Tuesday, March 23, 2010
History on Parade: Motor Trend Cover Cars at Amelia Island
There's a small piece of Motor Trend history on display at this weekend's Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance in Florida. Actually, make that a big piece of history, because I don't think there's ever been a gathering quite like this; an eclectic collection of automotive rarities linked by a single common thread -- they all appeared on the cover of Motor Trend magazine.
The seven cars in this group -- some home-built specials, others mega-dollar factory concepts -- were featured on covers of Motor Trend between 1949 and 1956. The Amelia lineup includes the Kurtis Sports Car that appeared on the cover of the very first issue of Motor Trend, published in September 1949, and the astonishing Timbs Special, which graced the cover of issue two the following month.
The Timbs Special was built from scratch by Van Nuys, California, based aircraft design engineer Norman E. Timbs. He designed and fabricated the chassis and the four wheel independent suspension, and built a full-scale wooden buck to help form the car's voluptuous aluminum panels. The engine is a Buick straight eight, mounted mid-ships. It took three years and $10,000 to complete. You can read the full story of the car in the new issue of Motor Trend Classic.
Other cars in the group include the Buick LeSabre, one of world's earliest concept cars, and the Firebird II, the fully functioning turbine car built by General Motors for the 1956 Motorama auto shows. The Firebird II featured titanium bodywork, independent suspension all round, four wheel disc brakes, and a prototype guidance system that was designed to follow signals sent from an electrical wire embedded in the road surface.
Rounding out the group are the Ghia Gilda, a concept built for the 1955 Turin Show and powered by a 1.5-liter OSCA four cylinder engine; the Hudson Italia, the limited edition Touring bodied coupe built in 1954 and 1955 on Hudson Jet running gear, and the quirky three-wheeled Davis, built by an ill-fated, L.A.-based start-up automaker in the late 1940s.
You can expect features on some of these cars in future issues of Motor Trend Classic.
Posted by Palmer at 2:02 PM