Concept cars in Atlanta

Exhibit highlights designer's visions

Eric Kaminsky - April 30, 2014 01:00 PM


1936 Stout Scarab

Photo by Michael Furman

1954 Firebird I XP-21

Photo by Michael Furman

1955 Chrysler (Ghia) Streamline X “Gilda”

Photo by Michael Furman

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Concept cars give designers an opportunity to test the limits of their imaginations, with eye catching and interesting designs. 

The High Museum of Art in Atlanta will host an exhibit, “Dream Cars: Innovative Designs, Visionary Ideas,” which will bring together 17 concept cars from across Europe and the United States. The exhibit opens on May 21, and will run until September 7, 2014. It features vehicles from the 1930s to the present day.

The exhibit will pair conceptual drawings, patents and scale models with the finished car. In addition, visitors an see how events like GM’s 1949-1961 Motoramas helped influence styling. Three cars from those events (the 1951 Buick LeSabre, the 1954 Firebird 1 XP-21, and the 1954 Buick Centurion) will be on display.

The historical viewpoint will be complemented by a contemporary design workshop featuring the 2010 Porsche Spyder 918 concept car.

Other items in the exhibit include

  •  Paul Arzens’ “L’Oeuf électrique” (1942), an electric bubble car designed by Arzens for his personal use in Paris during the German occupation, which has never before traveled to the U.S.
  • William Stout’s “Scarab”(1936), the genesis of the contemporary minivan.
  • Marcello Gandini’s  Lancia (Bertone) “Stratos HF Zero” (1970), a wedge-shaped car that is only 33 inches tall.
  • Christopher Bangle’s BMW “GINA Light Visionary Model” (2001), featuring an exterior made of fabric.
  • Norman Timbs Special (1947)
  • Chrysler (Ghia) Streamline X “Gilda” (1955), designed by Giovanni Savonuzzi and Virgil Exner
  • A full-scale (6 x 20 foot) rendering of a concept car by Carl Renner (1951).

Also available will be a 160-page color catalog, with an essay written by Sarah  Schleuning, exhibition curator and curator of decorative arts and design at the High Museum, exploring the effects of aerodynamics and aeronautics on car design, the design process from conception to completion, and how groundbreaking events such as General Motors' Motorama fueled the creativity of automobile styles. Also included will be comprehensive automotive descriptions by automotive expert and consulting curator Ken Gross.

For more information, visit the Museum website,