GM's XP-21 Firebird: The 1954 Idea of a Hybrid Car
Sometimes, as lame as it may sound, it's worth it to "go antiquing" because then, while digging through a drawer full of vintage US state postcards, a gem like this emerges from the muck of history. It's a 1954 pamphlet extolling the virtues of GM's XP-21 Firebird car, the first gas turbine auto ever built.
The design of the car is heavily jet-influenced; in addition to the little wings, vertical stabilizer and single cockpit driver's seat, the Firebird even has flaps in the rear to aid in braking after the car would hopefully hit high speeds. Unfortunately the thing has never been driven beyond 100mph because it was just too darn unsafe to do so.
As with many futuristic concepts developed in the 1950s and 60s, the XP-21 wasn't designed to actually enter the daily lives of your average American; it was just for show, to jog the imagination and get people thinking about where technology was taking us. But most of all, the XP-21 Firebird was about GM showing off.
Later years brought two more versions of the Firebird, but all three remained show cars for the families of the day to gawk at during auto shows. Too bad too; owning some 2011 version of this baby might qualify as a private jet.