Why The Fighter Jet Car Never Took Off
See What I Did There?
Any American Auto nut will know that GM is not afraid to experiment with concept cars. This has been apparent for sometime, as they have made numerous weird and wonderful concept cars since the early 1940s, such as the GM X Concept 1, the GM LeSabre 2, or the questionable GM EN-V.
GM Media - GM X Concept 1
GM Media - GM LeSabre 2
GM Media - GM EN-V
But perhaps the weirdest, the most barbaric, the most downright outrageous of all, is the GM Firebird 1. A Fighter Jet Car.
The Firebird 1
Yes, you heard me right. The GM Firebird 1 was literally a Fighter Jet for the road. It had a fully operational turbine that spun to 26,000 RPM had wings, and generated 360hp. An extremely large amount for the time. It even had a Fighter Jet style cockpit.
The GM Firebird 1
Obviously, this car was not for the general public. It was designed to be a racecar of the future, and had the ability to reach speeds in excess of 200mph. If its reason for failure wasn't apparent already, heres why.
For decades, scientists and engineers have been trying to find more and more ways to increase downforce on racecars. So WHY on Earth would you want to stick wings and tailfins on one? They are designed to increase lift, which is essentially the exact opposite of what the engineers are trying to achieve - no lift. As outrageous as it seems, it was considered to be a good idea at the time. By someone - I think.
GM Media - The GM Firebird 1 On Display At The GM Heritage Center.
Overall, the idea was a crazy one, but it allowed us to make futher advancements in downforce technology, and see where we went right... and where we went wrong.