Motor Mouth Blog


Dream Cars: Le Sabre, Firebird 1, Centurion

From the Historical Vehicle Association:

In our continuing series taking a look at General Motors “Dream Cars” of the 1950s, we spotlight GM’s one-of-a-kind “rolling laboratory,” the first gas-turbine-powered “rocket car” and a Buick with features decades ahead of its time.

1951 GM Le Sabre

Facts And Legends: It’s as if GM told their head of design, Harley Earl, to take every futuristic auto- motive idea he ever had and put it into one vehicle. Taking its name and styling influences from the Air Force’s F-86 Sabre fighter jets, the original Le Sabre””a nameplate eventually adopted by Buick in 1959″”was billed as a “rolling laboratory” for GM construction ideas and technological innova- tion. Some figures estimated a cost of anywhere from $500,000 to a million dollars to produce what many considered the most influential GM concept car of the 20th century.

The La Sabre was a test bed for radical new types of materials, most of which turned out to be too expensive to ever use in production cars. The La Sabre’s body was made of cast magnesium panels and hand-formed aluminum. After Motorama, Earl used the dream car as his everyday vehicle, put- ting 45,000 miles on the odometer to prove its roadworthiness.

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