The GM Futurliners were a group of custom vehicles, styled in the 1940s by Harley Earl for General Motors, and integral to the company’s Parade of Progress — a North American traveling exhibition promoting future cars and technologies.
At 33 feet long, 8 feet wide, more than 11 feet tall, and weighing more than 12 tons, each Futurliner featured heavily stylized Art deco, streamlined bodywork, deep red side and white roof paint, large articulated chrome side panels, a military-grade 302-cu.in. GMC straight-six gasoline engine and automatic transmission, whitewall tires and a prominent, high-mounted, centrally located driver command position with a panoramic windshield. 12 Futurliners were manufactured, with nine still known to exist as of 2007.
The Auburn Car Company was in business for four decades, but its height came at the end, with the Boattail Speedster. This model was made for only two years, the first one in 1935, and there were only minor modifications on the 1936 model. The Boattail Speedster was designed after the company had to shift away from 12-cylinder cars.
They redesigned into a straight eight cylinder model that was supercharged with a Schweitzer-Cummins aspiration system. This, with two valves per cylinder, allowed the carburation system to produce a lot more power, cranking out 150 horsepower at 4000 rpm. The engine itself was 280 cubic inches with a bore of 3.06 inches and a stroke of 4.75 inches.
This was one of the few true sports cars of the pre-war era. It sold new for $2,245, which was still affordable to some even during the Depression. E.L. Cord was credited with designing a larger, flowing design that made the Auburn unique in appearance, in addition to it being a performance car.
Even though it was a fast car for its day, it was also big. The car was made of steel, and used 6.5 x 15 inch tires. The car weighed in at 3746 pounds with a 127 inch wheel base. It’s front track was 58 inches, while the rear track was 62 inches, which gave the rear a boat-like appearance, hence the name. The Auburn Speedster was 194 inches long, 71 inches wide and 58 inches tall.
The car had a three-speed manual transmission, and would go from zero to 60 in 15 seconds, which was quick for its time. The car also had a top speed of 140 miles per hour, which was almost unheard of in the late 30s. In 1936 while this was the height of the Auburn vehicles, it was also the end, as the company stopped production in 1937.
For many years, the Bugatti line had separate vehicles for luxury and sport. In an effort to combine production and be within cost while still producing quality, the two forms were consolidated. The 1938 Bugatti Type 57 Ventoux was primarily designed to be a passenger car, but still maintain the thrill of Bugatti race cars. The concept was to offer the desired quality of the sports car while keeping the benefit of passenger use.
The Type 57 carried a high performance chassis. The engine featured twin overhead camshafts with a displacement of 3.3 liters. It was set with 90 degree incline valves and central spark plugs. The performance offered 35 more horsepower than previous models. The Rudge Witworth wire wheels combined with fifteen inch drum brakes made this car a dream ride of its time. Although it was simplistic in design the Type 57 exuded complicated high quality craftsmanship.
The transmission was linked by way of bell housing to the engine, which was a new concept for this line of vehicle. Prior models had the engine and transmission separated. The type 57 was always being upgraded, especially where braking and suspension were concerned.
The 1938 Bugatti Type 57 Ventoux featured a Dual Throat Updraft Stromberg UUR-2 Carburetor. The bore and stroke were at 72mm / 100mm. The 4-speed manual transmission could produce a top speed of 95mph. The suspension featured a rigid axle with semi-eliptic springs with Hartford Friction shock absorbers in the front, and Live Axle with a reversed quarter elliptic springs.
With the aluminum over steel frame, the 1938 Bugatti Type 57’s 3594 lbs was heavier than other vehicles of this time period. That being said, this machine was a maverick in performance and attraction. In many ways it shaped the modern vehicle of today, and holds a historic place in the automotive revolution.