2007 Chevrolet Volt
You'll never get the chance to drive one--but GM, while it's naming its favorite production cars from its own stocks, is also putting pen to paper to list the best concept cars it's ever fabricated, too.
It all started with Harley Earl, who was customizing cars for Hollywood stars, they say. GM brought him in-house, had him assemble a crack styling team, and put into motion a decade later the whole idea of "concept cars"--teases meant to show off future styling directions, or just to make people palaver at the idea of what the automotive future might hold.
From General Motors' contributions to the art, they've chosen vehicles from the original Y-Job to the considerably more newfangled Volt among their ten finest concept creations. Have a problem with these or have one of your own to add to the list? Tell us in a comment below.
2007 Chevrolet Volt (above): Concept now, but possibly a production car soon, the Chevrolet Volt is the battle axe that GM's using to swing back at Toyota and its smirking Prius. If GM can make it happen--and all points are converging on yes--then the smug set of Toyota owners will be getting competition in the next lane.
2002 GM AUTOnomy:
GM puts this one on its ten-best list as it combined the notion of fuel cells with a radical body that doesn't waste the front-end space normally devoted to a gas-powered engine. The AUTOnomy, along with the HY-WIRE concept, also peeked into the future of drive-by-wire technology.
1990 GM Impact:
1990 GM Impact
The electric car that started GM down the path of the EV1, the Impact was an electric car that broke ground when it was announced at the Los Angeles auto show--and eventually put the company on the path to the new Volt.
1987 GM Sunraycer:
Harnessing the power of the sun, GM won a nearly 2,000-mile race with the Sunraycer, which used 7,200 solar cells to hit 45 miles per hour.
1970 Vauxhall SRV: This four-seater, GM says, was a test bed for technology that influenced aerodynamics and suspension and engine design. A plastic-bodied car, the SRV had a transverse front-mounted engine and adjustable aero features, as well as an electric leveling system.
1965 Experimental Opel GT:
1965 Experimental Opel GT
Opel's first concept car was spun off its Kadett platform, and went into production three years later, and was sold for a period at American Buick dealerships.
1961 Chevrolet XP-755 Mako Shark:
1961 Chevrolet XP-755 Mako Shark
Inspired, legend has it, by the animal, this concept Mako Shark eventually became the 1963 Corvette Sting Ray. It rang in with a big V-8 with 425 horsepower.
1954, 1956, and 1958 Firebird series:
1954, 1956 and 1958 Firebirds
Harley Earl's design team put together these three concepts and powered them with gas-turbine engines. Disc brakes and four-wheel independent suspensions were also a part of the packages. The Firebird name lived on as a Pontiac that emerged later in the decade.
1951 GM LeSabre:
1951 Buick LeSabre Concept
This beautiful concept drew inspiration from jet fighter aircraft, and offered a supercharged V-8 with twin fuel tanks, one of them holding methanol. The convertible roof was triggered by a rain sensor.
1938 Buick Y Job:
1938 Buick Y-Job
GM calls it the world's first concept car. Put together to show off new styling themes and technologies, the Y-Job had a folding top hidden under a steel tonneau cover, hidden headlights and a timeless style.