Back in '03 when i was living in southern Ca, a buddy of mine told me about some old GM built show buses hidden away behind a shop about 45 minutes from where we worked. At the time, I'd never heard of the GM Futurliners, (and this was 3 years before a restored one showed up at the Barrett Jackson auction and pulled bids in the millions.) So never having seen one, when we took the trip to check em out, I was floored! These things are crazy! Talk about a bold statement. Dual front and rear white wall tires, centrally driven, custom designed, monsters that toted examples of never before seen technology while traveling from town to town across the country.
A little history from FuturLiner.com:
"Twelve Futurliners were built and used by GM to transport the GM Parade of Progress show throughout the United States from 1941 to 1956. The Futurliners transported dioramas and exhibits, featuring futuristic things such as: a microwave that fried an egg without burning a newspaper; a Ping-Pong game in stereophonic sound and; sound traveling over a beam of light produced by a flashlight. The Futurliner is a massive bus like vehicle, 33’ long, 8’ wide, 11’-7" tall vehicle with a whopping 248" wheelbase. An unusual feature of the Futurliner is its dual (side by side) front wheels. Each wheel has its own set of brakes, brake drums and bearings."
Anyway, here's some pictures of the one's we got to see. The shop owner was a pretty cool guy and let us take a close up look at the two that he had. As the story goes, at some point during the tour, while traveling through Utah, the brakes went out on one of the trucks and it ended up rear ending the one in front of it. Apparently the one it hit was taken out of commission for the remainder of the tour, after which they were all decommisioned. The damaged truck, along with another of the few existing survivors was what we found sitting behind the shop. I guess the game plan was to turn one into a car hauler. I'm not sure what the plan was for the intact one. Check out these pics though... these trucks are wild as hell.
My buddy Terrence was as geeked as I was.
It's hard to make out, but imprinted on the immense white wall tires was "Parade of Progress"
-Custom tires... like every other detail of these trucks... totally one off. What a crazy find.
Like I mentioned, I don't know what the dudes plans were with the complete one, but it wouldn't surprise me if he put it up for sale after hearing the crazy numbers that the other one pulled a few years later.