GM Futurliner

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GM Futurliner
GM Futurliner01.jpg
Restored Futurliner #10 in 2007
Built By: GMC Truck and Fisher Coach & Body.
Number built: 12
Built: 1939
Overhauled: 1953
Retired: 1956
Height: 3.5 metres (11 feet 6 inches)
Width: 2.4 metres (7.9 feet)
Length: 10 metres (33 feet)
Wheelbase: 6.3 metres (20 feet 8 inches)
Weight: 15 tons (30,000 pounds) (approx)
Fuel Capacity: 340 litres (90 gallons) (2 45 gallon tanks)
Powertrain(1940–1946): 4-cylinder diesel/manual transmission
Power Train (1953–1956): GMC 302ci 6-cylinder /4-speed Hydramatic plus 2-speed manual gearbox
Top Speed: 65 km/h (40 mph)

The GM Futurliners were a group of stylized buses designed in the 1940s by Harley Earl for General Motors. They were used in GM's Parade of Progress, which traveled the United States exhibiting new cars and technology. The Futurliners were used from 1940 to 1941 and again from 1953 to 1956. A total of 12 were built, and 9 were still known to exist as of 2007.

Parade of Progress[edit]

Each Futurliner displayed modern advances in science and technology such as jet engines, stereophonic sound, microwave ovens, television and other innovations of the time.

The Parade of Progress was halted by World War II. The vehicles were refurbished by GM and the Parade resumed in 1953, but was discontinued in 1956, a victim of a technology the Futurliners had featured: television.

In addition to the Futurliners, the Parade of Progress included 32 support vehicles.

The Futurliner was originally made for the 1939 New York World's Fair.[citation needed]

After the Parade[edit]

Following the Parade of Progress, the twelve Futurliners were disposed of by General Motors.

Two Futurliners were donated by GM to the Michigan State Police. Rechristened as "Safetyliners", they were used to promote safety on the roads.[1]

At least one Futurliner was purchased by Oral Roberts and used as a portable stage during evangelical crusades of the 1960s. This vehicle may have been taken to Central or South America.[2]


Of the remaining nine Futurliners, one was wrecked (considered totaled) during the 1956 parade year and was not replaced.[3] Futurliner Bus #11 sold for a record US$4,000,000 (plus premium) on January 21, 2006 at a Barrett-Jackson auction in Arizona; as it was too large to ship, it was driven to its new home in Chandler.[4] Bus #10 was restored and is in the NATMUS museum in Auburn, IN. Bus #9 was restored and in use as a motorhome. In 2008, Futurliner #8 was delivered to its new home in Sweden. The new owner plans to restore it over a 10-year period;[5] it was the first and, to date, only Futurliner to be relocated to Europe.[citation needed]

As of late 2013, Peter Pan Bus Lines in Massachusetts has one Futurliner painted to original livery and has a second Futurliner in storage.[6]

Futurliner #5 was rebuilt and restored from leftover parts as a hauler.

The restoration of Futurliner #3 was the subject of an episode of the Velocity Channel show "Bitchin' Rides". Number 3 was a 19 month restoration to be the most complete, and period correct of all so far. Bitchin Rides is about the goings on at KindigitDesign in Salt Lake City, Utah. [7]

Futurliner #7 is currently being restored or has plans in place for a restoration in Maine.[6] There are still two Futurliners unaccounted for.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Safetyliners". Retrieved 2011-09-18. 
  2. ^ "Cathedral Cruiser". Retrieved 2011-09-18. 
  3. ^ "Bortz Auto Collection". Retrieved 5 March 2014. 
  4. ^ "4 million dollar bus". 2006-01-24. Retrieved 2011-09-18. 
  5. ^ "Futurliner #8 Restoration Project" (in Swedish). Jonsson Power Entertainment Cars. 
  6. ^ a b "Other GM Futurliners". GM Futurliner Restoration Project. Retrieved 2 March 2014. 
  7. ^ "Velocity Introduces Bitchin Rides". Velocity Channel. Retrieved 2014-10-28. 
  8. ^ GM Futurliner Restoration

External links[edit]