Harold Hardenbrook
GM Futurliner Restoration Project
National Automotive and Truck Museum of the United States

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LETTER FROM HARRY

    "I can’t begin to tell you what a thrill it was to hear about what you and the other fellows are doing. Although I went on to accomplish some really outstanding things in my career after leaving the Parade it still ranks as one of the most memorable, if not the most memorable.
    The Parade has never left my mind. Just to give you an example, I have been vacationing in the South off and on for the past 15 or more years visiting all of the towns I could remember where the show played. Yes, they have all changed, most to the point I could not find places such as the hotels or the show lots where we setup or stayed. Still, others like Sandusky, Ohio and Savannah were either the same or so little changed I wanted to go in the hotel and get ready for the evening show.
    I would like to add one more thing for now and write more later. About four or five years ago I am watching a movie which was so bad even calling it "B" movie would have been kind. Careening down the street in a chase scene, I think being driven by the bad guys was a thinly disguised Futurliner. I fell off the chair. I don’t think it was on the screen more than a minute, but I remember thinking to myself … OK, Any Warhel, you are famous for saying everyone gets 15 minutes (or was it seconds) of fame in a lifetime. Mr. Warhel, here is a vehicle that get its shot of fame in a 3rd rate movie but 15 seconds, 15 minutes or even 15 hours won’t begin to tell the story of that vehicle – it deserves a heck of a lot more. And thanks to you and the other people involved in the "FUTURLINER" restoration program. It looks like its going to come true.
    I have located my pictures and other memorabilia and I will be sending them to you shortly. In addition I will be sending you another letter of anecdotes in the not too distant future. In the meantime, my very best to you and that crew of really dedicated guys."

Charles E. Kettering and Harry Hardenbrook checking out a one of the scientific presentations.

ACCOUNTS FROM HARRY

Harry said he was with the Parade in late 1952 prior to it starting again in 1953. He was with the Parade approximately 1-1/2 years. Harry was a recent graduate from Michigan State when hired as a lecturer. Prior to going on the road they went to the Michigan State Fairgrounds in Detroit, MI. There without any instructions they drove the Futurliner in circles practicing on the fairgrounds. As he recalls he either drove #4 or #5 Futurliner. For awhile he also drove one of the support tractor trailer trucks but did not like that due to all the gear shifting that had to be done.
    Their shake down was in Frankfort, Kentucky and their next real show was in Lexington, Kentucky in the spring of 1953. The very first show was to several hundred reporters and everybody was nervous. He was in the middle of his presentation and Boss Kettering got up from the audience and came on stage an helped him with that first presentation.
    When they were in Orlando, Florida the Parade was given the 2nd Corvette produced to show. Harry got to drive it from Orlando to the next show in Jacksonville, Florida.
    He stated there was only two ways to drive the Futurliner and that was slowly and carefully. He stated the brakes were not adequate for all the weight of the vehicles. When the advance team went out to check out the route that was to be traveled by the Futurliners they had to be concerned about the roads grades, the height of the overpasses, and the weight limit of the roads and bridges. He stated the brakes on a long downhill would get so hot they would smoke.
    Another big problem was that of the long line of vehicles. The Parade would have as its lead car a Cadillac followed by other divisions cars, the Futurliners, the support trucks and a Cadillac at the rear. There was so much starting and stopping that it seemed they would never get any place. There was a continuous according affect. He thought the total Parade consisted on some 65 vehicles.
    Harry was a lecturer for four different shows. One show was demonstrating a machine that measured the smoothest of cylinder walls. Another was a scientific demonstration that was way above the audience and it was shortly dropped. Another was the curved dash Oldsmobile. And the last was mixing chemicals and making foam.
    When they arrived in a community often they were requested to do a demonstration for the local TV station. Of course in the 1950's these were always live TV. One in which he did in a southern town he managed to cut himself in front of the TV camera and had blood on his shirt and light gray jacket. He stated he just wrapped his hand with his handkerchief and finished the demonstration.
    He thinks our web site is great but would like us to add the Paraders names to it. We need some feedback to you Paraders on that.
    He plans to go through his photos and send them to us to copy.

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