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Scattered around the U.S. there are thousands of people who still remember the Futurliners. These unusual vehicles assembled by Harley Earl and his GM Styling team created excitement for huge crowds wherever they traveled. 

Proudly displayed in 1941 outside the Allison Division - General Motors

 

By 1939, work started on entirely revamping GM's Parade of Progress (POP) whereby the original eight red and silver Streamliner vans were decommissioned and replaced with a caravan of twelve brand new futuristic vehicles Harley Earl fittingly renamed the "Futurliners." All the POP's exhibits were updated and the operation became bigger. Once again, Earl custom designed the vehicles within Fisher Body's Fleetwood Division but this time created the driver's compartment to look like an airplane cockpit with an ultra-modern console surrounded by a panoramic glass bubble (HJ Earl loved creating unique windshield designs and holds the U.S. patent for the "wrap-around windshield") and GM's new highway leviathans sprouted to 33 feet long and weighed more than 15 tons empty. As one can visibly see, Earl employed his signature tailfin design that would define many of his post war designed Cadillacs. In a 1949 New York CUE magazine article on Mr. Earl titled "MEET THE G.M. DESIGNER" the writer perfectly described, "Brother Earl started streamlining before the word was invented."

 

Top - '34 World's Fair vehicle and pic of Earl's designers with models. Bottom - GM Styling Section concept renderings of Parade of Progress '36 Streamliner and '41 Futurliner.

Chicago's Donnelly Presses was the giant publishing arm to print most of Ma Bell's phone books as well as the No. 1 magazines of the day, LIFE, Colliers, Saturday Evening Post, etc. Donnelly also printed GM Folks monthly publication that was sent to every GM employee: over 600,000 in 1956, issues usually ran 20 to 30 pages long. 

Futurliners, above, rolling down Woodward Ave. in 1946 for Detroit's fantastic Golden Jubilee Parade (celebrating auto industry's 50th Anniversary in America)