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1958 Sir Vival World's Strangest Concept Car

In 1958 a very strange looking car was designed and built by Walter Jerome, an Engineer, called the Sir Vival, pronounced Survival. This was a 10-year project to produce the safety-first prototype.

It was Jerome's belief that the safety of the American motoring public had for too long been ignored by the Detroit manufacturers and that he could lure the safety conscious auto-buyer by stressing safety and the breathtaking design of his car.

This Page highlights the Sir Vival car that never got to go into production with all its safety features.

The 1958 Sir Vival prototype survives today and is being restored by Lane Motor Museum, Nashville, TN.

This is my Tribute to the 1958 Sir Vival. Enjoy the History, Mario

1 1958 Sir Vival (Survival) is the name of this prototype car. An Adventure in Safe Motoring. Designed and created by Walter Jerome, Engineer, over a 10-year period.

2 Jerome built a raised turret for driver’s maximum visibility with a 360-degree wrap-around screen that rotates past squeegees to wipe the window clean.

3 Walter Jerome created the Sir Vival from a 1948 Hudson using a heavily modified 1948 Hudson sedan as the rear section.

4 Concerned with head-on collisions, Jerome split his car in two. The front section would absorb collisions, leaving the driver and passenger cabin secure.

5 The Sir Vival was years ahead of its time with seat belts, a roll cage, sliding side doors, rubber bumpers and side lights.

6 The Wrap-around rubber bumpers protected the bodywork in slow speed collisions. He ignored the fact that his car’s awkward separation necessitated atrocious handling.

7 Jerome termed his car a “revolutionary vehicle” due to anxiety about 1950s Detroit's lack of concern for safety and focus on planned obsolescence.

8 In the end, Jerome failed to advance auto safety, but his segmented sedan might easily qualify as the world’s strangest car.

9 According to the marketing pamphlet written by Jerome entitled Sir Vival, his car was an “Adventure in Safe Motoring”.

10 Jerome had fancy two-color sales brochures printed that extolled its virtues.

11 A green Sir Vival appeared on the cover of Mechanix Illustrated magazine in April 1959. The car was painted several different colors throughout the years.

12 The Sir Vival appeared on magazine covers with pictures and descriptions of all the safety features inside.

13 Walter Jerome is pictured with his 1958 Sir Vival. He intended to produce 10 to 12 cars a year at a retail price of $10,000. This was a very high price tag in 1958. He was only able to produce the prototype because funding dried up.

14 The Sir Vival received publicity in Life magazine and automotive publications such as Mechanix Illustrated and Motor Trend magazines.

15 NYC World's Fair 1964 Brochure.

16 Sir Vival 1964 World's Fair Brochure.

17 This articulation separates the driver and passengers from the engine and aids in impact deflection during a collision.

18 The Sir Vival hasn't been operational since showing at the 1964 World's Fair in NYC. The one prototype remains the only version ever produced.

19 After Jerome's death in the early 1970s, the Moore family owners of Bellingham Automotive Sales in Massachusetts took possession of the car. The eccentric Sir Vival turned out to be a survivor after all.

20 A little worse for wear it remained in the care of Bellingham Automotive Sales, Massachusetts. With that business shutting down owner Ed Moore sold the car in 2022 to Lane Motor Museum, Nashville, TN which plans to restore it.

21 Despite the press and the showings at high-profile venues, Jerome never garnered the funding needed to manufacture a production Sir Vival.

Video and audio clips

The 1958 Sir Vival

Sir Vival 1958 Driving and Parking


More Cars of the 1950s
More _Other_ Coverage

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Mario on Apr 23, 2024 said:

Yes I agree this must be one of the Strangest Concept cars ever designed! Leave it to an Engineer to create this Safety prototype.

The idea was unique to say the least but it never took off. There wasn't much thought put into this project for sales appeal other than safety.

So there we have it the 1958 Sir Vival like no other! Enjoy the History. Mario

[Reply to this comment]

57timemachine on Apr 23, 2024 said:

This guy obviously had a lot of time on his hands.

[Reply to this comment]

Mario on Apr 23, 2024 said:

Yes he had 10 years to develop this car. But tell me what you think of his invention. It's surely different.

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57timemachine on Apr 23, 2024 said:

In my opinion a sad waste of an iconic Hudson step down model.

[Reply to this comment]

Mario on Apr 23, 2024 said:

Maybe so but the Hudson still lives, although drastically modified.

[Reply to this comment]

Anonymous on Apr 25, 2024 said:

Well Mario now you went and done it. Lord have mercy you have a gift of finding thee strangest cars. Is this the pinnacle?

I forwarded your thread to some friends and I can hear the arthritis in the neck cracking as they shake their heads back and forth trying to get a grasp on your entry.

I love the name SIR VIVAL...............very sneaky.

Well once again like Babe Ruth you knocked another one out of the park so make your lap around the bases and do the high fives with everyone.

I'm anxious to see how you top this one. But I do not doubt, that you surely will. Rob.

[Reply to this comment]

Mario on Apr 25, 2024 said:

Thank you, Rob. You always have a colorful way of expressing yourself.

Yes, this is a very strange concept car that I came across and I just had to share it with everyone. A 10-year project and happily it still lives on and is being restored.

I'll have to keep my eye on this one. Mario

[Reply to this comment]

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