Just in time for the OPEC oil embargo in October of 1973 the First Symposium on Low Pollution Power Systems Development was held in the Mariott parking lot in Ann Arbor. Unveiled that day from GM was the Urban; a suspicious looking cross between a golf cart and a Gremlin. Not to be outdone was the space-age-kit-car-looking Sundancer that cranked out 8 horses using a dozen 6 volt batteries. Inside the Mariott lobby an exhibition reminiscent of a high school science fair was held. We’re still waiting for the Second Symposium on Low Pollution Power Systems.
Archive for the ‘Concept Cars’ Category
Developed by William B. Stout, a car and aviation engineer the Stout Scarab was envisioned to be an ‘office-on-wheels’. Designed without running boards and using a 135 inch wheelbase the car had the most spacious interior available to any American car at the time. Additional interior space was gained by placing the engine behind the rear axle and moving the driver so far forward that the steering wheel was almost directly above the front wheels. Egyptian scarabs were prominent throughout the car and the use of thin curved chrome gave the car an Art Deco look.
Although Stout was hoping to make 100 Scarabs a year only 10 models were ever produced. Each Scarab was hand built and unique as modifications were made with each build. The first prototype Scarab was completed in 1932, but after that only 9 more were made. The $5,000 price tag made it prohibitive for almost any prospective buyer. It is believed that five Scarabs survive today.
Pictures copyright stormbear
“The newest development in wheelless, air-propelled vehicles” was how Ford Motor Company described its Levacar Mach I in 1959. The vehicle slid along on a thin film of compressed air, emitted through three “levapads” underneath the car. While Ford was hoping the levitation system would have applications in high speed public transportation, the real legacy may be the Mach I name for performance Mustangs and perhaps the inspiration for air hockey.