1953 GM Futurliner #10

Star Car 1953 GM Futurliner #10 National Automotive and Truck Museum of the United States (NATMUS)

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Imagine how astonished highway drivers must have been some 60 years ago when they encountered a convoy of gleaming art deco GM Futurliners! From the high-mounted, centrally-located driver’s cockpits to the articulated chrome side panels and dual front wheels, GM Futurliners resembled nothing else on the road.

General Motors chief stylist Harley Earl designed the fleet of 12 streamliners to take part in the GM Parade of Progress, a promotional caravan that traveled across North Americafrom 1953 to 1956. On September 29, 1955, the Parade headed west on Grand Avenue through the heart of Des Moines’ downtown Auto Row, which has since become the grand concourse of the Des Moines Concours d’Elegance.

The Parade of Progress visited approximately 150 American towns and cities before crowds began to dwindle, choosing instead to stay at home where they enjoyed one of the Parade’s emerging technologies: television. As a result, the purpose-built Futurliners were sold and pressed into a variety of private commercial ventures. One by one, each of the giant custom trucks fell victim to the ravages of time.

Today, nine Futurliners are known to remain. The National Automotive and Truck Museum of the United States (NATMUS) in Auburn, IN acquired Futurliner #10 more than 20 years ago. The 12-ton truck measures 33 feet long, 8 feet wide, and more than 11 feet tall. Its 16-foot side doors were designed to open wide in order to reveal mid-century mechanical marvels and live demonstrations of emerging technology.

In 1999, a group of volunteers in the West Michigan area began a seven-year restoration of Futurliner #10. Refurbishment proved especially challenging since nearly every part and body panel had been custom made, including the tires. The finished truck is truly stunning, and in 2014 was nominated for inclusion in the prestigious National Historic Vehicle Register.

  • Owner

    National Automotive and Truck Museum of the United States (NATMUS) — Auburn , IN

    Make/Model

    1953 GM Futurliner #10