their notebooks in class. The
latest car magazines and brochures were their textbooks.
Concept cars, experimental models and prototypes were,
and still are, the way manufacturers manipulate the
minds of the public and set their hearts pounding in
anticipation of buying a new car.
Styling was rather functional prior to the 1930s, but
suddenly the airplane changed all that. From a boxy
biplane a streamlined monoplane developed. There was
the Pierce Silver Arrow, Chrysler Airflow and the 810
Cord. Designers had now set a trend and manufacturers'
annual changes were more significant. Any school boy
could quote make, year, model and body style of any
new car. Yesterday's car was obsolete and we were envious
of the new car owner.
With this winning sales technique, stylists rushed to
the drawing boards. The renderings below are mid- to
late-1930s proposals for the future. Although the sources
for these photographs are unknown, they are very similar
to those that have appeared in various publications
which attributed them to GM staff.
Click for larger
Brochures and press
kits on concept cars are very collectible and the following
link will take you to a selection of concept literature
which could be viewed on the McLellan's Automotive History
web site at the time of the writing of this article.
Please note that this list is not updated daily. To
confirm availability either go to the current selection
on our web site or contact us.