Even though the GM Heritage Center is closed due to the pandemic, you can still visit virtually. Here are some of our favorites.
The GM Heritage Center is a wonderful place to visit for any car enthusiast. Unfortunately, it's closed due to COVID-19, but thanks to their excellent website, we can browse the collection to our heart's content.
We've chosen one favorite each from their collection of Buicks, Oldsmobiles, Pontiacs, Cadillacs, and Chevrolets. They weren't easy choices, so tell us in the comments if you'd pick something different.
The 1938 Buick Y-Job is arguably the first "concept car" in the traditional sense. It was designed by famous stylist Harley Earl, who used the Y-Job to showcase various new technologies.
The Y-Job featured a lot of incredible features that we take for granted now, like hidden headlights, power windows, flush-mounted door handles, and a metal tonneau cover for the convertible top. Pretty heady stuff for 1938.
The 1931 Cadillac V16 was the very first American car to be produced with a 16 cylinder engine. It stands as a testament to the opulence of the Roaring Twenties and beyond, just before the Great Depression stopped the party forever.
It remains one of the most impressive American cars ever built. Even if you aren't into prewar iron, you have to admit that the Cadillac V16 is immensely cool, based on the engine alone.
The 1961 Mako Shark concept hinted at what was to come for the Corvette's second generation in 1963. Bill Mitchell succeeded Harley Earl as head of styling, and he oversaw this project.
Mitchell was an accomplished deep-sea fisherman, and it's obvious that his hobby had a pervasive influence his work. Not that that's a bad thing, as many consider the fish-shaped 'Vettes to be the prettiest of them all.
Legend has it that Mitchell had a mako shark he'd caught at sea stuffed and mounted in his office. The styling department tried and failed to make the Mako Shark concept car's paint job match the real thing, per Mitchell's instructions. The solution? They snuck in, stole the shark, and painted it to match.
While the Ford Model T gets all the credit, GM claims that the curved dash Oldsmobile was the first mass-produced automobile. The example seen here is a 1903 model; curved dash Oldsmobiles were built from 1901 to 1906.
Just under 4,000 Oldsmobiles were built in 1903. At that time, it was enough to make Oldsmobile America's most prolific producer of automobiles.
To wrap things up, our favorite Pontiac in the collection is this silver over red 1964 Pontiac GTO. While Ford was busy across town inventing the pony car with the Mustang, Pontiac was hard at work ushering in a new era of performance: the muscle car.
For a ten-year period from 1964 to 1974, the recipe remained consistent. Put a big, powerful engine in a mid-size, rear-wheel drive car, add some impressive badging and dual exhaust, and maybe a hood scoop here and a decal there. Pontiac started it all with the GTO.
What are your favorite vehicles from the GM Heritage Center? Be sure to let us know in the comments!