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1958 GM Firebird III

GM Firebird III, 1958
GM Firebird III, 1958
GM Firebird III, 1958
GM Firebird III, 1958
GM Firebird III, 1958
GM Firebird III, 1958
GM Firebird III, 1958
GM Firebird III, 1958
GM Firebird III, 1958 - Photo: James Haefner
GM Firebird III, 1958 - Photo: James Haefner
GM Firebird III, 1958
GM Firebird III, 1958
Firebird III at the General Motors Tech Center in Warren, Michigan
Firebird III at the General Motors Tech Center in Warren, Michigan
GM Firebird III, 1958
GM Firebird III, 1958
GM Firebird III, 1958
GM Firebird III, 1958
GM Firebird III, 1958
GM Firebird III, 1958
GM Firebird III, 1958
GM Firebird III, 1958
GM Firebird III, 1958
GM Firebird III, 1958
GM Firebird III, 1958
GM Firebird III, 1958
GM Firebird III, 1958
GM Firebird III, 1958
GM Firebird III, 1958
GM Firebird III, 1958
GM Firebird III, 1958 - Harley Earl
GM Firebird III, 1958 - Harley Earl
The Firebird III goes through its paces on the test track
The Firebird III goes through its paces on the test track
GM Firebird III, 1958
GM Firebird III, 1958
GM Firebird III, 1958
GM Firebird III, 1958
GM Firebird III, 1958 - Tail fin view
GM Firebird III, 1958 - Tail fin view
GM Firebird III, 1958
GM Firebird III, 1958
GM Firebird III, 1958
GM Firebird III, 1958
GM Firebird III, 1958
GM Firebird III, 1958
GM Firebird III, 1958
GM Firebird III, 1958
GM Firebird III, 1958
GM Firebird III, 1958
GM Firebird III, 1958
GM Firebird III, 1958
GM Firebird III, 1958
GM Firebird III, 1958
GM Firebird III, 1958
GM Firebird III, 1958
GM Firebird III, 1958 - Details
GM Firebird III, 1958 - Details
GM Firebird III, 1958 - Details
GM Firebird III, 1958 - Details
GM Firebird III, 1958 - Interior
GM Firebird III, 1958 - Interior
GM Firebird III, 1958 - Interior
GM Firebird III, 1958 - Interior
The Firebird III steals the stage at the 1959 Motorama
The Firebird III steals the stage at the 1959 Motorama
GM Firebird III, 1958 - Brochure
GM Firebird III, 1958 - Brochure
GM Firebird III, 1958 - Brochure
GM Firebird III, 1958 - Brochure
GM Firebird III, 1958 - Brochure
GM Firebird III, 1958 - Brochure
GM Firebird III, 1958 - Cutaway
GM Firebird III, 1958 - Cutaway
GM Firebird III, 1958 - Design Sketch by Ken Nelson
GM Firebird III, 1958 - Design Sketch by Ken Nelson
GM Firebird III, 1958 - Rendering by Norm James
GM Firebird III, 1958 - Rendering by Norm James
GM Firebird III, 1958 - String Drawing
GM Firebird III, 1958 - String Drawing
GM Firebird III, 1958 - Mock-up
GM Firebird III, 1958 - Mock-up
GM Firebird III, 1958 - Clay Model
GM Firebird III, 1958 - Clay Model
GM Firebird III, 1958 - Clay Model and Engineering Study Model
GM Firebird III, 1958 - Clay Model and Engineering Study Model
GM Firebird III, 1958 - Design Process
GM Firebird III, 1958 - Design Process
GM Firebird III, 1958
GM Firebird III, 1958
GM Firebird III, 1958
GM Firebird III, 1958
GM Firebird III, 1958
GM Firebird III, 1958
Images: GM Media Archives; www.conklinsystems.com; deansgarage.com
Rating:  33    -11    +44
The Firebird III was the first space age inspired car by General Motors.
The third in a series of gas turbine-powered experimentals, Harley Earl took his imagination to new places with his final dream car – the Firebird III. Harley Earl was quoted as saying “I envisioned an entirely different type of car which a person may drive to launching site of a rocket to the moon”. Under twin bubble tops, Mr. Early placed the first single stick vehicle control system which eliminated the conventional steering wheel, brake pedal, and accelerator. Utilizing an ultrasonic key, the Firebird’s large, butterfly doors opened via high frequency sound waves. With nine fins, the Firebird III remains the ultimate fin car.

