- Written by webmin
For all the streamliners and teardroppers sketched out, put into clay and prototyped, very few successfully became the car of the future that they claimed to be. But they sure made for excellent copy for the newspapers and mechanics magazines of the day, and David Greenlees recently came across a small treasure trove of streamliners in press photographs, few of which have been seen until now. Fortunately, he knew these were right up our alley and forwarded them on to us.
First up, a retractable hardtop car that we’ve seen here before, the Dan LaLee car , but in much better resolution than the grainy photos from three years ago. The photos all date from February 10, 1938, and depict LaLee, along with Jack Knight of United Air Lines and model Betty Bryant, showing off the retractable in or around Dearborn, Michigan. A couple of the photo descriptions include the word “rebuilt” and those wheels appear to come from an earlier Ford, so we can presume LaLee used a chassis from a wrecked car on which to base his retractable.
Next, a couple renderings from a couple well-known designers. Raymond Loewy penned the first, dated January 1938, and described as “a model of the automobile of the future, with its engine in the rear.” The second comes from Walter Dorwin Teague, and was used around March 1940 to promote Teague’s book, “Design This Way Day: The Technique of Order in the Machine Age.” The rendering is described as “the rear-engined, teardrop car of tomorrow… designed by Mr. Teague and Walter Dorwin Teague, Jr., features clear vision, extra seating capacity, built-in bumpers and airflow form.”
The McQuay-Norris needs no introduction. These photos of it date from June 1935 and depict alongside of it George Leutwiler, test engineer for McQuay-Norris. The location could very well be St. Louis, where McQuay-Norris was based.
The next rendering, dated December 1933, came through without any information about the designer or the purpose of the design. However, the tadpole-configured model, dated March 1944, is credited to Frank Spring, who intended to combine “maximum streamlining with practical considerations.” Of course, everybody but Spring had designed their streamliners to be as impractical as possible…
Finally, a photo showing the back end of Edsel Ford’s 1932 speedster, dated January 1933. The reverse reads “back end of a future automobile.” If only.
UPDATE: Added a couple more shots that David found, another of the Frank Spring tadpole, and one of the Alberto Gorgoni-designed rhomboid-type streamliner.