1954. GM Puts the Future on Notice

Footage of the 1954 General Motors Motorama at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City.
Futuristic prototype vehicles displayed at General Motors Motorama at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City in 1954
1954 Motorama featured 63 exhibits and 26 production cars and occupied 26,000 square feet of New York City’s Waldorf Astoria ballroom space, plus adjoining rooms.
Motorama ran annually from 1956-1961.
Futuristic prototype vehicles displayed at General Motors Motorama at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City in 1954
1956 Firebird II self-driving experimental vehicle.
The experimental Firebird was autonomous, guided by a wired buried beneath the road.
1956 Firebird II self-driving experimental vehicle.
1956 Firebird II self-driving experimental vehicle.
1956 Firebird II self-driving experimental vehicle on display at the GM Heritage Center.
  • Intro show for new ‘54s
  • Frigidaire’s Kitchen of Tomorrow
  • Futuristic GM prototype cars displayed
This video features footage of the General Motors Motorama for 1954 at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. The exhibit featured the new ‘54 GM production cars along with a demonstration of GM-owned Frigidaire’s Kitchen of Tomorrow.

That set the stage for the futuristic prototypes from the five GM nameplates. It’s interesting to note that each of the vehicle names (Nomad, Cutlass, Wildcat, El Camino, Firebird) was eventually assigned to actual production models. Some of the design details also made it to mainstream vehicles.

Those Caddy fins, for instance, would show up in all the finest driveways later in the decade.