Concours Celebrates GM's Jet-age Turbine Gas Dream Cars
May 16, 2018 by Concours of America
The Concours d'Elegance of America, held annually at the Inn at St. John's in Plymouth Michigan, celebrates its 40th Annual event July 27-29 by recognizing the 70th anniversary of Porsche with special displays and exhibits - including vehicles rarely seen in America - plus appearances by some of the marque's most famous drivers, including Vic Elford, Hurley Haywood and Brian Redman.
Widely regarded as three of the most influential concept cars ever created, the Firebird I, Firebird II and Firebird III will make a special appearance at the Concours d'Elegance of America at The Inn at St. John's in Plymouth, Michigan. This year's show date is Sunday, July 29. For ticket information, visit concoursusa.org.
Designed by Harley Earl, powered by gas turbine engines and inspired by jet aircraft, the legendary Firebird concept cars were a bold prediction of technologies to come.
The Firebird I took center stage at General Motors 1953 Motorama auto shows. Aircraft-inspired features include a fiberglass fuselage with a single-seat cockpit, bubbletop canopy and a 370-hp gas turbine engine. The fully operational Firebird I was test-driven at GM's Milford Proving Ground and also at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The Firebird II, introduced for the 1956 auto-show season, was a four-passenger car with canopy roof and a radical vertical tailfin. Innovations included a lightweight titanium body, four-wheel disc brakes and a fully independent suspension. A guidance system, designed to work in conjunction with electrical wires embedded in the roadway, previewed the autonomous cars just reaching the American highway today.
The Firebird III, introduced for the 1959 Motorama, featured crisply tailored styling and more practical ideas, such as cruise control, antilock brakes and air conditioning. In keeping with the 'jet-age' inspiration, the Firebird III replaced the traditional steering wheel with a joy stick between the passenger seats.