The Y-Job was GM’s first concept car and an icon in the automotive industry. Constructed in 1938 under the direction of Harley J. Earl, GM’s first design chief, the Y-Job made the rounds of the auto show circuit. But the Y-Job was not a turntable queen; Earl regularly drove the low-slung two-seater on the streets of Detroit where its appearance must have seemed as alien as a flying saucer.
But dream cars, like yesterday’s newspapers, have a short shelf life. The Y-Job’s innovative styling and advanced features soon paled alongside even more futuristic products from GM’s supercharged design staff. The Y-Job was eventually consigned to a warehouse, and later transferred to the Sloan Museum in Flint, Mich. There the Y-Job languished in dusty anonymity – until a burgeoning interest in Detroit’s fanciful dream cars rescued the Y-Job and its descendants from obscurity.
As historians and enthusiasts began to appreciate the significance of these landmark vehicles, the Y-Job was returned to its former glory as the centerpiece of a concept car revival at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich. In 1993, the Y-Job came home to the GM Design Center in Warren, Mich., where it now resides as an honored member of GM’s heritage collection.