1956 Asahi, GMC Firebird II Twin Turbine Concept Car

1956 Asahi, GMC Firebird II Twin Turbine Concept Car

Asahi's futuristic Firebird II Twin Turbine Concept Car. It's all tin litho and has a rear wheel friction drive motor. It's complete, all original, and without any repairs. The celluloid canopy is in perfect condition without a single crack. Conservatively, the car grades near mint- (minus) and has no box.

The unusual thing is that the Firebird II was actually built and still exists as a museum vehicle (see 2nd photo). It was the second of three gas-turbine powered experimental Firebird cars developed by GMC during the 1950's. It has a rocket-ship space age design which was low and wide. It features a stubby front end with two large (polished tin) air intake turbines, a single large vertical tail fin, two horizontal rear-stabilizing side fins, and a celluloid/chrome plated tin canopy roof. The actual vehicle body was the first to be built from all lightweight titanium.

The cherry red body has embossed doors and rear trunk, and a white, single plate chassis embossed with the Asahi trademark on the bottom. The chassis is deeper in the rear to accommodate the large gas tank. The friction motor is held in place with steel rivets (rather than metal tabs). The actual motor had an output of 200hp. 

The interior is all tin litho with two long bench seats and lithographed steering wheel. The rear window well is marked "Made in Japan". The actual vehicle could fit four adults comfortably, had reclining lounge seats and automated snack tables! A magnetic key inserted into the body panel automatically lifted the doors.

It has two rear bullet shaped polished tin exhausts, as well as a third oval shaped exhaust on the rear trunk located just below the tail fin. It also has polished tin headlights, hood ornament and oval side ornaments. The actual vehicle was also the first to utilize four wheel disc brakes, a fully independent suspension, and an electronic guidance system.

The tires are solid black rubber and have red, white, and blue tin litho bulls-eye hub caps. A brass finished bushing on the inside of the front wheels (facing the body) keeps the tires from rubbing against the wheel wells.

Size: 8½". 

Sold: Mar. 2010

Price Sold: $ 935.22


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Subject: 1956 Asahi, GMC Firebird II Twin Turbine Concept Car

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