Video: GM Motorama Moods 1953

The General Motors Motorama was far more than a car show—it was a cultural celebration and a corporate mission statement. Here’s a fascinating look at the inaugural 1953 edition.



We’ve featured the GM Motoramas of 1953-1961 often here, including the original 1953 show that premiered at the Waldorf Astoria in New York and drew 45,000 visitors on opening night. (Check out an original four-minute newsreel item here.) Now we’re back with a more in-depth look at the groundbreaking ’53 event, thanks to this excellent ten-minute film produced for General Motors entitled Motorama Moods. 

The Motorama for 1953 featured an entire roster of memorable dream cars, including the Buick XP-300 and the GM LeSabre (“Thrusting toward tomorrow!”). And of course, it was at the Motorama that the 1953 Corvette made its successful debut, and was then quickly approved for production. But as this little film illustrates, Motorama was much more than just a car show.

There were full-blown, Broadway-style musical productions (one here is called “Motorama Rhythms”) and elaborate exhibits with ingenious cutaways and product demos showing off the latest engineering features. Truly, the 1.9 million visitors to Motorama on its six-city tour that year were treated to quite a show. Wish we could have been there. Video follows.


7 thoughts on “Video: GM Motorama Moods 1953

  1. As I understood it the Motorama started in 1949;
    Here is a 1950 look at Pontiac;
    General Motors New Car Previews for 1950 – YouTube

  2. In 1949 the event was known as Transportation Unlimited Autorama. There was no event in 1952. In 1953 the name Motorama was adopted.

  3. Now they just bomb you with TV commercials screaming about there new models, while videos of them racing through city streets, across the tops of buildings, and finally stopping at some swanky parking lot.

    Much more civilized back in the old days, hate I missed out on it!

    • Do you remember the GTO tiger commercials? All that burning rubber and aggressive driving that Pontiac division and some others later promoted? Did you all realize that it all stopped in 1967? Did you know GM was furious not only of Pontiac division for circumventing and exceeding the 330 cubic inch intermediate rule and bringing out the Pontiac GTO, but succeeded in restricting Pontiac from those aggressive adds. Why? Because the corporation was afraid of the government.
      Did you ever realize why after January of 1963 Pontiac and Chevrolet stopped engineering help and sponsoring any racing activities letting Ford and Chrysler dominate NASCAR, USAC, IHRA, NHRA? GM stopped all the win on Sunday sell on Monday because the government threatened to break off Chevrolet division because GM was selling too many cars.
      This action forced Pontiac in particular to break GM rules and take some of that performance off the track and put it on the street. How else could you remain in the #3 sales slot and not be able to race, hence the 1964 GTO.

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