Fifty or sixty years ago, the auto industry was a bastion of unchecked creativity.
And who can blame them? We thought we would be living on the moon in a decade or two.
To showcase this fantastic — if utterly implausible — era in car design, this year's Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance will be showcasing a collection of one-off, handbuilt rides from the Swinging '60s.
“That was one of the last eras where cars could be this expressive,” said Ken Gross, curator of the American Dream Cars of the class. “These guys were pretty much
Futurist Show (4 images)
The lineup consists firstly of Alex Tremulis’s Mini-powered 1963 Gyro-X, a ride conceived when we thought maybe we would only need two wheels. Meeting an alleged need for a narrower vehicle, the Gyro kept its balance thanks to a hydraulically driven gyroscope similar to the one a segway uses.
Also on show? The 1965 Vivant a la Pontiac designer and engineer Herb Adams. Taking his cue from the Alfa Romeo B.A.T. concept cars, Adams reconstructed the Vivant with a team of English wrenchers working out of Troy, Michigan.
Elsewhere, the 1966 Bosley Mark II Interstate is a ride from horticulturist Richard Bosley with a fiberglass body that runs on a Pontiac V-8 (a Super Duty 389). The thought behind its creation was that interstates would lead to unbridled speed allowances and demand a safer road-faring vehicle capable of withstanding serious crashes. Unfortunately, due to the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966 and the Highway Safety Act of 1970, one-offs were essentially banned due to lack of comprehensive crash testing, and the Bosley became a moot concept.
Other stars include the 1962 Studebaker Sceptre concept car from Brooks Stevens, currently the property of the Studebaker National Museum, a ‘69 Farago CF 428 coupe commissioned by John DeLorean himself, and Gene Winfield’s Citroen-inspired ‘65 Reactor, which made a Star Wars cameo.
“The people involved in these cars … they’re real designers, professionals, not just talented individuals. This class is as much about the designers and their visions as it is about the cars,” said Gross.
The Concours d'Elegance begins on August 20th.
See you in the future.