Home » Ford Released This Concept 60 Years Ago And Basically Predicted The Future: Cold Start

Ford Released This Concept 60 Years Ago And Basically Predicted The Future: Cold Start

Ford Seattlite Tall 2
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If there was ever a car that is more Seattle in the 1960s than the Ford Seattle-ite XXI I can’t imagine what it is. It embraces the same rocket-age design of John Graham’s flying saucer Space Needle which, like the Seattle-ite XXI, was built for the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair. But that’s not the key piece here. The inside holds the future of the automobile.

The 1960s were, in certain ways, the peak of concept cars. Automotive designers could pretty easily see what cars of the future could be but were constrained by pre-semiconductor technology in the application of that tech. At the same time, the unleashing of nuclear technology created an emotional fission that comes out in a lot of these designs.

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Vidframe Min Bottom

There are almost too many pieces of the Dearborn-designed car to focus on, but the feature that’s most obviously visible is the set of four tandem wheels, all of which can be steered. Gene Bordinat, then Ford’s Director of Styling, described the potential advantages of the wheels as “numerous” and pointed out “this treatment could make possible a self-contained, easily interchangeable power capsule, in turn allowing countless styling treatments for the ‘trailing’ vehicle that would house the passenger compartment.”

Seattle Ite Ford Rea

This concept contains a remarkable density of great ideas. For one, the “power capsule” envisioned here could be “highly sophisticated fuel cells operating electric motors or compact nuclear propulsion devices.” Ok, the nuclear thing is a bit far, but the idea of having different engines for different uses is basically how plug-in hybrids work today.

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Seattle Ite Interior

The ideas get even more advanced inside. Check out this paragraph from the press release:

Ford Press Release

Did you catch that? Gauges could be eliminated and “in their place would be a centrally mounted viewing screen where engine performance characteristics, road and weather conditions and other pertinent information could be quickly and automatically projected.”

Ford Seattlite Front

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His description there is of basically every modern car instrument panel.

Even better, the idea of a “road map automatically “rolling” with the progress of the car” with “estimated arrival time at a given destination” that would be “constantly visible” and updated relative to conditions is modern GPS.

As a reminder, this press release is dated 4/20/62, so this is roughly 60 years in the past. In addition to predicting the cabin of the future, the car is also the only one I can think of named after Seattle.

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Jakob K's Garage
Jakob K's Garage
4 months ago

It also had an early form of the Renault Avantime doors .
Which is nice.

pliney the welder
pliney the welder
4 months ago

420 / 62 ? Design seems date appropriate .

Last edited 4 months ago by pliney the welder
Hugh Crawford
Hugh Crawford
4 months ago

What would Lady Penelope Creighton-Ward drive?

Iwannadrive637
Iwannadrive637
4 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Crawford

Trick question. She would be driven. FAB.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
4 months ago

Ugly car with shout out to future technology that came into existence but nothing like the guesses made here. The biggest myth here is no gauges but a screen showing everything. Modern tech has a screen showing what gouges did but still no encapsulated model of real engine performance. I myself still pine for an oil readout that shows oil level.

Chris Hoffpauir
Chris Hoffpauir
4 months ago

It’s like the Batmobile took a whole bunch of anabolic steroids.

It also looks like it was designed to be easily upgraded to flying car status, anticipating the 1990s when they’d be the most common form of transportation.

Yes, I’m still pissed about not having the futuristic atomic flying car I was promised when I was 5.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
4 months ago

At least Boeing has the right idea in stopping all development of new sub-sonic airliners, since everything’s clearly going to transition to supersonic within 10 years

Chris Hoffpauir
Chris Hoffpauir
4 months ago
Reply to  Ranwhenparked

My dad worked for one of the subcontractors machining parts for Boeing’s SST project in the ’60s. Everyone was convinced flights to Europe and Asia would only take a few hours in the 21st Century, and we’d be vacationing on the Moon.

Black Peter
Black Peter
4 months ago
Maymar
Maymar
4 months ago

Perhaps the only car named after Seattle, but not the only car named after the Seattle metro. Also, not the only car borrowing its name from a World’s Fair venue, although I’m tapped out after the Montreal.

