What if I were to tell you there was one car which was responsible for changing the look and feel of cars in the early days of the automobile? This car was able to show us the trends and styles that we would love and enjoy in the 1950s and beyond, making for a car that was the model for what we found from nearly every automaker. This particular car is even credited as the very first American concept car and one that never went into production but is responsible for altering designs for the entire industry in America.
The car that was able to do this is the Buick Y-Job and this car was designed by Harley Earl as the car that would show us the way to concept design and how different elements of a concept car can be incorporated into many other vehicles. The Y-Job was a two-door convertible that was built on a Buick chassis and was powered by the Buick Series engine. If you take just one look at the Y-Job you can see the influence it had on the market for several years as it boasted a design that was copied many times over.
This design was considered the most significant element of this first car. It showed off a low and wide body which was enough to replace the running boards that were part of most cars of before the Y-Job body was used. This lower build added stability to the car and offers a streamlined appearance that looked sleeker and faster than what was being offered at the time. Because of the influence of this car the Y-Job is being honored by being added to the National Historic Vehicle Register as the 14th car to be given this distinction.
The Register was established in 2014 by the Historic Vehicle Association (HVA) to document America’s most historically significant vehicles. Not only will the Y-Job be added to the Register, the timing is in conjunction with the HVA opening a new National Laboratory in Allentown, PA to study the vehicles being added. Because of this the Y-Job is the first vehicle to be documented at this new laboratory giving even more significance. This lab offers a 3D scanner, a 40×40 foot white room with a vehicle turntable and the physical and digital archives of the HVA to ensure records are kept for future generations.
This is quite an honor for a car that was responsible for being the design and build that was used most often in the 1950s and early 1960s. It’s easy to see the influence this car had on that era. Other vehicles that are already part of the Register include the 1964 Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe, the 1974 Tucker 48 Prototype, the 1940 GM Futureliner, the 1940 Ford Pilot Model GP-No.1, the 1954 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL and the 1962 Willy Jeep just to name a few. As the first American concept car you can see the Y-Job is in good and familiar company with the HVA and the National Historic Vehicle Register.
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