The Futurliner, Detroit 1940 by flyrod
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The Futurliner, Detroit 1940 by 


5D Mark 2, 24-105mm, 1:4 lens. Photoshop CS5

The Futurliner

The GM Futurliners were a group of stylized buses designed in the 1940s by Harley Earl for General Motors. They were used in GM’s Parade of Progress, which traveled the United States exhibiting new cars and technology. The Futurliners were used from 1940 to 1941 and again from 1953 to 1956. A total of 12 were built, and 9 were still known to exist as of 2007.

Each Futurliner displayed modern advances in science and technology such as jet engines, stereophonic sound, microwave ovens, televisions, and many other modern innovations of the time.

WWII halted the Parade of Progress. GM refurbished the vehicles and the Parade resumed in 1953, and was discontinued in 1956, a victim of the technologies the Futurliners had featured: television.

Following the Parade of Progress, General Motors disposed of the twelve vehicles. At least one Futurliner was purchased by Oral Roberts and used as a portable stage during evangelical crusades of the 1960s.

9 futurliners have been found and documented with history. Of the 12, Futurliner #11 sold for a record US$4,000,000 (plus premium) on Jan 21, 2006 at a Barrett-Jackson auction in Arizona.

I photographed this Futurliner at the American Truck Historical Society Antique Truck Show in West Springfield Massachusetts on May 31, 2012. Peter Pignelli, the CEO of Peter Pan Bus Lines, owns it.

The name’s Flyrod. American car culture is my thing. If it rolls, roars, or rumbles I’m into it. Statistics and facts aren’t my gig. My mission is to track down and capture the infamous rides that make up pop culture, and to tell their stories.

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Comments

  • flyrod
    flyrodabout 2 years ago


    Original image

    Background art from a circa 1940’s gatefold postcard. It seemed like the perfect setting for the Futurliner.

    Cover from the Gatefold postcard featuring Detroit

  • Gail Falcon
    Gail Falconabout 2 years ago

    Nice work. Never knew of these buses……interesting info along with some great work.

  • Bryan D. Spellman
    Bryan D. Spellmanabout 2 years ago

    Another beautiful piece of work. Thanks for the history lesson too.

  • Your welcome Brian. Thanks.

    – flyrod

  • AuntDot
    AuntDotabout 2 years ago

    How very interesting…never knew about these. Wonderful editing as always, Flyrod!

  • Thanks my friend. Glad I could share this.

    – flyrod

  • barkeypf
    barkeypfabout 2 years ago

    Once again, fantastic post work flyrod. I seen one of these on 2 occasions in the past 3 years. But not this one. Powered by a low HP straight stove bolt 6.

  • I remember seeing it sell on the Barret Jackson Auction, so when I saw this one my jaw dropped. I saw one on line with whitewalls, and I’ve got to say that really puts it in the right era. So I made that modification. These are true museum pieces.

    – flyrod

  • F.A. Moore
    F.A. Mooreabout 2 years ago

    So great. :)

  • Thanks FA

    – flyrod

  • Nigel Bangert
    Nigel Bangertabout 2 years ago

    What a find love the history and the processing is as always perfect.

  • Thanks a million my friend. Always appreciated.

    – flyrod

  • WildBillPho
    WildBillPhoabout 2 years ago

    Very nice flyrod! You have made a real work of art from this beast!

  • Thanks Bill. It’s one of my favorite finds.

    – flyrod

  • patjila
    patjilaabout 2 years ago

    Wow that’s an iconic art work flyrod love the B&W that’s the extra vintage finishing touch!

  • Thanks very much my friend.

    – flyrod

  • Paul Hickson
    Paul Hicksonabout 2 years ago

    that is so cool! awesome work!!

  • Thanks very much Paul

    – flyrod

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