It doesn’t get much more historic than the Buick Y Job at General Motors. As the first car engineered and designed to purely showcase future product, the Y Job previewed features and ideas that wouldn’t arrive until more than a decade later after its reveal in 1938.
Harley Earl, GM’s first design head, oversaw the project, but as current GM vice president of global design, Michael Simcoe, tells Jay Leno on an episode of Jay Leno’s Garage, Earl didn’t actually design. Instead, he managed the project and told other designers what he was looking for with the “concept” vehicle. His number one goal was to reignite passion for the automobile following the Great Depression.
The technology for the time was overwhelming. The Y Job boasted power windows, wraparound bumpers, and power-operated headlights. Earl actually drove the car himself for a number of years. Eventually, the car was returned to the GM Design Center in 1993.
Have a look at the episode up above as Leno and Simcoe dive into some pretty intriguing dialogue.