The Oldsmobile Golden Rocket show car was introduced

Friday 31st August 1956

The Oldsmobile Golden Rocket show car was introduced. The radically styled fiberglass concept, designed to resemble a rocket on wheels, was revised several times and displayed at various other auto shows, most notably at the 1957 Paris Motor Show where it generated much fanfare, 18 months after it was first revealed. The car was featured in the promotional short film Design for Dreaming along with the rest of the 1956 General Motors lineup.

Similar to other Space Age show cars, the Golden Rocket was heavily influenced by the themes of aviation and space exploration. Its distinctive sleek aerodynamic body was made entirely from lightweight fiberglass and finished in metallic bronze paint. Bullet-shaped chrome pieces resembling Dagmar bumpers were integrated into the front fenders in place of headlights as well as the sweeping rear fenders, giving the car an overall rocket-like appearance. Other notable features include a swept-back wrap-around windshield, which had already become a common design element by the mid-1950s, less prominent tailfins by contemporary standards and a split-window fastback roof design presaging the 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. It rode on unique “dotted-line” whitewall tires. A later photo taken inside the GM Design Center in Warren, Michigan shows the car sporting a blue paint scheme.

Interior: The leather upholstery was finished in blue and gold. When a door was opened, the two-piece roof panel rose automatically in a similar manner to the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL’s gull-wing doors. The seats were raised up by three inches and swiveled outwards by 45 degrees, enabling easier access to the passenger compartment.One of its most pioneering innovations was the button-controlled tilt steering wheel, making it one of the first vehicles with such feature. The speedometer was placed at the center of the foldable two-spoke steering wheel. The futuristic center console and control levers were inspired by an aircraft cockpit.

Powertrain: The car was powered by an upgraded 324-cubic inch Rocket V8 engine tuned to crank out 275 horsepower. According to interior photos, the Golden Rocket had an automatic transmission like all other Motorama show cars. Details on other internal components are unfortunately unavailable.

is unclear if the Golden Rocket still exists today. A common practice of General Motors in the 1950s was to destroy show cars after they fell out of usage in order to avoid liability concerns; however, the Golden Rocket is still unaccounted for with no confirmation it was crushed, thus the possibility it may have survived. There is photographic evidence that the car still existed as late as 1962, while several other show cars were scrapped earlier in 1959. The car was reportedly located somewhere in New Jersey, however the rumor still remains unconfirmed even after extensive investigation. Motorama historian David W. Temple believes that the Golden Rocket, along with other lost show cars, will likely never resurface again.

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