GM’s 1955 Powerama – The Smokier and Smellier Diesel Alternative To The Motorama

We’re all familiar with GM’s Futurama showcases, but how about Powerama? In 1955, GM spent a tidy $7 million to create showcase for its rapidly expanding range of diesel powered transport of all kind, as well as a few other related items of interest, including a model of a solar-powered car. It ran for 26 days near Soldier Field in Chicago, and it looks like I missed quite a show.

GM’s new Aerotrain styled by Chuck Jordan was a major attraction. That didn’t pan out, as the bus-based coaches didn’t ride well. But it was an interesting attempt to make a more cost-efficient train.



That pool is the bed of a 50 ton Euclid twin engine earth hauler/mining truck.



The Regulus was the Navy’s first nuclear deterrent. Essentially a small turbojet aircraft, 42 feet long, with a wingspan of 21 feet, and weighing in at just under seven tons, its Allison J33-A-14 engine could propel the missile to Mach 0.91 (about 550 knots). Either a 40-50 kiloton nuclear warhead or a 1-2 megaton thermonuclear device could be carried.


Called the Pogo, this Convair concept plane was conceived for vertical take-off (VTO) and then move into level flight. To land, it had to stall and hang by its propeller. Despite its unconventional appearance and layout, J.F. Coleman, the test pilot, reported that the Convair XFY-1 Pogo was one of the best handling aircraft he had ever flown (in conventional flight mode). By the time Convair XFY-1 Pogo had been developed enough to be a feasible design the US Navy had lost interest in the aircraft, and the project was canceled.

And the solar-powered car? Here it is, just 65 years ahead of the real thing.