'36 Parade of Progress
GM Futurliner Restoration Project
National Automotive and Truck Museum of
the United States
Oral Roberts Cathedral Cruiser
article was taken from "Special-Interest Autos", Mar-Apr. 1977.
It was written by Bill Williams, Associate Editor. Please note that
references to people and time-frames are only relative to 1977.
First Parade assembles in front of Detroit’s downtown GM
GM’s first Parade of Progress
opened in Feb. 1936 at Lakeland. FL (shown here and on
opposite page). Streamliners were tied together with awnings,
and command car was a stretched 1936 Chevrolet.
First series Streamliners –
eight of them – were built in Fisher Body’s Fleetwood
plant. They where gasoline powered and contained
exhibits and stages.
1940, the first series of Streamliners were replaced by a
second set. The revamped streamliners had such modern
amenities as power steering, articulated dual front wheels,
Dual-Range Hydra-Matic, automatic headlights dimmers, bubble
cockpit, and much more. The second set consisted of 12 units
instead of the previous eight.
Second series was dusted off in
1953 to become third parade of Progress; it drives away from
the GM Building for its final tour. The Parade ran until
Futurliners opened up to form stage and exhibits. Young
college grades became show lecturers but also performed menial
chores such as driving trucks, picking up rubbish, and setting
up tents. Jack Jerpe, Parade’s leader, stands in center of
the front row in lighter suit.
One of the Parade’s dioramas showed 50 years of change in 10
minutes of movable, automatic scenery. This $1 million exhibit
used to be at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry. GM
has since reclaimed it and we believe it to be in storage.
All rights reserved.