Special Preview 
GM Futurliner Restoration Project
National Automotive and Truck Museum of the United States

HOME
'33 World's Fair

1936 Parade
1938 Previews
1941 Parade
'53-'56 Tour
1953 Parade

1954 Parade
  Purpose
  Preview
 
Review
  Kettering
  Executives
On Parade
  Page 2
  Page 3
On The Road
  Movement
  Itinerary
  Accident Rpts.
Ops. Center
  Coordinating
  Ops. Report

Aero-O-Dome
Exhibits
Demonstrations
Appreciation Letters
Futurliner
In-Line Six
Other Futurliners
Paraders
Oral Roberts Cathedral Cruiser

This booklet was handed out at a Special Preview of the Parade of Progress in Flint, August 13, 1953. It provides a "digest" of facts and information about the parade. The contents are as follows:

The Parade of Progress is a traveling educational exhibit sponsored by General Motors. Its stage show and animated exhibits present a dramatic picture of the cavalcade of American progress, telling how scientific research and engineering have helped improve our lives and of the even greater things they may do for us in the years again.

Making up the Parade are:

Aer-O-Dome Tent which is a new kind of "big top" without poles, stakes, guy wires or other obstructions. It's frame, made of aluminum beams, is on the outside. Suspended from it is a silver colored, fireproof "skin" of canvas impregnated with vinyl plastic. It is 152 feet long, 80 feet wide, 26 feet high and seats 1,250 persons.

There are 26 major exhibits that tell the story of American progress, how science and industry have contributed to it, and what our great industrial potential means to us -- both for peace and for defense.

44 vehicles, including 12 Futurliners, 10 tractor trailers and 22 other trucks, station wagons and passenger cars.

People of the Parade consist of 57 men, most of them young college graduates. They not only are lecturers, exhibitors and showmen, they also drive the vehicles, put up the tent and tear it down, and do any other work necessary to make the big show run smoothly.

History of the Parade goes back to 1936 when GM put the original Parade of Progress on the road. It stemmed from an idea by Charles F. Kettering, famed inventory and GM research director, who wanted to bring the story of industry and research to people throughout the country. The Parade's basic theme was, "Who serves progress serves America."
    From 1936 until it was withdrawn from the road at the outbreak of World War II, the Parade visited 251 cities and was seen by about 12-1/2 million people. In 1952 it was decided to build a new and larger Parade of Progress. Jet propulsion, radar, atomic power and television had awakened a new public interest in science, engineering and research. And a new generation, unfamiliar with the dramatic achievements of scientific industrial research, had come of age. The new Parade of Progress was completed and launched on its nationwide tour in April, 1953.

You'll See at the Parade:

The stage show, a dramatic presentation of the marvels of science -- and how they will affect our lives in the future. A tiny jet plane will flit across the stage in a fraction of a second. You'll watch raw materials being poured into a pop bottle and see them jump out as synthetic rubber in just 90 seconds. And you'll gasp as a "rocket ship" takes off to blaze a trail into the unknown future of scientific research.

The Theme Center is a modern structure surmounted by a 46-foot tower. It serves as an information center and houses these exhibits:

Automatic Transmissions -- The "inside story" of these driving aids is told by animated models.

Power Steering -- At this exhibit, you take the wheel yourself to learn how hydraulics make driving easier.

All-American Soap Box Derby -- One of the racers which won this greatest of boy's classics is on display, along with pictures.

Educational Exhibit -- Three shelves are loaded with request cards so you may order the educational booklets displayed.

Futurliners were built especially for the Parade to carry its animated exhibits. They are the only vehicles of their kind in existence. Powered by 145-hourspower gasoline engines, they have automatic transmissions, power steering and air conditioned driver's compartments. On a show lot, their 16-foot side panels fold out to form marquees and stage platforms. Lighting towers push up from their tops and they have their own public address systems. In them are these exhibits:

Miracles of Heat and Cold -- A two-part lecture demonstration tells how heat and cold serve us in our homes and daily lives.

Our American Crossroads -- In 10 minutes you'll see 50 years pass as a village becomes a city, largely due to the automobiles.

Power for the Air Age -- A jet engine, cut apart so you see all its parts, is explained and jet propulsion is demonstrated.

Power for the Nation's Lifelines -- Synchronized voice and action tell the story of Diesels on the rails and explains economic implications.

Diesel Power Parade -- Subject is the two-cycle high speed Diesel engine -- and how it serves America and you.

The World of Science -- We live in an ocean. A lecturer explains the ATMOSPHERIC OCEAN and FRICTION in two talks.

The Versatile Metal Powder -- Before your eyes, parts are made of this miracle material which helps speed production.

Energy and Man -- Man progressed as he substituted machines for muscles. Now he may harness energy from the sun.

High Compression-Power and Economy -- Push the buttons, learn how high compression engines and better fuels, boost car efficiency.

Opportunity for Youth -- Winning model cars from the Fisher Body Craftsman's Guild are shown and the Guild is explained.

Three-dimensional Sound -- You've heard of three-dimensional movies. Here's how binaural sound helps build better cars.

Precision and Durability -- How rough is a mirror's surface? A Surfagage will tell. It can measure millionths of an inch.

Partners in Progress -- Here is what your town does for General Motors and what GM does for your town and you.

Out of the Highway Muddle -- Jammed highways waste money. This exhibit shows a solution to the suburban traffic problem.

Horses or Horsepower -- Old Dobbin was a friend but the internal combustion engine is more help to farmers.

Around the Farmhouse Clock -- Twenty dioramas show how modern appliances have eased the burden for the farmer's wife.

A Car is Born -- Dioramas, pictures and an animated assembly line tell the story of building a car.

The March of Tools -- Handcraft is compared with modern production methods in the story of progress.

Reception Center -- You'll want to see the Parade's air conditioned field office. It also is a Futurliner.

Specially Designed Trailers carry the giant Aer-O-Dome tent, canvas, stage, portable seats, lockers, baggage and all the supplies and equipment necessary to operate and maintain the Parade of Progress on tour. Two additional trailers carry:

Diesel -- The Modern Power -- The big twin Diesel engine does double duty -- as an exhibit and to generate power and light for the Parade.

Pioneer of Progress -- The 1902 Oldsmobile "Old Scout" which won the first Transcontinental road race. It still runs as well as ever.

Purpose of the Parade is to show how science and industry combine to contribute to the high American standard of living. General Motors is not concerned entirely with the manufacture and distribution of good products for today. We are even more vitally interested in research, design and engineering progress to prepare for better products for tomorrow. We hope these demonstrations will develop a bitter understanding of the aims and objectives of American industry and that they help clarify the processes through which industry performs its work.
    Beyond this, we hope that the Parade of Progress will inspire young people everywhere to work toward an even better America for through them will come the perfection of methods, processes and discoveries still to be made.

Hosts for the Flint Preview of the General Motors Parade of Progress were:

  • Buick Motor Division
  • A. C. Spark Plug Division
  • Chevrolet, Flint
  • Fisher Body, Flint
  • Fisher, Grand Blanc
  • Ternstedt, Flint
  • GM Institute
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
If you have any additional information about the history or whereabouts of additional Futurliners, we would like to hear from you. Our objective is to capture as much of the history of these vehicles as possible.
Contacts:

Don M. Mayton, Project Director
4521 Majestic Vue, Zeeland, MI 49464
616 875-3058

Dean G. Tryon, Newsletter Editor
2516 Laurelford Ln., Wake Forest, NC 27587
919 562-4660

Copyright 1999-2013. All rights reserved.