The Buick Y-Job is the 14th car to join the National Historic Vehicle Register.
Many regard the Buick Y-Job as the the first American concept car, originally designed to predict the trends of the 1950s and beyond. As a two-door convertible built on a Buick chassis, the Buick Y-Job is powered by a Buick Series 50 engine. And although the engineers experimented with certain features on the engine, the Y-Job is most well known for its design, boasting a low and wide body. In the American automaker’s eyes, the low and wide body meant you could get rid of running boards, which were found in most cars in that era. It also added stability and gave the vehicle an overall more streamlined appearance.
The National Historic Vehicle Register was established in 2014 by the Historic Vehicle Association (HVA) with help from the U.S. Department of the Interior, Heritage Documentation Programs and Library of Congress. The goal was to document America’s most historically significant vehicles.
The Y-Job’s addition to the National Historic Vehicle Register came at the same time as the opening of the HVA’s National Laboratory in Allentown, Pennsylvania. The facility features a 3D scanner, a 40×40-foot white room with a vehicle turntable for photography, as well as HVA’s physical and digital archives. The Buick Y-Job was the first vehicle to be documented at the new laboratory.
“Harley Earl and the Buick Y-Job expanded the boundaries of car design and drew the blueprint for concept vehicle design and execution,” said GM global design vice president Michael Simcoe. “We thank the HVA for ensuring the world’s first concept car is documented and preserved for future generations.”
Other cars that have been registered include the 1964 Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe, the 1974 Tucker 48 Prototype, 1940 GM Futureliner, 1940 Ford Pilot Model GP-No.1, 1954 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL and the 1962 Willys Jeep, among others.
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