play a vital role in deciding the future direction and style of production cars we see on the roads every day. Like fashion, car design is always changing. What was ground breaking one year is old news the next. Below are some concepts from the 1930's to the 1980's which are so old they are interesting again. Concepts are displayed in chronological order, beginning with the oldest.
The 1938 Buick Y-Job is generally considered the industry's first concept car and was used to evaluate public taste towards different styles. Created at General Motors by Buick Engineering dept, it was designed by GM stylist George Snyder under the supervision of Harley J. Earl, GM's first design chief. The two-seat sports convertible was built on a stretched Buick chassis modified by Charlie Chayne, then Buick's chief engineer. His engineering skills allowed the car to sit just 58inches high from the new 13inch tyres to the top of the split front windscreen. Power was supplied by a 141bhp Buick 320 cubic inch straight 8, the Y-Job also utilized a bladder type braking system instead of conventional cylinders. The streamlined body featured styling cues that would be seen on future Buick and GM cars like the 'bombsight' hood ornament, wraparound bumpers, hidden headlamps, wide horizontal grille with thin vertical bars and power windows, power top and electric doors. The streamlined look was helped by, 'frenching in' the tail lights, fitting flush door handles, a pop-up trunk lid handle and the omission of running boards.