Transparent Pontiac for sale

This beautiful, skeletal Pontiac was built for the GM pavilion at the 1939 New York World's Fair. It's up for auction in Plymouth, Michigan, with an estimated sale price of $275,000 - $475,000.
As of yet, RM doesn't have any detailed information about the Pontiac, but from an article in Special Interest Autos #34, we see that GM built two - possibly three - transparent cars for the New York World's Fair of 1939-1940, one of which was a Deluxe seven-window touring sedan (B-body), the other of which was a Torpedo five-window touring sedan (C-body)...

Visitors to General Motors' "Highways and Horizons" pavilion at the 1939-40 New York World's Fair came away awed by a vision of the future. The work of renowned designer Norman Bel Geddes, GM's "Futurama" exhibit foretold the communities and transportation systems of 1960, many of which came to pass. Other peeks at the future included "Previews of Progress," inventions that seemed like magic: "Yarns made of Milk! Glass that bends! The Frig-O-Therm that cooks and freezes at the same time! The Talking Flashlight transmitting speech over a light beam!" exclaimed the exhibit's guidebook. Sharing top billing with the Futurama and Previews of Progress, however, was the "'Glass' Car - The first full-sized transparent car ever made in America."

The Tin Indian that wasn't: RM to offer see-through Pontiac (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)


  1. Is it the plexiglass that when you get it cold and drop it from about 3 feet, it shatters into a million shards, like glass, or the plexiglass that when you shoot it with a .50 caliber round, it gets a little dent on it like it was merely pissed off that you tried to mar its surface?

    1. Just to nit pick.

      Plexiglas is a trade name for Acrylic (aka Poly(methyl methacrylate). Yes, acrylic will shatter, but it is more scratch resistant (i.e. harder) than…

      Poly-carbonate – PC (trade names are many including Tuffak; Lexan; etc) is shatter resistant but it scratches easily. Bulletproof PC is actually two thick pieces of PC with a flexible layer sandwiched in between the layers.

      Used to work as a designer at a plastics company, so many people get this confused, so it’s a pet peeve now.

      The more you know…

  2. There is a certain poetry in such a transparent design. It’s the perfectly proportional response to all those modern cars with needlessly blacked-out or mirrored windows, gaudy paint jobs, ground effects and superfluous lighting. This is a truly interesting and appealing car.

    I hope it ends up in a respectable collection and not paraded up and down the streets like some slurring halfwit’s playtoy. Leave that sort of peacocking to the Hummers, Escalades and “customized” old sedans. This transparent oddity is too good for those losers.

  3. It’s the plexiglass that shatters. See the close-up of the right rear fender. This was made in 1939, after all.

    There’s also a plexiglass TV set made by RCA that showed at the same fair. Want!

  4. While the model picture is fascinating and it is a GM product, I believe that it is a Buick, not a Pontiac.

    1. > While the model picture is fascinating and it is a
      > GM product, I believe that it is a Buick, not a Pontiac.

      I believe you’re wrong, as the license plate “clearly” says “1940 Pontiac”…

  5. Holy cow, that’s awesome. Maybe I can get a home loan to buy it if I convince the bank I’m going to live in it.

  6. Back in the ’80s there was a guy who drove a wrought iron VW Bug around Santa Barbara. Not quite as see-through as plexiglass, but definitely a bit breezier

  7. I thought this was going to be a 3d printing post. Which makes me wonder, what’s the largest anyone has made a 3d printer? Could the parts be assembled into a mobile, robotic platform so that there’s no real boundary to the size of a printable object?

    I want to print a boat, but a transparent car body would be a good start.

  8. Yeah, it’s the plexi that’s brittle. Oh well. We’ll just have to wait for transparent aluminum.

  9. Guess the kids wouldn’t be able to crouch down so they wouldn’t be seen in the car with their parents!!

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