GM Futurliner – Steph Discovers A Piece Of Incredible Automotive History [Photos] [Video]
I’m not a car girl by nature, but when I saw this incredible example of our area’s rich automotive history I stopped and took notice.
See my pictures and get a short history lesson on Futurliner Number 10.
I was heading to the Sloan Museum on Saturday morning and and just happened to see, by pure luck, an amazing example of our area’s rich automotive history. Now, I’m not a car girl by nature, but I wheeled in to the closest parking lot to snap some pictures, and later I did some research on this majestic vehicle called the GM Futurliner.
In 1939, GMC Truck and Coach and Fisher Body built 12 huge buses at the suggestion of Charles Franklin Kettering, who was inspired by the 1933-1934 Chicago World’s Fair. Those buses would tour the country as the Parade of Progress.The Parade showcased new GM cars and advances in technology and science. Microwave ovens, stereophonic sound, television sets, Ethanol, jet engines and flashlights were just some of the “futuristic things” featured. The GM Futurliner visited cities and towns from coast to coast during the 1940s and ’50s. World War II brought the Parade of Progress to a halt, but in 1953, with newly refurbished Futurliners, the Parade hit the road again. Four short years later, General Motors pulled the plug on the program and the buses. Two Futurliners went to the Michigan State Police and became “Safetyliners” to promote traffic safety. Another was purchased by Oral Roberts and used as a portable stage during his angelical crusades in the 1960s. The remaining Futurliners were sold to private owners.
Only nine of the twelve magnificent Futurliners are known to exist today. In 2006, Number 11 was sold at the Barret-Jackson auto auction for more than $4 million. Two more are beyond restoration, and are being parted out to maintain the other buses.
The bus that I was lucky enough to see was Futurliner Number 10. Restoration on the bus began in 1999, and continued over the next seven years by a dedicated staff of 30 volunteers in Beaverdam, MI. It’s now owned by the National Automotive and Truck Museum of the United States, in Auburn Indiana, and tours the country doing appearances at auto shows and special events.
Check out my photo gallery below…
If you didn’t catch this incredible piece of automotive history at the Buick Gallery, Number 10 will be back in Flint for the Kettering University Alumni Reunion on May 16th and 17th.
I was told by the driver that Number 10 doesn’t fare well on highways, so it was being put on a trailer Saturday, in the Whiting parking lot, for its’ next appearance in Grand Rapids.
CLICK HERE for the complete history of Futurliner Number 10.
See an archived promotional video of the Parade of Progress below.
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