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Colorized Mario's Tribute to GM Motorama 1949 to 1961

The GM Motorama was an elaborate travelling auto show held eight times between 1949 and 1961. The Shows were held in major cities across the Country and in other Countries.

The 8 Shows were held in the years: 1949, 1950, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1959 and 1961.

The cars that were exhibited tested the public’s reaction to new ideas as well as familiarizing them with advanced styling. The Motorama Shows highlighted the many automobiles and other goods produced by General Motors. A total of 10.5 million visitors attended the GM Motorama shows.

I was fortunate to attend the last NYC show at the Waldorf Astoria in 1961 with my Dad, an experience I will never forget.

Enjoy the Show! Mario

1 1949 GM Motorama was an elaborate traveling auto show held eight times between 1949 and 1961. 1949 Chevy Bel Air prototype shown in center.

2 1949 Cadillac El Rancho. The cars that were exhibited tested the public’s reaction to new ideas as well as familiarizing them with advanced styling.

3 1949 Buick Riviera. The traveling exhibition was held in major cities across the Country and in other Countries also.

4 1949 Buick Riviera. The Motorama shows highlighted the many automobiles and other goods produced by General Motors.

5 1949 Chevrolet DeLuxe Styleline 2 door hardtop. Chevrolet was always a major part of these shows as the Number 1 seller for GM.

6 1949 Pontiac Catalina 2 door hardtop prototype. After World War II, the first show titled “Transportation Unlimited Autorama” was staged at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, NYC in January 1949.

7 1950 GM Motorama. During the 1950 show, more than 320,000 visitors attended the NYC auto show.

8 1950 General Motors “Mid Century Motorama” as it was called that year.

9 1950 Cadillac Debutante. It had a 24-karat gold instrument panel and 24-karat gold fittings. A special convertible with a leopard skin interior.

10 1950 Cadillac Debutante. It never reached the production line, making it a one off dream car. At $35,000, it was claimed to be Cadillac's most luxurious car ever at the time.

11 1950 Motorama offered all the new GM cars for viewing for the model year 1950 as well as several Concept Cars designed by the GM Design Team headed by Harley Earl.

12 1950 Oldsmobile at the Palm Beach FL GM Motorama.

13 1950 Mid Century Motorama at the Canadian National Exhibition.

14 1950 GM Motorama Le Sabre XP-8 Concept Car. Favorite Concept Car of GM Design Boss Harley Earl.

15 1953 GM Motorama. There were no GM auto shows in 1951 and 1952, but that changed for 1953 with the launch of the official GM Motorama.

16 1953 Buick celebrated 50 Great Years in production since 1903 at the GM Motorama. Various new models were on display.

17 1953 Cadillac Motorama. From 1953 to 1961 the showcases of the latest concepts from GM at the NYC Motor Show became known as GM Motorama Show.

18 1953 Cadillac Orleans. The concept was very similar to the 1953 Cadillac Coupe de Ville apart from its innovative pillarless four-door hardtop.

19 1953 Corvette. One of the biggest automotive legends was born. The first production volume sports car.

20 1953 Buick Wildcat 1 was specifically created for the 1953 Motorama show. Harley Earl led the development of Buick’s first fiberglass car to experiment with the new material.

21 1953 Oldsmobile Starfire. Its name referred to the Lockheed F-94B Starfire fighter plane and it featured a large oval grille later seen on the 1956 Olds.

22 1953 Olds Starfire had a wraparound windshield, fiberglass body and a custom Rocket V8-engine with over 200hp.

23 1953 Pontiac Parisienne GM Motorama Concept Car. Pontiac Dream car first appeared at the 1953 Motorama.

24 1953 Pontiac Parisienne Concept Car later returned with upgrades at the 1954 Motorama.

25 1953 newly designed Chevrolet introduced at the GM Motorama on the big stage.

26 1953 Corvette GM Motorama. Among the dream cars shown on the tour was the first Corvette prototype. A Star was Born and a huge success.

27 1953 Unloading a Chevy Nomad and sporty Corvette at the GM Motorama.

28 1953 GM Futureliner. One of 12 built self-contained display and transport vehicles. Opening side, lighting, retractable stage, distinctive center cockpit driving position.

29 1954 GM Motorama. It was a simpler time in 1954. Gas was 27 cents per gal and Elvis Presley rocked the world.

30 1954 Chevy Corvair Concept Car. It was painted ruby red for its unveiling at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in NYC. The car dazzled show goers with its sleek fastback styling.

31 1954 Chevy Nomad. Unique two-door styling that set it apart from other station wagons. The goal was to carry as much of the popular concept design over to the production model.

32 1954 Chevy Nomad. A strategy that will later pay off. The show car presented in 1954 was based on the Corvette.

