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The concept cars that helped shape the future

Exhibit in Atlanta features 17 of the most innovative 'Dream Cars' ever made

Fantastical automobiles like the Norman Timbs 1947 Special pictured above may have never entered mass production but the same cannot be said of the ideas they inspired. Dream Cars: Innovative Design, Visionary Ideas is an upcoming exhibition showcasing concept cars made over the last 80 years or so. Many of the vehicles selected either explored the limits of automotive design or played host to innovations that would later become ubiquitous in modern cars.

"This exhibition presents 17 historic four-wheeled fantasies that push the envelopes of automotive styling, engineering, and design to impressive heights," consulting curator Ken Gross explains in a statement.

Some of the vehicles on display look like implausible dreams. The 33-inch tall Stratos HF Zero has no doors, only a windshield that can be raised to allow entry. General Motors' Firebird XP-21, which has been likened to a jet plane on wheels, is a single-seater that is too hot, too loud, and too fuel-inefficient. Its tailpipe has an exhaust temperature of 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

The exhibit also highlights more practical-looking automobiles, including those that helped define today's cars. William Stout's Scarab, for example, is regarded as a precursor to the modern minivan while the 1941 Chrysler Thunderbolt is recognized as the first American car to feature an electrically operated, retractable hardtop.

The show is organized by the High Museum of Art in Atlanta and will take place between May 21st and September 7th, 2014.

A dream of cars


Bugatti Type 57S Compétition Coupé Aerolithe recreation, 1935
Designed by Jean Bugatti and Joseph Walter. Made by The Guild of Automotive Restorers. Courtesy of Christopher Ohrstrom. This recreation of the vehicle was made based on a few photographs, known specifications, records, and an oil painting by a Bugatti designer. (Photo by Joe Wiecha)