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

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History #10
Relocation
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Disassembly
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Photos:
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THE HISTORY OF #10

    Of the 12 Futurliners made, our Futurliner was known as #10. When GM discontinued the Parade of Progress the Futurliners were sold off to various interests. A couple were purchased by the Michigan State Police and yet another was purchased by the Oral Roberts Ministries. Our Futurliner, #10, was purchased by the Goebel Brewing Company, headquartered in Detroit.
    When we disassembled the Futurliner we discovered Goebel Brewing Company literature behind the seats in the cockpit. Later, volunteer Howard Sullivan, looking through literature from his dad's collection of promotional materials, found a postcard with a Goebel Beer Futurliner. Now the rest of the story...
    Fred and Marge Carpenter have a business selling automobilia. They attend many car meets over the eastern half of the country. In 2004 they were at the annual Oldsmobile Homecoming and among their material was some Futurliner literature. Fred and Marge have been great in promoting this project through their business contacts.
    Al Batts had made several color booklets for the volunteers to carry with them and Fred had one of them hanging at their booth in Lansing. An attendee saw the booklet and exclaimed to Fred that he knew the person that drove the Goebel Futurliner. Immediately Fred turned his business over to Marge and Fred engaged this person in conversation. (continued below)

GOEBEL LAND CRUISER

The Goebel Land Cruiser was billed as "A new concept in Public Relations!" The postcard that these pictures were taken from stated that it included a complete P.A. system, a 17 ft. x 8 ft. stage, microphones, dual speakers, phonograph, radios, tape recorders, stage lighting and area lighting. 

The left hand side of the Futurliner carried an illuminated and narrated display board explaining the manufacturing process of brewing.

The Goebel Land Cruiser could be requested to play picnics, fairs, fund raising, parades, speeches, shows, or any other outdoor activity.

    To make a long story short Fred was promised that this person would get the person who was the Goebel Futurliner driver to call Fred. Subsequently Fred Carpenter received a call from Frank Frye who worked for Goebel Beer in the late 1950's. Following is Frank and Jack Frye's story that Fred received by phone as well as letter:
    "The public relations department of Goebel Brewing Company on Rivard St. in Detroit bought Futurliner #10 (our present Futurliner) in 1956. Goebel had it refurbished at a display firm in Detroit. (A black and white photo shows the right side with painted graphics on the side just above the aluminum ribbed trim and GOEBEL BEER on the front and the sides.
    The refurbishment for Goebel Brewing Company included making the curb (right side) a stage for the speaker for Goebel. In fact, the photo shows Frank Frye himself posed making his speech. On the opposite (left side) is a miniature brewery that lays out how Goebel Brewing makes their beer.
    Frank Frye was the first driver in 1957 or 1958. Frank worked previously as a part time tour guide in the Goebel Circus Room all through college. He then took the full time driving job for about 2 years.
    As Frank recalls, Goebel used it initially only in Michigan. However, since Goebel also marketed in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Frank remembers driving it down there for two or three weeks. (Does any one down in New Orleans have photos or has time to search the local newspapers or library?)
    Frank used to keep a cooler of canned been behind the driver's seat which was dispensed only to the local beer distributor sponsoring the activity. (Beer was never dispensed to the public.) One time, in Lansing, Michigan, the radiator sprung a leak and the engine was overheating, so Frank poured several cans of beer into the radiator and limped to the nearest GM Dealer for service. As a result, Frank made it to the next activity on time.
    Since the Futurliner had a complete and powerful P.A. system, it was usually used as a Central Stage by the committee for many types of outdoor activities. Homecoming affairs for the many smaller towns in Michigan were one of Goebels most frequently requested activities with fairs and parades also quite popular.
    When Frank left Goebel Brewing in 1958 to resume his graduate school work, his brother, Jack Frye, took over as the driver of the Land Cruiser. Shortly thereafter, Goebel Brewing started to experience financial problems and in 1960 had to discontinue the Land Cruiser program. The company was eventually bought up by the Strohs Brewing Company in 1964.
    Jack Frye was laid off and Goebel sold the Land Cruiser to Pulte Construction in Detroit. Pulte Construction subsequently hired Jack Frye to drive the vehicle to Florida where they had a large subdivision building project they wanted to promote. Just southeast of Tallahassee, near the town of Perry, the engine threw a rod and caught fire. Jack had to scramble out of the vehicle and seek help. Jack also remembers that a local newspaper reporter came out to the site of the breakdown and took pictures. He subsequently made arrangements to have the vehicle towed to Pulte's construction site where he left it and returned to Detroit."
    We want to thank Frank and Jack Frye for providing this information. This type of information again fills in more details of the history of Futurliner #10 and its usage after its time spent with GM's historic Parade of Progress. We also want to thank Fred Carpenter for pursuing these contacts.

Contacts:

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

National Auto & Truck Museum
1000 Gordon M. Buehrig Place
Auburn, IN 46706-0686
260 925-4560

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