Archive of 31 photographs of the General Motors Motorama, 1961

N.p. N.p., 1961. Archive of 31 vintage photographs of the final General Motors Motorama auto show, likely taken for press or publicity purposes, in San Francisco, CA in 1961. Housed in a brown paper sleeve with a manuscript pencil annotation detailing the location and year.

The GM Motorama originated as a small-scale auto show in 1949 at the Waldorf Astoria in New York, under its original name, Transportation Unlimited Autorama. In the ensuing years the show grew in popularity, and, in 1953, began to travel around the country under the Motorama heading, now incorporating a themed musical spectacular and revolving stage displays. In its early years the Motorama served as a showcase for the company's newest innovations, including luxury prototypes and dreamlike concept vehicles with non-standard paint finishes or fiberglass bodies, although in the last few years of the show the majority of displays presented production cars which could be purchased straight from the showroom floor.

The photographs in the archive document an attendee's perspective of the final Motorama show, with many close-up shots of the show vehicle displays, notably including one photograph of the Firebird III, a hallmark of space-age design and predecessor of the Buick Firebird released six years later. Also included are several photographs of scenes from the show's musical revue, "A Touch of Magic," which followed a 1920s couple who travel back to the Middle Ages, and then travel forward to their dream "home of the future" in the 1960s. An interesting and lively look at the end of an era in American automobile advertising, capturing the last gasp of in-person showcases and musical spectaculars, to be almost entirely replaced by television advertising by the end of the decade.

Photographs 10 x 8 inches, Near Fine overall. Sleeve Near Fine.

[Book #151271]