10 Cool Concept Cars from the 1950s
There were a lot of influences on the decade of the 1950s. The world was just starting to get over the horrors of World War II and they were dealing with the fears resulting from the Cold War with the Soviet Union. The Russians were the first to launch an artificial satellite into orbit around the Earth and the jolt of that feat opened all of us to the space age.
Space, that new frontier, was influencing interior design. Ceiling lamps looked like the Russian satellite Sputnik that was launched in October 1957 and, as you can see here, futuristic car concepts resembled rockets or jet fighters.
What do you think? Did the designers nail it or have these concepts that once wowed only elicit a yawn today. Click Next to begin viewing the list.
It looks like it can lift up and hover over the street like a future spacecraft. It’s pretty obvious that a 50’s Lincoln provided the basics of this concept with a touch of a jet fighter’s cockpit and fins that makes it hard to distinguish between the front of the car and the rear.
GM Firebird II
A fighter jet may have inspired the designer of this concept, the second of four that included turbine-power. This was meant to be a concept of a future family car with self-driving capability due to wires embedded in the street.
Designer Alex Tremulis no doubt also had a jet in mind when he created this concept. Tremulis was actually a famous designer of the time who actually did drawings of flying saucers for the U.S. government during World War II. This what he thought a car of the year 2000 would look like. Well, it doesn’t resemble anything I’ve seen traveling down I-95.
Cadillac LaSalle II
This concept actually looks pretty reasonable like a two-seater Thunderbird or a British sports car from the 1960s (Triumph or MGB?).
GM Le Sabre
Harley Earl, the designer of the Corvette as well as other production models, conjured up this concept. The snout might remind some of the nose of a MIG jet and there are the ever-present tail fins that seem to appear on many cars that we’ve seen from the 50s and 60s. This car had some high tech features as well that have made it into today’s cars, like heated seats and sensor that detected rain and triggered the roof to automatically close.
No, it’s not the Batmobile, but it sure looks like it. Harley Earl designed this concept, too. Those black cones up front actually contained a small radar that was to serve as an anti-crash detection system.
Let’s not forget that the 1950s was a time when nuclear power was forecast to run just about everything from our cars to the appliances in our homes. That box on the bed at the rear of the vehicle is supposed to be a nuclear reactor.
Alfa Romeo BAT 9
This car was designed as part of the Alfa Romeo BAT (Berlinetta Aerodynamica Technica) Program that strived to create a car with the best drag co-efficient as possible. Three cars were made over a three year period –- the BAT 5, 7 and 9.
GM Firebird III
This copy of a supersonic jet had titanium skin and turbine power. The development of the shape of this two-seater was the result of hours of work in a wind tunnel. There are seven wings integrated into the car and they are actually functional.
Pontiac Club de Mer
This aerodynamic tube that was only 39-inches tall featured one of GM’s newest and most powerful engines and honored the land speed record cars of the 50s.
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