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1953 GM Futurliner

WebCars!: Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance
The General Motors "Parade of Progress" Futurliner was the star attraction at the 2008 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. GM built 12 Futurliners (no "e" between the "r" and the "l" is the correct spelling) that were used periodically between 1936 and 1941 and then from 1953 to 1956 to showcase technology and science.
WebCars!: Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance
The 12 Futurliners were essentially display stages. In their heyday they were used to introduce the public to modern marvels such as heating and air conditioning, jet engines, Diesel technology, traffic control and automotive technology. Think of it as a mini traveling world's fair. Only a few of the exhibits promoted General Motors directly, although there was an underlying message - that GM was at the forefront of science and technology.
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Although they originally showcased science and technology, the Futurliner on display at the 2008 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance mostly described itself along with the "Parade of Progress" traveling roadshow and the affect it had on the life of Americans.

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Futurliner Slide Show

WebCars!: Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance
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Left: The Light Bar on the Futurliner contained 60 30 Watt fluorescent lights and four flood lights. When raised, it was seven feet above the roofline and 18 feet above the ground. Right: Atomic symbol on the wheel cover places the Futurliner in the center of 1950s techno culture.
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Above Left: Nice detail work on the electrical system is evidence of a thorough and meticulous restoration job. One question remains unanswered however: What is a Framistat?
Right and Below: Aluminum in both the original construction and the restoration work is extraordinary.
WebCars!: Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance

WebCars!: Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance
On display at the 2008 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance was Futurliner #10. It is owned by NATMUS (National Automotive and Truck Museum) located in Auburn IN where it is on display. Restoration, which started in October 1998, was completed in late 2005. Considering the condition when they started the project - it was severely rusted and neglected from years of outdoor storage - the effort was only slightly less than the building of the pyramids. More info is available at the Futurliner #10 web site where hats, t-shirts and a nicely done DVD are available. An impressively loyal and dedicated group of volunteers lead by Don Mayton was the key and they were on hand at the 2008 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance proudly showing off and answering questions about their project.

Highly Recommended General Motors Parade of Progress & A Futurliner Returns written by Bruce Berghoff and George Ferris tells the story of the "Parade of Progress" and the restoration of Futurliner #10. An excellent read, it contains 232 pages and numerous photographs. Like the restoration of Futurliner #10, this book is clearly a labor of love.

WebCars!: Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance At the January 2006 Barrett-Jackson auction, FIDO, the Canadian Futurliner #11 (FIDO is a Canadian cellphone company that used the Futurliner as a promotional vehicle) was up for sale on live TV. The result rocked the collector car world: $4,400,000 (including buyers commission). Considering that it offered a lower level of restoration and that the drivetrain was not original, this must have made the owners and the volunteers who worked on Futurliner #10 very happy.

1953 GM Futurliner Statistics

Manufacturer: .................................. GMC Truck and Coach and Fisher Body
Date of Manufacture: .................................. 1939
Length, Width, Height: .................................. 33 feet x 8 feet x 11 feet, 6 inches
Clamshell Door Width: .................................. 16 feet
Weight: .................................. ~ 30,000 lbs.
Engine: .................................. GMC 302 cubic inch six cylinder OHV
Horsepower: .................................. 145
Top Speed: .................................. 40 MPH
Transmission: .................................. Four Speed Hydra-Matic
Two Speed Gearbox
Three Speed PTO Gearbox
Fuel Capacity: .................................. Two 45 Gallon Tanks

Restoration Effort

Man Hours: .................................. 23,000
Cash Contributions: .................................. $100,000
Vendor Contributions: .................................. $330,000
People involved .................................. 100+
Doughnuts: .................................. 23,000

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