Friday, February 13, 2015

GM’s 1940 Futurliner No 10 Makes History: First Truck on the Historic Vehicle Association National Historic Vehicle Register

1940 GM Futurliner No. 10
Photo courtesy Historic Vehicle Association
Here’s an Australian video talking about the restoration of Futurliner No 10 (link HERE in case video won’t run). The actual commentary starts about a minute in, and include lots of great shots both inside and outside the vehicle, both parked and on the road. Check out the wheels, I love the atom symbol on them. The whole thing makes me think of a 1930s locomotive.

So what’s a Futurliner? For those of us not old enough to remember (me), or not American (also me), the GM Futurliners were a group of trucks and support vehicles that toured the United States both before and after World War II, bringing free science and educational exhibits to the people in GM’s “Parade of Progress.” One of GM’s executives had been inspired by the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair, and wanted to take some of that to those who wouldn’t otherwise get a chance to see it.

Not only were the trucks serving an important purpose, they were interesting in their own right. According to Mark Gessler, President of the Historic Vehicle Association, “The Historic Vehicle Association was founded to ensure that our automotive heritage is more broadly appreciated and carefully preserved for future generations. As the first truck in the National Historic Vehicle Register, Futurliner No. 10 represents not only a unique engineering design, but also a look into our nation's past and the cultural significance of the Parade of Progress." The video below, “This Truck Matters,” talks about why the trucks were built and some of what made them trucks unique. Here’s the LINK in case it’s no longer working. It also talks a bit about the vehicle’s later history and its restoration.

No. 10 currently calls the National Automotive and Truck Museum of the United States home—that’s in Auburn, Indiana, if you’re thinking about checking it out. It was given to the museum by collector Joe Bortz in 1992, and restored, over an eight year period, by a team of volunteers headed by Don and Carol Mayton.

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