The High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia, will play host to 17 innovative concept cars from the last century when it opens its doors to a exhibition entitled ‘Dream Cars: Innovative Design, Visionary Ideas’ on May 21st.
The exhibition will feature concept cars that pushed the limits of imagination and foreshadowed the future of design. Featuring the most innovative, progressive designs, the exhibition will pair realized cars with conceptual drawings, patents and scale models, demonstrating how the experimental designs advanced ideas of progress and changed the automobile from an object of function to a symbol of future possibilities.
“The concept cars presented in ‘Dream Cars’ demonstrate how design can transcend the present and offer new paths and opportunities for the future,” said exhibition curator Sarah Schleuning. “While these cars were never mass-produced, they shaped the future of the automotive industry by challenging the notion of what is possible, technologically and stylistically.”
Highlights of the ‘Dream Cars’ exhibition include a recreation of the 1935 Bugatti Aerolithe concept (the precursor to the 1938 Bugatti Atlantic) seen in the video above; the wedge-shaped 1970 Lancia Stratos HF Zero designed by Marcello Gandini while at Bertone; former BMW Group design director Chris Bangle’s GINA Light Visionary concept from 2008; and L’Oeuf électrique, an electric bubble car designed by Paul Arzens in 1942 for his personal use in Paris during the German occupation.
Chris Bangle on the GINA Light Visionary concept
Other influential concepts in the form of Pininfarina’s gorgeous Ferrari 512S Modulo from 1970 designed by Paolo Martin; Norman Timbs’ 1948 Buick Streamliner ‘Special’; William Stout’s 1936 Scarab; and the 1955 Ghia Streamline X ‘Gilda’ concept by Giovanni Savonuzzi and Chrysler’s Virgil Exner will also feature.
These vehicles will be joined by conceptual gouache paintings by acclaimed visual futurist Syd Mead and former GM Vice President of Design Wayne Cherry created in the ’60s, as well as a full-scale rendering of a Cadillac Convertible concept by Carl Renner from 1951.
‘Dream Cars’ will also feature three cars from GM’s 1949-61 Motoramas — the 1954 Firebird I XP-21, 1956 Buick Centurion and 1951 Le Sabre — and examine how these automotive design events influenced the industry. This section of the exhibition will focus on the role of automotive designers such as Harley Earl, who combined styling and design aesthetics with technological advances to create futuristic renderings that imbued automobiles with a sense of glamour and fantasy.
A full color, 160-page catalog will accompany the exhibition, featuring photography and an extended essay by Schleuning exploring the effects of aerodynamics and aeronautics on car design, the design process from conception to completion, and how groundbreaking events like the Motorama fueled the creativity of automobile styles. The catalog also includes comprehensive automotive descriptions by automotive expert and consulting exhibit curator Ken Gross.