Video: 1956 GM Future Car Travelogue

1956 GM FB II cabin leftSelf-driving cars are the big story of 2016. Now here’s GM’s take on the technology way back in 1956 in this wonderful, wacky, and beautifully preserved color film. Bonus: It’s a musical. You’re sure to love this trip to the future. 



In the 1950s, General Motors had quite a gift for producing wild, over-the-top promotional films. Who can forget the bizarre 1956 Motorama production, Design for Dreaming? (Watch it here.) This GM movie, also from 1956 and entitled Key to the Future, is every bit as weird and just as much fun.

Set in a fictional 1976, this movie presents a singing family of four traveling in their futuristic highway cruiser, GM’s Firebird II turbine-powered dream car. A bouncy musical score and some delightfully primitive special effects (check out the awesome miniatures) help to explain how GM’s futurists thought autonomous vehicles would one day work. They got their technical predictions almost totally wrong, of course, but that doesn’t make the film any less interesting and enjoyable.  Originally filmed in Technicolor and still clear and bright, Key to the Future is a treat to watch. Video below.


One thought on “Video: 1956 GM Future Car Travelogue

  1. Looks like Gene Roddenberry might have had a hand in that film! Very Sci-Fi looking. What a bunch of dreamers the GM guys actually were. It took until the 1980’s to get those in dash displays, just about as crude looking now if you look back at them. Funny they took the scenic route because they weren’t in a hurry, but got in the “high speed safety lane”! And with the self driving cars now making headlines, they predicted them then although their timing was a bit off.

    Makes you wonder if there are any dreamers like that left, and what they are thinking of.

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