Weird Car Of The Day: 1958 General Motors Firebird III
In 1959, General Motors (GM) unveiled the Firebird III, the third iteration in its series of concept cars, at the GM Motorama event. Boasting a futuristic and aerodynamic design, the Firebird III featured seven short wings and tail fins, along with a distinctive double-bubble canopy.
Despite its conceptual nature, the Firebird III introduced groundbreaking technologies for its era. Notably, it incorporated an advanced guidance system utilizing wire sensors in the roadway for steering assistance. Additionally, the car showcased a sophisticated air suspension system that automatically adjusted ride height and stiffness based on varying road conditions.
The Firebird III was powered by a GT-305 Whirlfire engine, producing 225 hp and controlled by a joystick. It exhibited a unique double-bubble canopy and prominent vertical and horizontal fins, totaling nine, including a substantial rear stabilizer. Although lighter and more fuel-efficient than its predecessors, it required a second, smaller gasoline engine to power systems like the self-leveling suspension, air conditioning, and power steering.
This concept car exemplified GM’s forward-looking vision for automotive design and technology. By pushing the limits of what was achievable at the time, the Firebird III not only stood as a testament to innovation but also served as a source of inspiration for future advancements in the automotive industry.