If we take a look back to a time when life seemed simpler and cars had had a distinct look that varied from each manufacturer – the ‘50s, it seemed like anything was possible. Americans were infatuated with the future, and the jet-age was in full swing. Under the direction of Harley Earl and Bill Mitchell, GM went on to build numerous cars that fueled this passion and mimicked jet aircraft and/or rockets. This is where the story of the GM Stiletto begins.
Eventually, the jet-age “fad” ran its course, and although the concept cars coming out of Detroit still displayed a futuristic look – as the still do, when 1964 rolled around, GM may have scaled back styling cues on production cars that mimicked jet design, but, The GM-X Stiletto show car illustrates that this philosophy was very much still on the mind of a few designers at GM in regard to concept cars. According to a GM press release dated April 8, 1964, the Stiletto was touted by GM to be a two passenger, high performance coupe with special appeal to car enthusiasts.
The Stiletto was first displayed to the American public at the 1964-1965 World’s Fair. There was no denying the car was the product of very fertile imaginations, with a very stylish “fastback” roofline, clean surfaces, and a long body with crisp lines. The protruding nose cone verified that the whole jet/rocket thing wasn’t quite over with, and the overall styling made a huge impression.
To further convey a jet influence, we only need to peer into the inside of the car to understand how much the aviation world influenced the Stiletto. When seated under the access-granting roofline, the occupants were greeted with no fewer than 31 indicator lights, 29 toggle switches, and 16 gauges, all spread across the roof and dashboard console.
But, when it came to the steering wheel, a “wheel” just wouldn’t do. Imagine hopping into your musclecar, and being faced with an airplane-style steering apparatus. Try to picture in your mind one of these in a 1970 Chevelle. Go ahead, we dare you.
Not only was the car’s design futuristic, but it also contained some very innovative ideas. The concept made use of automatic climate control, ultrasonic obstacle sensors, rear view cameras, and we’re told there was even a speaker/microphone for inside and outside communication. If you ask us, that is something all cars need today. Imagine being able to express your displeasure toward other drivers, and have them actually hear you!
But when it comes to futuristic, the Stiletto was leading the pack by not offering doors. That’s right, the car had no doors, and occupants would enter the car via a one-piece hatch that incorporated the entire roof. At the time, the concept was very well received.
When the World’s Fair concluded, the Stiletto was relegated to long-term storage for the next five years. But in a surprising twist, GM then resurrected the Stiletto by giving it a new, even more sleek nose and a silver paint job. This is when the car was branded as a Pontiac and renamed Cirrus. It was given new life on the show circuit until the end of 1970. At that time, the car unceremoniously returned to storage until the ‘80s. It’s sad to say, but that is when it was sent to the crusher after General Motors decided to do a little house cleaning.
Article courtesy of Street Muscle Magazine, written by Randy Bolig.