Saturday, March 2, 2013

Jet-Age Dream Car: 1951 Buick LeSabre Concept Car

The LeSabre in all its glory. Photo (C)
In the early 1950s, Buick was known for its staid but solid family cars, but broke new ground with Harley Earl's all-new LeSabre Motorama show car in 1951. With a dual gasoline/methanol fuel system, extensive use of aluminum and magnesium, a 12-volt electrical system, rain-activated convertible top and compound-curved glass, not to mention its jet plane-like styling, it was like nothing ever seen before or since.

Earl used the car as a daily driver much like he did with the prewar Y-Job concept, and it was an icon and benchmark for General Motors' styling well into the 1950s. The car still exists and is in GM's permanent collection, and Hot Wheels cast an excellent small-scale replica in its collector-grade "Boulevard" range some years ago.

Tail end of LeSabre. Photo (c)
 The LeSabre also influenced German coachbuilder-turned-customizer Spohn of Ravensburg, and their "box of toys" included a LeSabre-style tail. Most of their customs were on American cars owned by GIs stationed in Germany, but other cars, including this priceless 1949 BMW-Veritas cabriolet weren't immune to the LeSabre tail treatment.

Seen above is the Hot Wheels diecast model with detail added by the author, from the author's collection.

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