In this rare General Motors footage, watch as some finishing touches are applied to Harley Earl’s masterpiece, the 1951 LeSabre dream car.
REVISED AND EXPANDED — This magic moment comes to us courtesy of the General Motors Heritage Center in Sterling Heights, Michigan. Barely a minute long, this little clip shows the final detailing being performed on the GM (don’t call it a Buick) LeSabre concept of 1951, presumably for a show appearance.
Unlike many show cars, the LeSabre is a fully realized, fully functional prototype, and GM Vice President of Styling Harley Earl often drove it as his regular road car. Chocked with advanced features, the LeSabre sported an integral jacking system, dual gasoline and methanol fuel systems, and a moisture-activated automated convertible top. The dream car was planned and built over a span of five years at a reported cost of $7 million—in 1951-era dollars.
There are a couple of noteworthy items to call out in the film. First, we see a number of interesting details of the LeSabre’s construction. Next, we get a priceless glimpse of some circa-1951 shop tools. For example, check out the handy electric buffer in use at around 28 seconds. Yes, we are spoiled today. Enjoy the video.