Curbside Concept: 1958 Studebaker Astral

Here it is, the 1983 Studebaker! It has one wheel, runs on atomic power, and has an energy field to protect it from collisions. It can hover over land or sea, and even make quick jaunts into outer space! “Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.” See this video for the commuter’s dream ride of the future! Only from Studebaker!


For a 1958 exhibition, the Art Center of South Bend asked Studebaker to “imagine a vehicle that would address the needs of the commuter in 25 years”. In the styling studio, Ed Herrmann thought it would be a good opportunity to experiment with glass reinforced plastic materials. So the Astral was born! Here it is in a recent exhibition at the Petersen Automotive Museum. But how can a car have no windshield to protect the driver and passengers from the wind, not to mention the vacuum of space?


Ha! In the future we’ll have no need of crude windshields. A transparent force field emanating from those little holes seals off the cabin and encapsulates its air supply. Of course!


Here’s the Astral’s description at the time. It certainly would “solve our future highway and city traffic dilemmas.”


As outrageous a fantasy as the Astral was, it did accurately predict one important component of cars in the future, one which does in fact address the needs of commuters. Check out that electronic map in the center console!