In the 1950s, a lot of ideas developed about what the cars of the future would look like. We imagined machines with eccentric shapes, similar to fuselages or simply with three wheels, but always with features that were always ready to amaze even the fertile imagination of the time. Many of the models envisioned at the time were not realized at the time, but between the 1950s and 1970s, some solutions were devised that would later become common to all cars. Just think of the electric windows, the air conditioning, the wheels’ anti-lock braking system and much more.
Figure 1, Davis Divan, built by the Davis Motocar Company in 1948
In a short film produced in 1948, the American magazine Popular mechanics brought back 3 car models of the future, which for one reason or another have never managed to hit the market. The first is Davis Divan: 4 seats, only one front tire, maximum maneuverability. Streamlined and slim, Divan was built by Davis Motocar Company from Van Nuys and designed by the used car dealer Gary Davis. Some ideas for the design of the car of the future were even taken from the aerospace industry, including the adaptation of the landing gear system. Unfortunately, they were alone 13 The divans who saw the light of day until the company was sued for not fulfilling its promise to supply the product to the market. So in a way, the question would also have been …
Figure 2, prototype of the Jump & Streur Streamliner, built by Consolidated Aircraft Corporation in 1935
The second model is the prototype of Hoppe & Streur Streamliner. Although in the 1948 short film it was defined as “the car of the future“, That Hoppe & Streur Streamliner was designed and built in 1935 by Allyn Streur And Allen Hoppeas a part of Consolidated Aircraft Corporation, an American airline founded in the 1920s. Two wings, an aluminum body and 5 seats, this vessel was perhaps closer to a plane than to a car.
Figure 3, TACSO prototype, designed by Gordon Buehrig in 1948
The third model, the prototype TACSO from Gordon Buehrig, was designed in 1948 and had an extremely advanced function at the time: the transparent glass roof, taken from the military warriors of the time, could actually be removed. However, elements such as a strong sporty design, laminated fiberglass front fenders and a cab that resembled an airplane control panel were not enough to bring the passenger car to market. Mass production would have been too expensive considering the price of one TACSO by that time it would have hovered around $ 80,000. Therefore, the prototype that appears in the short film is off Popular mechanics it is the only existing one. Although the project of Gordon Buehring it did not go well, in 1968 the creator managed to sell the patent on the removable roof to the Corvette and made very little money.
Figure 4, Peel Trident, built by Peel Engineering Company in 1965
Also in the 1960s, the prototype of a car was developed, which today could be quite usable. There Peel the Tridentthe smallest two-seater ever designed was designed in 1965 for the residents of the Isle of Man Peel Engineering Company. Equipped with a Vespa engine and a three-speed gearbox, it could be the solution to today’s traffic. The only mistake? It is not equipped with reverse gear, but it is built with the idea of being easy to push when maneuvering, given its weight lower than 100 kilo.
Figure 5, BAT, commissioned by Alfa Romeo and built in 1955
Perhaps even more extravagant of the more extravagant models was in 1955, the model of BATacronym for Technical aerodynamics Berlinetta, and in fact aerodynamics is its characteristic feature. Ordered byAlfa Romeoto the Italian entrepreneur Nuccio Bertonethat BAT was able to achieve in 200 km / h, with an exceptional grip at the moment. It was perhaps only surpassed by Ferrari module of 1970, which boasted 550 horses and was designed as “extreme sports car“. Only a year earlier was born instead Firebird from General Motors: two seats, each covered by a glass bubble and dual controls, to allow both drivers to drive this car, in fact more like an airplane or a military fighter than inspired by the car concept we are used to. Made of titanium, two engines and an air conditioner Firebird it was also equipped with cruise control; a truly phenomenal vehicle at the moment.
Figure 6, 1970 Ferrari module
Figure 7, Firebird designed by General Motors designer Harley Earl
With few exceptions, such as those studied so far, the design of cars between the 1950s and 1970s has not changed as much. It can therefore be said that these years’ cars hide the progress under the bonnet and in the control panel.
In the early seventies, the famous host of the series was off BBC “Tomorrow’s world“, James Burke showed in a section of the program the prototype of the car of the future, the Triumph 2000. Not yet affordable, it was estimated that the price of this machine would be around 55,000 poundsan exorbitant figure for the values of the time.
Figure 8, Triumph 2000
While the design of the passenger cars remained largely the same, it was the solutions borrowed from the aviation world that increased their impact, thanks to the introduction of advanced electronic systems in their system that transformed the lean dashboards of the time. Even the prototype of Triumph 2000 in fact, it boasted innovative electronic components, such as new sensors, which would later become common to all cars. Designed to be more efficient, safer and easier to drive Triumph 2000 in fact, it presented a big news: a small screen on which, in the event of a malfunction, some fonts would appear. A completely new solution on time. In the 1970s, it was considered a great innovation to be able to be warned if the oil pressure or oil level should become insufficient, or there was a bulb failure or a problem with brake fluid. There Triumph 2000 therefore anticipated the subsequent arrival of the advanced dashboard technology. In fact, in the prototype presented, it was also possible to set the speed you wanted to drive with, activate the system, and the sensors would handle the rest: by taking information from the speedometer, the desired speed would be achieved through an automatic accelerator control. This prototype was also designed to be safer and contained sensors that could calculate the average speed at which the wheels should have braked once the brake pedal was depressed. In case the wheels had braked faster than they should, the sensors would have reduced the pressure on the brakes to prevent the wheels from locking. There Triumph 2000 presented by James Burke thus alerting the cruise control and the ABS brake system.
In conclusion, in the past, when we talked about cars, we dreamed big. Between the years Fifty And Seventy Extravagant cars and really advanced technological systems on time were devised. Today in the whole sector ofautomotive industry we continue to have the same lively imagination, but with the not insignificant difference in the technology at our disposal, which makes it easier to realize any idea, thanks to the brave experiments of these years.