1934 Edsel Ford Model 40 Special Speedster Dream Cars High Museum - NAPA Know How Blog

Dream Cars: High Museum Shows Stunning Historic Concepts

1947 Norman Timbs Special Dream Cars High Museum - NAPA Know How Blog

1947 Norman Timbs Special | Dream Cars High Museum

We’re a largely a bunch of gear heads and car nuts around here at NAPA AUTO PARTS. To us, fine machinery is fine art. Of course, we’re more likely to appreciate the beauty of the automobile in a car museum or at a weekend car show than in an art museum. But a new exhibit at High Museum of Art in Atlanta presents some truly spectacular concept cars in galleries typically reserved for masters of painting, sculpture and other fine arts.

1935 Bugatti Type 57S Competition Coupe Aerolithe Ken Gross collage Dream Cars High Museum - NAPA Know How Blog

Guest Curator Ken Gross with his favorite, the 1935 Bugatti Type 57S Competition Coupe Aerolithe | Dream Cars High Museum

In fact, “Dream Cars” is the second special High Museum exhibit focused on the automobile. Back in 2010, “The Allure of the Automobile” brought together rare and celebrated road and racing cars under the same roof. That exhibit’s guest curator, Ken Gross, is back with “Dream Cars,” a collection of 17 American and European concept cars spanning seven decades.

General Motors Concepts 1950s collage Dream Cars High Museum - NAPA Know How Blog

1951 GM Le Sabre, 1956 Buick Centurion and 1959 Cadillac Cyclone | Dream Cars High Museum

Because all of the vehicles included in “Dream Cars” are concepts, none were meant to become production cars. As a result, the vehicles’ designers and engineers weren’t held to typical constraints on methods and materials, budget or even styling. So visitors to the exhibit see, represented in these cars, the most radical and innovative ideas of the times.

1936 Stout Scarab collage Dream Cars High Museum - NAPA Know How Blog

1936 Stout Scarab | Dream Cars High Museum

Early models include the Stout Scarab from 1936. This streamlined people-mover is considered to be the precursor to the modern minivan. From the jet age of the 1950s, there’s the Cadillac Cyclone XP-74, displayed alongside a pair of other GM concepts from the period. Representing the 1970s are two Italian concepts – a Ferrari and a Lancia – that make the first Lamborghini Countach look conservative by comparison. From more modern times come the BMW Gina, which has a body made of fabric, and the Porsche Spyder concept, which previewed the current 918 Spyder production supercar.

1970 Lancia Stratos Zero Dream Cars High Museum - NAPA Know How Blog

AutoTrader Classics editor Brian Medford studying the 1970 Lancia Stratos Zero | Dream Cars High Museum

1954 GM Firebird I Dream Cars High Museum - NAPA Know How Blog

1954 GM Firebird I | Dream Cars High Museum

1934 Edsel Ford Model 40 Special Speedster collage Dream Cars High Museum - NAPA Know How Blog

1934 Edsel Ford Model 40 Special Speedster | Dream Cars High Museum

We’re lucky; NAPA’s headquarters is in Atlanta, so getting to High Museum was easy. But this exhibit is well worth traveling to see. If you’ll be in Atlanta or the Southeast this summer, include “Dream Cars” on your itinerary. It runs through September 7, 2014. For more information on the exhibit and special “Dream Cars” programs and events this summer, visit High.org.

about author

Nick Palermo

Nick Palermo is a freelance automotive writer and NAPA Know How blogger. Since becoming an auto news and reviews contributor at AutoTrader.com in 2011, he has broadened his coverage of the automotive industry to include topics like new car technology, antiques and classics, DIY maintenance and repair, industry news and motorsports. A committed advocate for automotive media professionals, Nick serves as president of Greater Atlanta Automotive Media Association.

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