Zorn Zornelius
Zorn Zornelius
4 months ago
Reply to  Maymar

What also made the “Seattle-ite” especially “Seattle” was that the gasoline engine option required expensive high-octane gas that only achieved roughly 67% MPG efficiency compared to comparable gasoline engines on the market at the time.

/s, but feels good to vent sarcastically as someone who lives here (QoL doesn’t justify CoL sometimes)

Zorn Zornelius
Zorn Zornelius
4 months ago
Reply to  Zorn Zornelius

“compared to comparable”

Canhazedit plz

Maymar
Maymar
4 months ago
Reply to  Zorn Zornelius

Am in Toronto, it sounds like our Space Needle-ripoff isn’t the only thing we have in common.

Hugh Crawford
Hugh Crawford
4 months ago
Reply to  Maymar
Maymar
Maymar
4 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Crawford

Fair enough, although the Cadillac predates that world’s fair, while the Seattleite and Montreal were launched in their respective cities.

Lori Hille
Lori Hille
4 months ago
Reply to  Maymar

Does the Chrysler New Yorker count?

Old Fart Parts Guy
Old Fart Parts Guy
4 months ago

Chinese made cars are here already as the little jewel box Buick Envision and Volvos. I will consider adopting a EV as soon as they are as cheap to buy as a gas-powered car and as easy to fuel up. It will never happen of course because this whole Eevee business is a scam to control everybody.

Harmanx
Harmanx
4 months ago

Sarcasm, right?

Delta 88
Delta 88
4 months ago

This isn’t really related, other than the whole predicting the future thing, but I have to get it out because it’s giving me the heebie-jeebies. Last night at like 8 o’clock an old friend of mine sent me a YouTube link to Fairytale of New York basically out of nowhere. We listened to the Pogues a ton in college. Then I like 20 minutes ago I passed an article that said Shane MacGowan passed away at like 3 AM. Freaking weird. R.I.P. Shane MacGowan

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
4 months ago
Reply to  Delta 88

“Hear the rebels voice a calling
I shall not die, though you bury me!”

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
4 months ago

The most accurate prediction was the length of that thing.

Chris Stevenson
Chris Stevenson
4 months ago

A self-contained power unit allowing “countless styling treatments” sounds like all of those concepts with interchangeable bodies on skateboard EV chassis.

MATTinMKE
MATTinMKE
4 months ago

Overall I love the exterior design of this! Those taillights! I hope Torch gets better soon, we need to talk about these taillights!

Glutton for Piëch
Glutton for Piëch
4 months ago

“Jeremy, you’ve bought the long car!”

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
4 months ago

“Yes, me lady.”

InWayOverMyHead
InWayOverMyHead
4 months ago

And, how would one steer those front wheels? Voice command?

Austin Vail
Austin Vail
4 months ago

Probably with the lever on the center console.

My Goat Ate My Homework
My Goat Ate My Homework
4 months ago

At least they didn’t put a yoke in it.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
4 months ago

Telepathy. We were all supposed to have those powers by now, but the filthy rich grew afraid of what that might mean so they put fluoride in the water and created sitcoms, rock and roll, and professional sports to stunt mental development

Balloondoggle
Balloondoggle
4 months ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

That is the only – or most – rational explanation I’ve ever heard for the existence of professional sports.

VanGuy
VanGuy
4 months ago
Reply to  Balloondoggle

I was vehemently anti-sports in high school, but have gradually grown to appreciate them, largely thanks to the Secret Base channel on YouTube (even if I don’t watch actually watch sports without the company of others).

Still, if nothing else, my biggest argument is probably that sports are a decent (though far from perfect) outlet for humanity’s innate tribalism.

I’ll take an Eagles-Cowboys rivalry over actual discrimination, racism, etc. any damn day.

Put another way…I used to hate sports for distracting us from news and what’s important in the world.

Now I like sports for distracting us from news and what’s important in the world.
(but seriously…mental health. I distract myself with video games; others distract themselves with sports. I think there’s many far worse ways than either.)

Balloondoggle
Balloondoggle
4 months ago
Reply to  VanGuy

Yes, I could write it off as entertainment that simply didn’t interest me, but in our market we pay a universal sales tax to support the facilities for two pro teams. Even our new(ish) soccer team got public money for the construction of their “privately financed” stadium after snatching the property from the local school district.