33 1954 Motorama. In 1954 the second Official GM Motorama Show was attended by more than 1.9 million visitors all across the country.

34 1954 Cadillac El Camino. It wore a fiberglass body and a brushed stainless-steel top, which hinted at the Cadillac styling to come in 1957.

35 1954 Buick Wildcat II. Fiberglass body and styling dominated by a new front fender that exposed the underside of the fender lined with large chrome panels and air scoop louvers.

36 1954 GM Motorama Pontiac Strato Streak. GM offered 13 dream cars for viewing at the Motorama – the largest number ever shown at the traveling auto show.

37 1954 GM Motorama Corvettes. A trio of special Chevrolets was included, all of them Corvette based show cars.

38 1954 GM Motorama Corvettes. The Nomad station wagon, Fastback Corvair and a Corvette with a prototype detachable hardtop and roll up windows.

39 1954 Olds F-88 Concept Car. It was entirely painted in gold. It featured an elliptical grille opening and round parking lights built into the fenders.

40 1954 Corvette. GM shifted Corvette’s production to a newly renovated assembly plant in St Louis, Missouri. This plant was designed to produce more than 10,000 Corvettes a year.

41 1954 Pontiac Station Wagon and Chevy Bel Air Convertible displayed at the GM Motorama.

42 1954 Olds Cutlass. It got its name from a military fighter plane, the Chance Vought Cutlass. Front fenders had a bottom opening to permit exhaust of engine heat.

43 1955 GM Motorama. The 1955 Motorama Show toured the country from New York City to Miami, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Boston.

44 1955 Chevy Bel Air cutaway at the GM Motorama. New for 1955 was Chevy’s V8 small block. This modern engine was prominently displayed as a cut-a-way exhibit at the GM Motorama show

45 1955 GM Motorama. The world’s largest automaker had a traveling road show back then called the Motorama. It showcased the company’s future product ideas via concept cars.

46 1955 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham. The car had a brushed stainless-steel roof, four-door pillarless hardtop and panoramic windshield.

47 1955 Chevy Bel Air. GM 50 millionth production automobile, a Chevy Bel Air two-door hardtop was assembled in Nov 1954. The special car was painted Anniversary Gold.

48 1955 The dream cars on display that year were the Buick Wildcat III, Chevy Nomad, Chevy Biscayne, Cadillac LaSalle II roadster and sedan, and the Cadillac Eldorado Brougham.

49 1955 Chevy Biscayne 4 door pillarless HT. Underneath the Biscayne’s hood resided a 215 hp version of the new Turbo-Fire V8 modified with a high-lift cam, dual exhausts and a 4 BBL carb.

50 1955 Chevy Biscayne Concept Car. The high-performance engine suggested to the public there would be higher performing V8s from Chevrolet in the future.

51 1956 GM’s Motorama would mark the end of dream cars from each passenger car division of the company.

52 1956 Dream Car being unloaded for the GM Motorama.

53 1956 Buick Centurian an innovative two-door four-passenger coupe made of fiberglass. All glass top. Powered by a 325hp V8. It had a camera in the rear.

54 1956 Chevy Bel Air 4 door Pillarless Hardtop at the GM Motorama with a split view.

55 1956 Harley Earl General Motors Head of Design and organizer of the GM Motoramas.

56 1956 GM Motorama. More than 2.2 million visitors came to see the new models and dream cars at the 1956 Motorama Show

57 1956 Corvette Impala GM Motorama. A sporty five-passenger dream car. Some of its styling attributes were adopted for the production version of the Impala released for 1958.

58 1956 GM Motorama. 100 Truck Caravan carrying all the new 1956 GM cars and Concept Cars for the Big Show.

59 1959 GM Motorama. After a break in 1957 and 1958, the Motorama show returned in 1959 to New York City and Boston.

60 1959 GM Motorama. On display were the General Motors Firebird III and the Cadillac Cyclone Dream Cars.

61 1959 Corvette on display as the center piece with other Chevrolets at the GM Motorama.

62 1959 Firebird III. It had a titanium skin, seven short wings and tail fins, 225 hp gas turbine engine and steering wheel replaced by a joystick.

63 1959 Cadillac Cyclone. The two-passenger car had a clear plastic top to give the driver a 360° view all around. Highway radar locating device was installed to warn of other cars.

64 The all-new gull wings of the 1959 Chevrolet Impala Sport Coupe was on display at the Motorama.

65 1959 GM Cars. The Motoramas were designed to whet the public’s appetite and boost sales with new GM models, fancy prototypes, concept vehicles and other special models.

66 1959 GM Motorama Exhibit Scale Model on display.

67 1961 GM Motorama. The final Motorama show was held in 1961 in New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles and even traveled to Basel, Switzerland.

