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1955

  • Work on this object began.

2017

2018

2019

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Drawing, Concept Car

This is a Drawing. It was designed by Pete Wozena and from the office of General Motors. We acquired it in 2017. Its medium is color pencil, brush and gouache on paper. It is a part of the Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design department.

This concept drawing by designer Pete Wozena presents an elaborate automobile aircraft fantasy, a popular 1950s motif in designs for dream cars as well as production models. Dream cars were an important aspect of General Motors' overall presentation--they often featured as showstoppers in the General Motors Motorama, an auto show staged by GM from 1949 to 1961, and the premier stylists at GM were recruited by Head Stylist Harley Earl to create these top-secret designs. Earl described a good car as being a retreat or vacation, and aircraft-emulating automobiles were perhaps the perfect vehicles to foster fantasies of escape. With jets streaming fire at the vehicle's rear, this beautifully rendered concept car design also demonstrates GM's potential to master still unknown technologies.
While Wozena outfits the driver of this vehicle in traditional attire, the futuristic landscape acts a surreal background. The globe-like grid forms and abstract architecture resemble the styling of the "roads of tomorrow" that characterized the futuristic highways in GM's 1956 industrial musical "Design for Dreaming," and it's possible that Wozena's drawing was connected with the project. The swirling fog along the road likens the highway to a runway and suggests that the car might actually be traveling through the air.

  • Satellite Brooch, 2010
  • aluminum dibond laminated photograph, plastic reflector, glass beads.
  • The Susan Grant Lewin Collection, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.
  • 2016-34-42

Our curators have highlighted 2 objects that are related to this one.

  • Drawing, Roofline Concept, 1956
  • color pencil, brush and gouache on paper.
  • Museum purchase through gift of Paul Herzan and from General Acquisitions....
  • 2017-18-7
  • Drawing, Concept Car, 1961
  • color pencil, graphite, brush and gouache on paper.
  • Museum purchase through gift of Paul Herzan and from General Acquisitions....
  • 2017-18-21

Cite this object as

Drawing, Concept Car; Designed by Pete Wozena (American, 1918–2006); color pencil, brush and gouache on paper; 2017-18-8

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition The Road Ahead: Reimagining Mobility.

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/1108798007/ |title=Drawing, Concept Car |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=16 June 2019 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>