DONALD FOLEY
DONALD FOLEY
4 months ago

By twisting your wrist within the chrome ring on the console.

InWayOverMyHead
InWayOverMyHead
4 months ago
Reply to  DONALD FOLEY

Seriously? Maybe I can’t hear your tone and can’t tell if you mean that.

DONALD FOLEY
DONALD FOLEY
4 months ago

Yes, in the early 1960’s Ford and Mercury experimented with wrist-twist steering. The examples that were publicized most widely had two twist wheels mounted on a steering yoke in front of the driver.

OSpazX
OSpazX
4 months ago

The example shown is the special limited Vegas Edition.

You can tell in the interior shot – center console has a built in Slot Machine.

Thank you… and the door is which way?

Citrus
Citrus
4 months ago

I appreciate Ford’s weird insistence that nuclear powered cars could be a thing. They even did the Nucleon, though that didn’t even make it to full sized model.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
4 months ago
Reply to  Citrus

They could. Just not cheaply, safely or practically. But if we were all living in a post nuclear armageddon Hellscape anyway what’s a few more rads between friends?

Mr. Asa
Mr. Asa
4 months ago

I’m just struck by how skinny the tires are. Almost motorcycle sized.

StillNotATony
StillNotATony
4 months ago
Reply to  Mr. Asa

And the rear overhang!! Yikes!

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
4 months ago
Reply to  StillNotATony

Not to mention that in the future, nobody will bump into the back of your car ever.

Flyingstitch
Flyingstitch
4 months ago
Reply to  StillNotATony

*Crocodile Dundee voice*

“That’s not a Camry dent. This is a Camry dent.”

Austin Vail
Austin Vail
4 months ago
Reply to  StillNotATony

That was normal in the 60s though. Cars had massive trunks. The equivalent of modern crossovers/SUVs, but better, because it’s more floor area. Only thing better is a wagon or minivan, because nothing is better than wagons and minivans.

StillNotATony
StillNotATony
4 months ago
Reply to  Austin Vail

I had a ’69 Continental in college. You could lay three bodies across the trunk floor. I was going to take a spring break trip from IHOP to IHOP with my cousin and a friend in it. One person would sleep on the front bench seat, one on the back bench, and one across the trunk.

We ended up too broke to make the trip, tho…

RataTejas
RataTejas
4 months ago
Reply to  StillNotATony

Recently sold a 71 Coupe deVille. Had what was glossed a “five hooker trunk” as you could get at least five bodies in there, depending on how they were “arranged”.

Alan Christensen
Alan Christensen
4 months ago
Reply to  Austin Vail

Some of the trunks were so large you had to climb in to get stuff from up by the rear seat, or use one of those grabber things.

PlatinumZJ
PlatinumZJ
4 months ago
Reply to  Austin Vail

I’ve been told you can fit up to five bodies in the trunk of a ’64 Galaxie 500. (I’m not sure if you have to remove the spare tire to get that fifth one in there.)

Balloondoggle
Balloondoggle
4 months ago
Reply to  PlatinumZJ

Make sure none of the bodies have a spare tire and you won’t have to worry about it. Love handles shouldn’t be a problem though.

Austin Vail
Austin Vail
4 months ago
Reply to  Mr. Asa

That was normal in the 60s. Most cars, even big ones, had so-called “pizza cutter” wheels. And they were bias-ply so they had less grip than an equivalent radial tire would, but they also were more rigid so they’re more stable than they look. They were the best tires for doing burnouts.

Since those tires were pretty common at the time, it’s interesting to think Ford recognized the benefits of having more traction in the front, but rather than make wider tires, their solution was to add more tires. Makes sense I guess.

Last edited 4 months ago by Austin Vail
Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
4 months ago
Reply to  Austin Vail

“They were the best tires for doing burnouts.”

Also drifting before drifting was a thing.

Alan Christensen
Alan Christensen
4 months ago
Reply to  Austin Vail

The predecessor of the Tyrrell P34.

Rapgomi
Rapgomi
4 months ago

Now I’m imagining an alternate future where “Ford VS Tyrrell” was a thing!

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