Here’s a press photo that was lurking in our cabinet of a nice concept, the 1959 Cadillac Cyclone. This Jetson-like bubble-topped show car made its debut at the inaugural Daytona 500, and looks to have borrowed a few design ideas from NASA.
Designers Harley Earl and Bill Mitchell gave the Cyclone a flip-top canopy that was fully powered and would disappear in the trunk, resting on an airbag, when not needed. The top was also coated in vaporized silver to deflect the sun’s rays, and the sliding doors would jut out at the push of a button, allowing easy opening and easier entry. The rectangle in the door was a compartment to allow outside interaction without flipping the top, and external speakers ensured that the driver’s voice would be heard.
The black points on the leading edge of the front fenders hid a radar-based guidance system meant to interact with future “smart roads,” and the concept even boasted an untested proximity warning system that would relay an alert to the driver of oncoming obstacles.
Powered by Cadillac’s 390-cu.in., 325-hp V-8, the Cyclone appeared at various car shows after the Daytona 500 and was a part of GM’s popular Motoramas, which operated until 1961. It would undergo several styling changes (including a 1960 fin-ectomy, which reduced the size of the tailfins seen here) before its ultimate retirement.
Article courtesy of Hemmings Daily, written by Tom Comerro.