Back in the early to mid-20th century, General Motors was one of the world’s largest and most successful companies. One of its most artistic creations was this beautiful tour bus, created by Harley Earl, GM’s lead vehicle designer. It might look like a combination of a futuristic diner and a car from Back to the Future, but let’s agree that this bus is absolutely gorgeous.
The Futurliner was 33 feet long, 11 feet tall, and weighed over 12 tons. It was built to celebrate General Motors’ ‘Parade of Progress,’ a large, multi-faceted roadshow that began touring across America in 1936. This was a huge investment for the company but ended up paying off significantly. Only twelve Futurliners were ever built, and just nine of them remain today.
1939 Delage D8 120S Letourneur Et Marchand Aerosport Coupe
The crash of the United States economy back in 1929, also known as the "Wall Street Crash of 1929" or the "Great Crash," sent stock prices collapsing in the New York Stock Exchange. This led the entire auto market to crash along with it. Delage, the French luxury automaker, was also negatively affected, and the company found itself in dire straits throughout the stock market’s long recovery.
In response, Delage released the 1939 Delage D8 120S Letourneur Et Marchand Aerosport Coupe. The automaker hoped to score a Hail Mary with this powerful vehicle and recover from its financial blow. The D8, with its new and curvy structure, ultimately boosted the company’s sales, which in turn allowed them to continue operating for at least two more decades.
1928 Isotta-Fraschini Tipo
Back in the late ‘30s, cars weren’t as fast as you might imagine. In fact, they were quite slow, especially when compared to today’s standards. The 1928 Isotta-Fraschini Tipo was a luxury vehicle and was produced for the sole purpose of breaking performance records for your average wealthy consumer. Its powerful engine allowed it to reach up to 93 miles per hour, which was a huge leap at the time.
The Tipo model ended up running for seven years straight, from 1924 to 1931. It was an expensive luxury car and had less than 1,000 units made throughout its lifetime. Less than a third of these models ended up being sold to United States citizens.
The Toyota AA was the automaker’s first-ever passenger production car. Made in Japan, the AA followed Japanese design trends and became a successful hit when it hit the markets. It was a 4-door sedan and was made entirely of metal. The car’s rear doors opened backward, just like today’s Rolls Royce.
The successful AA model was quickly followed by the Toyota AB, which featured a convertible cloth roof. This trend continued with various other combinations of letters, including the EA, AE, and BA Toyotas. Eventually, the company found its way into American and European shores. It is currently raking in more than $272 billion annually in revenue.
1938 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic
1938's Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic was based on their 1935 Aerolithe concept model, the one that was made by Jean Bugatti. It was extremely lightweight and fast thanks to using Elektron composite body panels, but it was also very flammable when exposed to high temperatures. So, not everything was as great as it initially seemed to be.
Something had to be done, and it had to be done fast. Bugatti had to find a quick solution and ended up settling for an external riveting technique that is often used by airplane engineers. This resulted in the signature seam that the 57SC was eventually known for.