The Buick Centurion concept car from the 1956 GM Motorama is a great example of why we started Cars In Depth. In regular photos and video it’s a strange looking car, with insect looking headlights and huge horizontal tailfins (that would show up on GM cars in the late 1950s). In two dimensional photography, those individual elements of a design can grab your eye. In person (or in 3D) though it’s still a little odd looking you can better see how those elements work together as a whole. Chuck Jordan, who drew the Centurion, was a talented designer who ended up heading GM styling. He’s not likely to have drawn an ugly car. The Centurion was on display at the GM Heritage Center when we visited, on loan from the Sloan Museum for Jordan’s memorial service, held at the GMHC. When you see the Centurion in three dimensions you can see how the headlights are more evocative of the air intakes of a jet aircraft than of an insect, and how the tail fins are an extension of Buick’s signature “sweepspear” character line.
3D video and photos of the Centurion concept after the jump.
In its day, the Centurion was about as high profile as a show car could get, being one of the headliners in GM’s Motorama at New York City’s Waldorf Astoria hotel.
Here’s a short clip from Design For Dreaming, a film the Jam Handy Organization made for GM to promote the ’56 Motorama.
And here’s a video that’s a bit more modern, some 3D that Cars In Depth shot at the GM Heritage Center.
Start the video, then pause. Click on the 3D icon to choose 3D or 2D format.
Click on the gallery to launch a Flash player to view the images in your choice of 3D or 2D format.