F I R S T  S T O P...1951 Paris Auto Show

Starting in 1951, LE SABRE and all that it represented, became a powerful new kind of thrill ride!

Leonard McLay, seen above, displaying some of LE SABRE's wizardry. In the photograph, at right, Mr. McLay is using an eye-dropper of water to activate the rain sensor that automatically raises the windows and convertible top. He and another top mechanical engineer (Art Carpenter is pictured below w/ Leonard) were LE SABRE's traveling companions...the stories they told, later on in life, were almost overly dramatic concerning this car's legendary sexual powers at luring people in. Leonard McLay's wife wound up hating his going on extended road trips with the car because he was chaperoning around a superstar...translated into today's terms would be like escorting a champion rock star around the circuit.

For example Elvis Presley knew all about Harley Earl's artistic climaxes in sheet metal and couldn't stop buying his motoramic masterpieces. All toll, Elvis collected over thirty cars with this unique trademark design...and no doubt his love for Harley's high fins, right along with the sensation of LESABRE, helped launch the tail-fin to go global by the mid-50's. Battista Pininfarina went on to celebrate the natural beauty of this Earl design by placing a pair of daring fins on the 1956 Ferrari "SUPERAMERICA" automobile (see pics below). Countless other European manufacturers jumped on board and even Zagato designed a ultra-light finned Porsche roadster convertible that also had a radical panoramic windshield design...another Harley Earl first (see Zagato's design below). 

Remember, this was years before Ralph Nadar and a bunch of loonies went on numerous witch hunts that inevitably ended up injecting a mainline shot of ultra-conservatism into the veins of Detroit's auto world starting in the 1960's. And in doing so, engineering craftsmanship and automotive artistry both took it on the chin and the "cars of the future" dream vision of Harley Earl got put on hold for decades of time. Imagine this, for a while in the 1970s GM almost completely stopped building concept cars to test on the public at the national and international auto shows! Luckily, Detroit's auto business is starting to jumpstart Harley Earl's great business model...

Important letter drawn up for two reasons: 1.) showed Mr. Earl actually owned LE SABRE; 2.) copies of it were in the possession of Art Carpenter and Leonard McLay during their travels with LE SABRE to assist their efforts dealing with shipping authorities and customs. In one of the last interviews Mr. Earl gave before he died, that was later published in a motor rotogravure section, he tell the reader how he owned this one-of-a-kind vehicle while working inside GM (letter above also confirms the fact).  

Royal families and foreign dignitaries all gave Harley Earl's Car of the Future the thumbs up - everyone wanted to be seen in LE SABRE (click image below). 

CLICK any of three images below to read more on the: "SHEATH for the SABRE" 

Alcoa Aluminum 1951 Newsletter. 

Last page of Le Sabre's European début (XP-8) Vol. II illustrated above, caption below.

Twenty-six minute film detailing LeSabre on her maiden tour of Europe. This 1951 French language film was commissioned by GM Europe and was fittingly titled:

"LESABRE " La voiture de l'an 2.000

English translation:

"LESABRE " The car of the year 2000  

To begin and try to explain the build up, intense delight and interest this super-car created at this Paris gathering is almost not possible. Each one of these five pictures, above, is approximately 8 x 10 inches in size. The small-size pictures here do not allow one to see the actual drama this celebrity car is causing.