Detroit’s Latest Plastic Fantasies (Mar, 1954)

Some of these look surprisingly modern. Particularly, the front end of the Corvette Nomad looks a lot like a current Thunderbird.

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Detroit’s Latest Plastic Fantasies

Built to be seen but not sold, they are the banners in front of this year’s automotive circuses.

BONNEVILLE SPECIAL

Built for speed, this Pontine racer has knock-off hub caps and safety belt for driver. It is one of 11 rein forced-plastic cars pictured on this and the two following pages. Stylists’ pipe dreams, they were socked into form largely for exhibition at auto shows. You couldn’t buy one for a million dollars. They are not for sale.

CADILLAC EL CAMINO

An extra pair of headlights on this two-passenger hardtop automatically turns off when car is in traffic. Featuring Caddy’s 230-hp. engine, the 200″-long coupe carries its spare wheel be-low the trunk.

DODGE GRANADA

Described as first car ever built on conventional chassis with one-piece, all-plastic body, Granada even has bumpers, structural body members and body-attaching brackets of glass fibers. Car is 211″ long.

CHEVROLET CORVAIR

A variation on Corvette introduced last year by GM, this Chewy has a sloping “fast back.” It’s powered by 150-hp. engine. Car is only 51″ high.

CORVETTE NOMAD

Only description that applies here is a sports-car station wagon. It contains two seats, holds six people. Most notable feature is unusual amount of glass area.

OLDS CUTLASS

Most powerful plastic car is this 250-hp. V-8 Olds. It’s also one of the fanciest, with radiophone, pivoting seats, louvered rear ivin-dow. Hood scoops supply fresh air for heating system. Height: 51-1/2″.

NEW “CONVERTIBLE”

It is and it isn’t. The plastic top unlocks and lifts off this Chevy Corvette if you want to ride in the open. This probably is the only sports car ever built that retains its pleasing lines with the top on.

BUICK WILDCAT II

Progeny of last year’s Wildcat, this is the smallest Buick ever built — 111″ long and 48″ high with the top up. Front fenders look like Stutz Bearcat’s.

CADILLAC PARK AVE.

The stylists pulled their punches here. Car is conservative. Door handles are shaped like airfoils, wheels are aluminum alloy. Inside trim is of soft gray leather.

PLYMOUTH BELMONT

Not to be outdone, Plymouth exhibits a plastic car with a height to top of door of only 32-3/4″. Length is 191-1/2 Seats are white leather. Radio controls are on center armrest. Instruments include a tach.

OLDSMOBILE F-88

Steering post on this job is almost horizontal, making steering wheel almost straight up-and-down. Radio speaker is recessed in seat between passengers. Windshield vents supplement cowl ventilators.

2 comments
  1. Len says: July 28, 200612:25 pm

    The last car shown (the Olds F-88) still exists – it was sold for over $3 million at the 2005 Barrett-Jackson auction.

  2. Allan Evans says: August 23, 20069:34 am

    RE: comment on current Thunderbird … um, the current Thunderbird is an example of “retro-styling” … it was indeed copied from cars of this era (including the Ford Thunderbirds … Google “Ford Thunderbird History”).

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