Cruise Back to the Future -- The GM Futurliner Comes to the Antique Auto Museum at Hershey September 27 - October 2, 2006
It’s 33 feet long and almost twelve feet high, yet it’s only eight feet wide. It has an interior staircase, a driver’s seat perched ten feet above the highway, and a streamlined aluminum body. Is it a bus . . . ? Is it a train . . . ? It’s the GM Futurliner! [Yes, that’s the way it’s spelled.]
In 1940, General Motors built twelve Futurliners to transport its Parade of Progress show, a traveling technology fair that featured animated exhibits and live demonstrations showcasing General Motors automotive and technological innovations. It has an interior staircase, a driver’s seat perched ten feet above the highway, and a streamlined body that makes it look more like a locomotive than a bus or truck. The Futurliners served as mobile exhibition halls, stages, power plants, and transport vehicles for the show which toured the United States from 1940 through the mid-1950s. After the show was discontinued, the Futurliners were sold to private buyers.
Futurliner No. 10 will be on display at the Antique Auto Museum at Hershey from Sunday, Septemer 24, 2006 through Monday, October 2, 2006. Volunteers from the restoration team will be on hand to answer questions and demonstrate vehicle features.
Goebel Beer Company purchased Futurliner No. 10 and converted into the “Goebel’s Land Cruiser,” a mobile stage for promotional events. It was later purchased by Joe Bortz, of the Bortz Collection, who donated it to the National Automotive and Truck Museum (NATMUS) in Auburn, Indiana.
Restoration of the Futurliner involved a group of dedicated volunteers headed by Don Mayton. Under a partnership agreement with the Museum, Don took possession of the vehicle in 1998 and moved it from the museum his shop in Michigan. Over next seven years, Don and a crew of thirty volunteers worked more than 18,000 man-hours transforming a rusted-out hulk into a stunning showpiece. It is the only authentically restored Futurliner in existence. Learn more about the Futurliner restoration at futurliner.com.
Upgraded in 1952, Futurliner No. 10 is powered by a six-cylinder engine rated at about 145 horsepower; it has a top speed of about 40 miles per hour. Brakes are marginal. [On the road, the twelve Futurliners traveled in a convoy - with 300 feet between each vehicle to prevent rear end collisions when braking to a stop!]
Today, the Futurliner occupies a unique place in automotive history. It is a fifty-year-old “car of tomorrow.” Come see it at the Antique Auto Museum at Hershey. Cruise Back to the Future!
The Antique Auto Museum at Hershey, a member of the Smithsonian Institutions Affiliations Program, displays authentically restored automobiles in unique scenes and settings. Visitors are transported through eight decades in time from New York to San Francisco, making each visit a visual adventure for all ages. One of the nation’s newest and largest automotive museums, the Antique Auto Museum is located just off Route 39, one mile west of Hersheypark Drive in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Regular admission $8, seniors age 61 and older $7, juniors age 4-12 $6, children age 3 and under are FREE. The Museum is open daily from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. For further information, please call 717-566-7100 or visit www.aacamuseum.org.
ABC 27 News ran a feature on the Futurliner. View the video here.