Ford Seattle-ite XXI


I write about fantastic styling concepts from time to time, because I find them interesting.

As good a reason as any, right?

In 1962, Ford designers did a lot of opium and came up with the perfect concept for wowing crowds at a big exhibition in Seattle that year. (The opium part is made up, of course… But how else could you explain the thought of using a small nuclear propulsion device as one of its possible power plants?)

Actually, if you could figure out how to reliably switch out the front end of a vehicle, the idea of changing the capabilities of a car based on the type of driving it's about to do is a sound one. Maybe a sensor-laden, electric module for an autonomous city driving mode. Maybe a punchy 8-cylinder for track day duty, and a twin axle, hybrid V6-powered version for crushing hundreds of kilometres in a single sitting. and all you'd have to do to make the switch would be to drive into the side of a building and let a complicated robot switching device-thingy do all the work on the other side.

It had to be forward-looking, of course: it was designed to be one of the centrepieces of the "An Adventure In Space" exhibit at the Century 21 Exposition. I'm sure it was difficult for people at the time to comprehend the technologies Ford was suggesting (and I'm plenty sure Ford itself had few ideas for bringing it into reality). 

A fuel cell powerplant, computer navigation system, disc brakes, "fingertip controls" and other wild features make me wonder if lead designer Alex Tremulis wasn't just throwing ideas out and hoping they'd someday stick. 

My question is this: in your fantasy garage (or fantasy lawn ornament collection), would you rather the Seattle-ite XXI or Simca Fulgar?