Michigan State Police
GM Futurliner Restoration Project
National Automotive and Truck Museum of the United States

'33 World's Fair

1936 Parade
1938 Previews
1941 Parade
1953 Parade
1954 Parade


Appreciation Letters

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Mich. Police
  Mich. Gov.
  On Tour
Vic Hyde

In-Line Six
Other Futurliners
Oral Roberts Cathedral Cruiser

The following pictures and information was provided by Walter Davenport.

    Pictured is Trooper William Rials who was responsible for setting up the displays and operation of the Safetyliner and then Governor John Swainson. The date on the back of the photo is 1961 and the miniature car is a 1956-'57 Corvette. According to Mr. Rials the miniature Corvette was originally a child's ride in the parade. It was changed to show police equipment used in a patrol car.

    This Safetyliner display promoted various services that the Michigan State Police provided. Mentioned are Criminal Investigations; Searches for Lost Persons; Property Inspections; Arson Investigations; Blood Relays; Mercy Missions and Under Water Recovery. The black box in the lower right appears to be for viewing purposes. You can just make out some sort of image.

October, 2007 -- Officer Rials submits the following recollection:
    As a State Police exhibit, the "Safetyliner" became an unofficial police station. Probably the most potentially exciting event was when a boy from the stable area that came rushing up to exclaim: "Come quick, they're fighting with pitchforks in the stable!" I was thinking as I ran with him to the stable area, "What the hell, a pitchfork is no match for a .38 caliber Colt." But as usual, when we arrived there wasn't a soul around and when we did locate people in the area no one knew anything. This is usually the case. Fights really don't last too long, time wise.
    At one time the weapons display on one side of the State Police Safetyliner contained a Thompson sub-machine gun. All of the weapons were wired to a proximity alarm. The alarm had a bell on it like the old style bank alarm or school bell alarm which could be heard a mile away. At the State Fair in Detroit I could stand on the far side of the Safetyliner and watch the feet of the spectators on the side nearest the guns. There were stanchions and ropes to keep them away, but by looking beneath the Safetyliner I could see the feet of the potential miscreant, first as he stepped beyond the line and then as he advanced toward the guns. At this time I would go to the front of the Safetyliner, still on the far side, and wait. It wouldn't be long before the bell would sound its warning. Because the guns were located near the front, the miscreant would run around the nearest corner which was the front. The look on his face was something else. First, because he was so startled by the loudness of the alarm and secondly to be greeted so quickly by me. I still laugh to think of it.
    For some reason, I don't know if it was just our unit or typical of all of the Futurliners, there was a tendency to hydroplane. It was a long hot summer with little rain and I was headed out north of Detroit. It had rained just ahead of me and the pavement was wet. As I approached a large intersection I lightly tapped the brake. The Safetyliner's tail began to swing. The light was turning red as the Safetyliner began its slide -- sliding through the intersection while I battled to keep the nose ahead of the tail. This kind of excitement I did not need! I lucked out as no one had jumped the light but even so I could in my mind's eye see the headlines: "State Police Safetyliner kills five"
    This tendency to hydroplane made a big difference in driving style as I would fairly creep on snow or ice. In another instance I was driving into a small town for their county fair. I guess the town fathers wanted to show off because the street I was on had been freshly paved. Again, approaching a stop sign I lightly tapped the brakes. Again there was a loss of control and because of the crown of the roadway the Safetyliner slid to the right and along the curb. Again, my luck held as there was nothing parked along that section of the roadway.
    Driving was always exciting and tiring. The noise level was high and I would arrive whipped. It wasn't until I bought some ear protection that things changed. What a difference!
    During the first couple of years of operation, top speed was about 41 mph, until I happened to talk to another Futurliner driver who told me that there was a small transmission case located 2/3's of the way to the back on the drive shaft that controlled the top speed. Yippee! Highway speed increased to 60mph.
    When we took delivery of the two Futurliners from GM it was with one condition: That we never bring them back for repair or bother the Tech Center with questions on their operation. Fair enough, but that speed thing could have saved a lot of long hours.

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