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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 is a member of the Greater Atlanta Automotive Media Association.