GM Futurliner Restoration Project
National Automotive and Truck Museum of
the United States
ISSUE #26 -- OCTOBER 2005
This 26th newsletter is a monumental publication for the 7 year project. The
vehicle is essentially complete! As you all know by now, this project
has been an all-volunteer effort with the goal of restoring one of the
twelve GM Futurliners to an original and functional condition. The
vehicle is owned by the National Automotive and Truck Museum of the United
States (NATMUS) in Auburn, Indiana and is being rebuilt under the
volunteer direction of Don Mayton in Zeeland, Michigan.
This project started in the fall of 1998 when Don
Mayton found a derelict Futurliner sitting behind NATMUS in Auburn
Indiana. It had been donated to the museum by the Bortz Auto Collection in
Highland Park, Illinois. For more information on this collection, check
out their web site at www. bortzautocollection.com.
Mayton, Project Director
4521 Majestic Vue, Zeeland, MI 49464
Tryon, Newsletter Editor
2516 Laurelford Ln., Wake Forest, NC 27587
vehicle portion of the restoration project is virtually done. The group
will reconvene for a few weeks this fall to finish up some details and it
can officially be considered DONE! Itís been 7 years of weekly work
sessions for this talented group of volunteers and we all owe them a big
- Items to be completed include installation of flooring material,
trim and air conditioning in the cab and other small details.
- Several shows were on this summerís schedule with the main one
being the AHTS (American Historical Truck Society) in Auburn Indiana
in June. The Futurliner was also displayed several times in August
including Gilmoreís Museum in Hickory Corners, MI and at
- Now that it is done, it is stored on our specially designed trailer
in the storage building donated by volunteer Ed Devries. And since
NATMUS does not have the inside facility ready for it, it will remain
in storage in Michigan for the near term.
- The other on-going activity at Del Carpenters house nearby is the
construction of a display trailer that will include the engine,
transmission and radiator with a shorten driveshaft to the rear
transmission. The large 110 VAC generator and itís control cabinet
will also be a part of the trailer since they are not readily visible
if they were installed in the Futurliner itself. All of this is
intended to be operational. The trailer is set up to be pulled behind
any standard truck and rolls on an actual Futurliner front axle and
- Now for some photos:
where we started in 1998.
One year later - off to
in August 2005.
Display as set up at
restored in original colors.
status: Poster, Hats, "T" Shirts & now a Video:
- As youíve read before, a great video has been developed by Don
Bratt covering original movie footage from the early 50ís with
many photos and movies of Futurliners in action and documenting the
restoration project. It is titled "Miracle at Beaverdam",
is 42 minutes long, is available on either VHS or DVD and is available
from NATMUS for $25 (including S&H). Proceeds help cover the cost
of the project. (Beaverdam is the small Michigan town close to Don
Maytonís house in Zeeland, Michigan and the restoration site.)
- Posters and hats are available thru NATMUS for $10 each plus $3
shipping. Quantity orders will have a break on shipping and will be
approximately 20% above the single item shipping charge. Contact Bobbie
Smith at NATMUS for specifics for your quantity. Mailing address for
orders is NATMUS, 1000 Gordon Buehrig Place, Auburn, IN 46706. You
can also see the poster (along with its history) and the hat on the web
- "T" shirts have been printed and are available for $20
with a color photo of the Futurliner and the words "Miracle at
Beaverdam". New green polo shirts are just available also for $20.
- NATMUS has a museum store on eBay for all of the products
above. Check it out at the
NATMUS E-Bay Store.
- Also, the Futurliner model being built by John Betts
from Retro 123 is for sale. This is a large-scale model (33"
long) with excellent detail including all doors and the top light bar
that operate. They have obtained a licensing agreement with GM for its
production and a portion of the proceeds will go to NATMUS to support
this project. Cost is $1845 + shipping and handling. Photos are on our
web site. To purchase one, contact Retro at 815-338-7693 (in IL) or
check out their web site at www.retro1-2-3.com.
- Donations are still required to close out this part of the project
since the special low-boy trailer that was purchased has an
outstanding loan to pay off. In addition, we are planning to create a
new display for the inside of the vehicle since the American
Crossroads apparently will not be made available from GM. You can be
proud to be a part of this very special and unique restoration
- One item that the project needs is a
large 40" or larger TV system with CD or VHS player. This will
allow us to showcase the video when the vehicle is at shows or even at
groups that tour the vehicle at Donís or wherever. If you have one
you might donate, we would appreciate it.
- Thanks for your continued help. If you have not made a
tax-deductible donation to the project for this year, there is still
time and there still is a need to wrap-up the project.
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