GM Futurliner

GM Futurliner

Now available to anyone with a spare $600,000 is one of the most unusual motorized vehicles ever built : a GM Futurliner — one of only 12 that were manufactured between 1936 and 1953 of which nine are known to exist — from hobbyist collector Brad Boyajian of Chatsworth, Calif.

“The one that is for sale is the most complete of the those that are left to be fixed up,” said Boyajian, who owns two others — one used for parts and the other modified as a car hauler.

The sensational red and white Futurliner debuted in 1936 as part of the first of three ”Parades of Progress” that visited more than 300 cites until 1956 showing off the latest in technological advances — including a full-sized cutaway jet engine, the relatively new automatic transmission and an animated display that showed how communities would change because of the automobile, according to futurliner.com.

The coach was 33 feet long and 8 feet wide and equipped with 16-foot upper and lower hydraulic doors that opened to create an area that displayed a showcase for the latest in technology. The unit also had a light tower that extended 15 feet into the air to provide illumination for displays at night.

Because it was designed to look like a locomotive, the driver sat in a cab 10 feet above the highway while passengers could ride in two seats behind the driver.

However, restoring the coach to its original condition will cost $1.5 million.

There’s lots of work to be done to restore the coach. ” The engine is probably frozen; it hasn’t been started in over 50 years,” Boyajian said. ”And all the metal work has to be replaced along with the drive train, brakes, upholstery, wiring and trim. It’s a huge undertaking.”

The Futurliner was equipped with a 6-cylinder, 145-hp gasoline GMC engine, typically used to power the Army’s 2 1/2-ton trucks, and had two transmissions — one in the front that shifted automatically and one in the back that had to be shifted manually.