GM’s Classic Concept Cars Displayed in the Petersen Museum’s Motorama Exhibit

See six dream cars from General Motors’ 1950s traveling Motorama show at the Petersen Automotive Museum.

Dan Carney, Senior Editor

April 17, 2024

6 Slides

At a Glance

  • Motorama was a traveling spectacle
  • Ran from 1949 through 1961
  • Showcased upcoming design and technology trends

Babies weren’t all that boomed during America’s post-World War II years. The car industry rode a growing economy to unprecedented success. General Motors sought to harness the popularity of new cars with a traveling showcase called Motorama.

The Motorama was a spectacle. Held in lavish hotel ballrooms and large auditoriums, the shows featured interactive displays, orchestras, and live song and dance performances. It ran from 1949 until 1961 as a showcase of the wildest dreams of GM’s chief stylist, Harley Earl.

Motorama let Earl present new ideas to the public in the form of "Dream Cars," visionary non-production experimental autos that showed off design and technological features that would find their way to production automobiles in the future.

The Petersen Automotive Museum has corralled six Motorama dream cars from the 1953 to ’55 period. Cars on display include the 1955 LaSalle II Roadster, 1955 Chevrolet Biscayne, 1955 LaSalle Sedan, 1953 Buick Wildcat, the 1953 Pontiac Parisienne, and a completely original and unrestored 1954 Pontiac Bonneville Special.

 The exhibit is on display through March 2026. Click through the gallery for a closer look.

About the Author(s)

Dan Carney

Senior Editor, Design News

Dan’s coverage of the auto industry over three decades has taken him to the racetracks, automotive engineering centers, vehicle simulators, wind tunnels, and crash-test labs of the world.

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