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Futuramic: 1950

Futuramic: 1950

February 15, 1950. New York. "Crystal Motors, business at 5901 Bay Parkway, Brooklyn. Exterior II." On display: the "Futuramic" 1950 Oldsmobile. Large-format acetate negative by Gottscho-Schleisner. View full size.


On Shorpy:
Today’s Top 5

Recent road test, plus period film

More on the 1950 Olds 88, from Motor Trend. Plus, some Futuramic period film on the 1948 Olds models as produced by the Jam Handy Organization.

Mal, love your Hudson!

Never mind the Oldsmobiles

This is a beautiful example of tricky exposure - getting the lit interior of the showroom, the neon sign, and the exterior at what looks like dusk to all be in balance. It reminds me of the photography of Julius Shulman.

Loewy Riders

The showroom itself appears to have been inspired-if not actually designed-by Raymond Loewy. In addition to creating the look of the postwar Studebakers, Loewy designed storefronts, filling stations, furniture, locomotives, etc.


Please, sit down and admire our cars.

Dad would say

"Why pay for a Cadillac when you can get the same features on an Olds a year earlier?"

My understanding was that tilted windows were placed that way to avoid the reflections of headlights.

Oldsmobile 98

I learned to drive in a 1952 Oldsmobile 98 4-door sedan. It was a beautiful dark green monster purchased new by my parents in Dallas, Texas. The vehicle persevered until 1966 when it was sold to a young tow truck operator, for a pittance, after the fuel pump failed.

Not Until 1951

It was 1951, the year of my Hudson Hornet shown here, when Hudson put Oldsmobile in its place. With the advent of the Hudson Hornet in 1951, Hudson became the NASCAR champion, a position they held through 1954. Hudson's big 308 cubic inch flathead six with dual carbs (Twin-H Power) when combined Hudson's vastly superior handling did the trick.

To quote the Blues Brothers

"The new Oldsmobiles are in early this year!"

Now that's a showroom

Love, love the slanted windows of the showroom; so very up to date in 1950. I also remember car dealers in the Middle of downtown Minneapolis; I think some were still there in the 60s. I love the big "pig cars". I would trade in my Corolla for one any time!!

If I remember correctly

The Hudson 6 cylinder with dual H-Power still licked them at Daytona.

[At the first NASCAR outing in Daytona Beach in 1949, the new Rocket Engine Oldsmobile ruled, taking the top four spots. - Dave]

That's what I get for listening to a Hudson owner!

Futuramic Oldses

The division's "Futuramic" body arrived for the 1948 model year, marking the debut of GM's redesigned postwar cars. Of Cadillac proportions for the first couple of years, by the early 1950s they'd had 5 inches lopped off their frames. The design with its integrated front fenders, full wheel openings and jet-tube headlights was progressive for the time, avoiding the dead-end vogue for bathtub-style bodies that afflicted a lot of late-40s cars.

Dealer Showrooms!

PersonFromPorlock, do you remember when Ford introduced the brand-new 1964-1/2 Mustang?

Our dealer in Houma, Louisiana, had kraft paper covering all their windows so folks couldn't get a peek at this amazing new car until the designated day of introduction.

I remember passing by the Ford dealer in our school bus and thinking that day would never arrive.

Mid Century Futuramic

The architecture is mid century futuramic. The vehicle is mid century. I had a 1957 Super 88 in high school in 1972. I loved that Rocket 500 power in a street boat.

GM taught me about planned obsolescence from that car.

Re: Futuramic, indeed

Not really. Between the very good Hydramatic automatic transmission and the first modern OHV V8 engine, Oldsmobiles of that time were pretty much the wave of, if not the future, then at least the next twenty years. They were pigs to drive, of course, but then American cars were pigs to drive for the next twenty or thirty years.

When did downtown auto showrooms disappear, anyway? I remember them from the '50s - they were the rule rather than the exception, at least in the Northeast - but at some point everything moved to suburban lots and I missed the moment.

I want..

I would definitely take a few of those cool looking chairs, very artsy indeed.


The AM radios in 50s cars worked great, a lost sound.

Rite Aid Pharmacy

According to Google Street View, a Rite Aid Pharmacy now occupies the site.

Futuramic, indeed

The building, maybe, but not those dumpy crates. Olds buyers would have to wait until 1954 before they lost that look.


Don't forget to make an appointment for the 1,000 mile check up. Bring a list of the defects and problems with the car with you and we'll try to get it back to you in a few days. Odds are they won't fix them all on the first visit.

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