68 1961 GM Motorama Chevrolet Exhibit. A total of 10.5 million visitors saw Motorama shows between 1949 and 1961.

69 1961 Chevrolet off chassis display showing the V8 engine.

70 1961 Buick on display during a performance of “A Touch of Magic”. The theme for the 1961 Motorama.

71 1961 Oldsmobile convertible on display.

72 1961 Oldsmobile 4 door hardtop on display. More than one million visitors attended the 1961 Motorama.

73 1961 Pontiac on display. Cars were displayed on lifting, revolving platforms known as “grass-hoppers”.

74 1961 GM Motorama Pontiac Exhibit. I was at this Motorama with my Dad in NYC at the Waldorf Astoria. What a treat that was for me.

75 1949 GM Motorama Poster.

76 1950 GM Motorama Poster.

77 1953 GM Motorama Poster.

78 1954 GM Motorama Poster.

79 1955 GM Motorama Poster.

80 1956 GM Motorama Poster.

81 1959 GM Motorama Poster.

82 1961 GM Motorama Poster.

Video and audio clips

GM Motorama (1949 - 1961)

GM Motorama 1949

GM New Car Previews 1950

GM Motorama Moods 1953

GM Motorama 1954

GM Motorama 1955

GM Motorama 1956

GM Motorama 1959

GM Motorama 1961


More Cars of the 1940s
More Chevy Coverage

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57timemachine on Nov 4, 2023 said:

Mario, you have really outdone yourself this time. This is big time big scale stuff here and kudo's to you for coming up with all this amazing stuff. Thank you for your never ending efforts here and sharing this automotive wealth with the A.T. brotherhood. Cheers to you sir.

[Reply to this comment]

Mario on Nov 4, 2023 said:

Thank you George. I was fortunate to be at the last Motorama show in 1961 with my Dad. Lots of great memories there.

Were you able to attend any of the GM Motoramas in Canada? I did not know GM held their shows in Canada as well as other Countries.

I'm glad you liked my Page on the GM Motoramas.

Cheers to you my friend, Mario

[Reply to this comment]

Mario on Nov 4, 2023 said:

The GM Motorama was an elaborate travelling auto show held eight times between 1949 and 1961. The Shows were held in major cities across the Country and in other Countries.

I was fortunate to attend the last NYC show at the Waldorf Astoria in 1961 with my Dad, an experience I will never forget.

Enjoy the Show! Mario

[Reply to this comment]

57timemachine on Nov 4, 2023 said:

Mario, again thankyou for sharing this amazing stuff, especially when I learned that they had this in Canada. I never knew that interesting bit of automotive history. You are our A.T. Guru and there is no doubt about that. Again cheers to you sir.

[Reply to this comment]

Mario on Nov 4, 2023 said:

Thank you again George. I was very happy to find out the GM Motoramas were also held in our good Northern neighbor Canada! I have been there many times and love your Country! Cheers my friend, Mario.

[Reply to this comment]

Anonymous on Nov 4, 2023 said:

Mario, Mario, Mario......just when one thinks you've outdone yourself, you go and outdo yourself again.

This is a Motoramapaloosa thread......

You've got more attractions in this than Disneyland.

Funny how my eye catches the tailights on the Corvette, the Corvair and the Nomad all seem so similar.

And I haven't seen Arthur Godfrey since....well, it's been decades..he should have had his ukulele.

Your Dad, God bless him, is what fatherhood is all about taking you to these. It sure beats getting taken to the wood shed.

This thread just set your bar higher. We expect nothing but the best from you now. No excuses, no ifs ands or buts.

Not get back to work and get to 200 before we are called home to be with God.

God bless you Mario..always a joy seeing and reading your threads.


[Reply to this comment]

Mario on Nov 5, 2023 said:

Thank you Rob for all your kind words. And especially for noticing many details such as the Corvette tailights used on different models and Arthur Godfrey without his ukulele!

There were many Concept Cars created by GM over the years of the Motoramas and they were all on display for the public.

Many of the Concepts shown I previously made separate Pages on and they all culminated in the Grand Finale of the GM Motoramas.

It was a real pleasure researching and putting all the pictures and stories together for each of the 8 Motoramas for the AT Community.

More Pages to come! Mario

[Reply to this comment]

ghpcnm on Nov 20, 2023 said:

Great Page full of beautiful GM cars

[Reply to this comment]

Mario on Nov 20, 2023 said:

Thanks Dave. Those GM Motoramas helped sell a lot of cars back then, which I believe is why GM dominated the auto industry.

[Reply to this comment]

Mario on Apr 13, 2024 said:

I colorized all the B/W pictures.

[Reply to this comment]

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