Behold The World’s First Concept Car – 1938’s Buick Y Job
1938’s Buick Y Job also became GM’s Design VP’s daily driver for almost thirteen years.
General Motors has only had seven design bosses in its entire history, and Harley J. Earl was the first of them, starting in 1937. A year later, he decided it was time to create a real dream car to combat the mood following the Great Depression. Named Buick Y Job as a nod to the aviation industry, the fully functional prototype was penned by George Snyder, and built by Buick’s chief engineer Charlie Chayne, who used a chopped Century chassis as a base.
Y Job came with a longer, wider and lower body featuring hidden power headlamps, power windows, a power soft top and an automatic gearbox, as well as a standard 140 horsepower engine, while rolling on tiny, 13-inch wheels. That trick made it ride even lower.
Since Mr. Earl decided to use it as his daily driver for the next decade or so, the concept went through a number of changes, getting different bumpers and trim as the years went along. Still, many design elements of this car were so forward-looking that GM could only put them into production in the fifties, just in time for Earl to hang up the Y’s keys. Today, the world’s first proper concept car is a cherished member of the GM Heritage Center’s collection. And a driving one.
Click play and watch how Jay Leno drive the first concept car ever created—Harley Earl’s Buick Y Job.
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