With the birth of jets flying became all the rage. While none of the cars below are propelled by a jet engine—and such things do exist—they are definitely inspired by jets.
There are a number of plane designers which moved into car production, such as Saab and Spyder. Sometimes there seemed little design here at all, just put four wheels on a fighter jet, but some designers showed a bit of innovation.
As you might expect, these were products of an age when everyone thought we might have flying cars in thirty or forty years’ time. Remember that airplanes were only about fifty years old or so, givn another 30 or 40 years anything could happen. They might be a little sad to know we still don’t have flying cars.
Many car designers had the idea of getting the dashboard to look slightly like a plane’s cockpit. I say slightly because a plane’s cockpit must be the most confusing thing to base a dashboard on, but that’s fashions for you. Although we are used the steering wheel they also had designs on that too, a more D-shaped design.
A number of vehicles had cockpit dials, such as a Morgan 3 wheeler, if you require a smaller example of these type of car. Or you can go all-out and go for Lamaghorni ‘s Reventon. Inspired by a US fighter jet, these has more complicated dials and details for a cool 1.6 million dollars.
What makes a “jet inspired” car? Maybe having rear lights which are pointier than normal. This was the idea of Ghia Streamline X Coupé from 1955, and its front is noticeably prominent and, er, streamlined. The wheels are rather similar to discs.
There’s also the names like Vapor which conjure up the idea of flying through the air. Why they decided to call a car that looks like a plane “T-Rex” is maybe more of a mystery, but again there is a observable prominence of the hood. Maybe their son just happened to like T-Rexes, but it may make it hard to sell to adults.
From 1950 the Studebaker Woodie seems a weird combination of style, the pointy hood (again evoking the jet) but also a veneer design to both the doors and the trunk. To continue the aeroplane feel it also has a fur lining.
The Chrysler Turbine seems to be named after its turbine style headlight and has a brass metallic coloration. It was only built by Chrysler for less than two years, from 1963 to 64. As with the Ghia above it has a coupé style, which is defined as “having two doors, a sloping roof and has a roof which can’t be removed.” So definitely branded to those who have yet to start a family.
The Fad is Not Dead:
It seems as if the Mustang wants to continue the jet analogy in its marketing. The latest version of the Mustang has the word “Groundspeed” imprinted on its speedometer, just for those fans of the air.
There seems a number of people out there ready to renovate these vintage cars, hardly a revelation given the prices that these tend to go for. Why go for a common car when you can go for “jet” car?