GM Press Release


General Motors experimental Firebird III is the first space-age inspired car. Beneath its missile-ilke shape the tools of the space age-translators, computors and electronics-are employed for the first time to give automatic guidance and improved passenger comfort to automobiles.

Firebird III is the first car ever designed around a single stick control system which eliminates the conventional steering wheel, brake pedal and accelerator. It is the easiest-to-drive automobile ever built.

It is the third member of the GM Firebird family which has become a world famed symbol of the auto industry’s continuous search for better transportation tomorrows. The car was conceived and built at the GM Technical Center near Detroit and is here shown under high speed test at the GM Proving Ground near Mesa, Arizona.

The first Firebird, a single seat car, introduced at the GM Motorama of 1954, was the first gas turbine powered automobile built and tested in the United States. Firebird II, a four passenger car introduced at the Motorama of 1956, carried forward gas turbine progress and featured significant advances in passenger comfort.

The second Firebird also presented a concept of a car under automatic guidance on an electronically-controlled highway of tomorrow. The latest Firebird, shown above, carries the concept into reality. Through electronic “sniffers” located beneath the car, it can follow low frequency power in a cable in the highway to automatically guide the car.

Firebird III was designed and built jointly by Harley J. Earl, GM Vice-President in Charge of Styling and Lawrence R. Hafstad, GM Vice President in Charge of Research, and more than 500 specialists from their staffs with assistance from several other staffs and 10 GM divisions.

It has a fiber glass body and is pearlescent silver-gold in color. The car measures 44.8 inches at the top of the bubbles and 57.3 inches at the tip of the dorsal fin.

Firebird III has two engines—an improved 225 horsepower Whirlfire gas turbine engine located in the rear and a new 10 horsepower aluminum engine located in the nose which drives all accessories.

Featuring the most advanced passenger compartment ever designed, the car has the first single dial electronic temperature system. Through electronics it can maintain a single temperature setting even though the car be driven from the North Pole to the Equator. Large gull-wing doors swing diagonally up to offer effortless passenger entry.

New Trub-Al brakes, an improved air-oil suspension system, a lighting system that turns on automatically when daylight turns to darkness, an “ultra-sonic key” which opens the doors by high frequency sound waves and a timer which can be set to start the accessory drive engine prior to passenger entry to pre-condition the temperature are a few of the other features of this revolutionary new automobile.

GM Press Release


The Firebird III has an aerodynamic fibreglass body and is pearlescent silver-gold in colour. It has a wide, tapered nose, twin plastic bubble canopies over the passengers and a high dorsal fin at the tail. The car`s most significant single feature, its control system, features combined and improved versions of "no-hands" steering and the single-stick Unicontrol introduced separately by GM Research Laboratories.

www.autospeed.com


Проектную разработку нового чудо-автомобиля Firebird III Харли Эрл своим итальянским партнерам не доверил. Этот монстр был представлен в 1959 году на очередной «Мотораме». Достаточно беглого взгляда на кузов, чтобы предположить, что Firebird III – аппарат из фантастического комикса. Супернизкая машина с турбинным двигателем имела две отдельные «авиационные» кабины. За стеклом «фонаря» виднелась лишь голова водителя. Количество хвостовых килей выросло до семи. Задние колеса полностью скрыты крыльями-воздухозаборниками. Надо сказать, что эксперименты с турбомобилями велись корпорацией Chrysler еще с 1954 года. Первопроходцем здесь выступило отделение Plymouth: в 1956 году четыре турбомобиля Plymouth Coupe совершили испытательный пробег по маршруту Нью-Йорк – Лос-Анджелес.

Иван Рожнов, Журнал "МОТОР", 8-1998
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