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Buick Centurion XP-301

When Concept Cars Ruled

Ever since I was 6 or 7 years old I have been infatuated with concept cars. Back at that time the manufactures were prolific in building and displaying concept cars. They were not visions of what the next generation of automobiles will look like, they were distant perspectives of the future of what cars might look like when I could drive!

GM Motorama.

Today, unfortunately, such factory dream cars seem to be what the next model change will look like if a California customizer had his way with the car. They may be beautiful but lack real-world utility and no vision of what we might be driving or flying in 25 years.

The 1956 Buick Centurion ZP-301 Dream Car was radical but yet realistic. It seemed to straddle the line between the distant future and the next generation of the automobile. Honestly, I don’t remember this Buick concept car as well as others. Actually, I have seen it in person several times over the last few years and it blows me away more each time I see it. It is a gorgeous car and has features that have only shown up on production cars in recent years, 50 too 60 years later.

This small video screen provided a rear view from the camera mounted on the rear of the car. Remember, that this was 1956 and TV’s were not around but far from common in America’s living rooms! The idea of a TV-like screen in your car had to be a mind-blower for middle America.
You can see the camera in the center top of the rear.
Four bucket seats were provided in the Buick concept at a time when only sports cars had bucket seats. Also, note the use of headrests!

The Centurion XP-301 was a featured car at the 1956 GM Motorama. It featured a rear-mounted camera and video screen. The top was a popular concept car of the day bubble top. More futuristic as in predicting the future, the car had retractable seat belts and bucket seats with headrests.

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I grew up and lived in Iowa for a good portion of my life before moving to Southern California. After 20+ years we now live outside Nashville Tennessee. I have been into cars since I was old enough to remember. I don't have a brand loyalty although I do prefer American Muscle especially the 1969/1970 NASCAR Aero Cars. (Check out our other web site at site) As long as it has four wheels and an engine I get excited. Few men are lucky enough to be able to share their passion for cars with the woman they love. Fortunately, my wife, Katriana, is also a gear head and many of our activities revolve around the cars. We have a small collection that includes at least one car from each of the Big Three. It includes a Best of Show winner, a survivor, a driver with lots of patina and several others. Katrina prefers all original cars while I like to modify them so we have a few of each. When we aren't playing with cars we are out working with or showing our miniature donkeys. You can see more about that part of our lives at

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