Meet the astonishing Cadillac Cyclone
Introducing the perfect car for the Jetsons
Harley Earl was one of the best American car designers. He was responsible for designing the very first Chevrolet Corvette and the gorgeous '56 Bel Air. But, in 1959, he created something that was probably the epitome of jet-inspired madness-the Cadillac Cyclone.
It was one of the last cars Earl had designed, and it was a testbed for future of Cadillac's styling. The engine was a 3.9-litre V8 which produced 325hp, the exhaust pipes were mounted right ahead of the front wheels, and it had all-wheel independent suspension.
But those things are not so interesting. What is actually interesting is that this car had radar-operated collision avoidance system; you know, like today’s Tesla, Mercedes and Honda…only 60 years before them. The sensors were mounted in the twin nose cones on the front, which could scan the road ahead and alert the driver about any obstacles in the car’s path.
This was really, and I mean REALLY, advanced in the late 1950s…and even today, to be honest. However, the Cyclone’s system wasn’t connected to the brakes. So, if the driver got the warning message, it was up to him to stop on time and avoid a potential crash.
Apart from the radar, the Cyclone had other futuristic things on it, such as the Plexiglas flip-top canopy that could disappear in the trunk, resting on an airbag in it. The top of the canopy was coated in vaporized silver for UV protection, and the doors slid in the back at the push of a button. The cockpit was so well sealed that Cadillac had to put an intercom system in the cabin so that the driver and passenger could communicate with the outside world without opening the canopy.
The Cyclone appeared at many car shows and went through some styling changes before it retired. The biggest styling change was the reduction of tailfins. Nevertheless, the car kept it's futuristic look and it would still turn more heads than most modern cars. It’s just bad that Cadillac didn’t stick with the radar collision system. Still, the jet-inspired Cyclone was 60 years ahead of its time, and it looks like a proper car for the Jetsons.