Jay Leno’s Garage, hosted by Jay Leno, routinely reviews and features classic cars and motorcycles. This past February, fans of GM and the brand’s glorious past got a treat: a historic GM vehicle—the 1938 Buick Y Job—made an appearance on the show, rolling up and looking classic and sleek alongside General Motors’ president of Global Design, Michael Simcoe.
The 1938 Buick Y Job was the first-ever concept car. Concept cars differ from production vehicles, as they are never intended for production for public use. Rather, they typically debut innovative, state-of-the-art technology and design, providing a sneak peek into what’s to come from the automaker. There are only seven Buick Y Job models, and that’s why it’s so remarkable that one was featured on Jay Leno’s Garage. As Leno said on the show, “[This is] probably the most famous car in the history of General Motors.” No one quite knows how the concept car got its name, but some speculate that it has to do with “Y” meaning prototype within the aerospace industry, or that it indicates a step beyond traditional “Project X” products.
The Buick Y Job makes quite an impression, featuring a low and long body that looks properly sophisticated. It featured innovative technology for its time, including power windows, a power-retractable roof, and an automatic transmission in place of the clutch pedal.
There’s little doubt that technology has influenced every sect of the world, and the automotive industry is no exception. According to Popular Mechanics Writer Ben Stewart, here are a few automotive technology milestones every enthusiast should know.
Modern vehicles are simple to start: simply enter the vehicle and turn the key (or push a button). Prior to 1911 and the invention of the electric starter, this wasn’t the case. Vehicles came equipped with a hand crank startup process. In 1912, the first Cadillac models rolled off the line with the convenient electric starter. Invented by Charles Kettering and Henry M. Leland, the electric starter revolutionized the automotive industry.
Tire Pressure Monitoring
The first tire pressuring technology appeared on the Porsche 959 in the 1980s. The year 2000 marked the turn of the century and passing of the Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability, and Documentation Act. The act ensured that all passenger vehicles would come standard by the 2008 model year.
While the rearview camera is a fairly common piece of technology in modern cars, the technology is only around 15 years old. In 2002, Infiniti brought the first rearview backup camera to the industry. All passenger vehicles will come equipped with a standard rearview camera by the end of 2018.
You love GM, but there’s still plenty to learn about this impressive car brand. Here are some little-known, fun facts about GM.
GM was a big manufacturer of war vehicles during World War II. They produced over 584,000 vehicles like the “Duck” and the “Deuce-and-a-half”.
GM was ahead of its time. It was one of the earliest producers of electric cars, releasing electric vehicles in 1912 – 1917. While these are nothing like the electric vehicles of our time, that’s still impressive!
GM brought cars to the Middle East in the 1930’s. All cars were specifically made to handle the desert roads.
In 2014, Mary Barra became CEO of GM. That made her the first female CEO of a major automobile manufacturer.
Since its conception, GM has never been in any major financial or legal troubles. That’s over a hundred years of good business!
First Turn Signals
GM was the very first car manufacturer to install turn signals. Thanks to them, drivers said goodbye to pesky hand signals.
GM was the very first car manufacturer to gross a billion dollars in a single year! These guys definitely know success.
Take all that love for GM down to Richard Karr Motors to see what amazing GM cars we have to offer.