This is a platform for User Generated Content. G/O Media assumes no liability for content posted by Kinja users to this platform.

The 1955 GMC L'Universelle was the beautiful panel van of the future we never got.

Image: .

Illustration for article titled The 1955 GMC LUniverselle was the beautiful panel van of the future we never got.
Image: .
Advertisement

The GMC L’Universelle was one of GM’s Motorama show cars, built to showcase then-futuristic technologies and get the public excited about what the future held for the automobile. Specifically, the GMC L’Universelle was a radical re-imagining of the simple panel van, a typical example of which would’ve looked something like this in ‘55:

Image: .

Illustration for article titled The 1955 GMC LUniverselle was the beautiful panel van of the future we never got.
Image: .
Advertisement

The L’Universelle featured a mid-engine, front-wheel-drive layout which was very weird for an American vehicle of the time. The last American FWD car was the Cord from the thirties, and the next wouldn’t be made until 1966 in the form of the Oldsmobile Toronado, so to see this technology in a panel van of all things was wild.

More importantly, the lack of a driveshaft in the back allowed for a lower floor and more room in the back. Plus, it some crazy folding gullwing doors for you to access that roomy interior with:

Image: .

Illustration for article titled The 1955 GMC LUniverselle was the beautiful panel van of the future we never got.
Image: .
Advertisement

Image: .

Illustration for article titled The 1955 GMC LUniverselle was the beautiful panel van of the future we never got.
Image: .
Advertisement

Image: .

Illustration for article titled The 1955 GMC LUniverselle was the beautiful panel van of the future we never got.
Image: .
Advertisement

The driver sat on top of the front transaxle, which was paired to a Pontiac-sourced 4.6-liter V8, featuring a very strange radiator setup.

Image: .

Illustration for article titled The 1955 GMC LUniverselle was the beautiful panel van of the future we never got.
Image: .
Advertisement

Image: .

Illustration for article titled The 1955 GMC LUniverselle was the beautiful panel van of the future we never got.
Image: .
Advertisement

Image: .

Illustration for article titled The 1955 GMC LUniverselle was the beautiful panel van of the future we never got.
Image: .
Advertisement

Of course, the styling was just as crazy as any other Motorama show car, and with the cabover design, it was very ahead of its time. It even looks like GMC was targeting younger audiences with some of their promotional photos:

Image: .

Illustration for article titled The 1955 GMC LUniverselle was the beautiful panel van of the future we never got.
Image: .
Advertisement

Can you imagine if, after woody wagons, these were the trendy surfer vehicles? I wonder what a passenger van or pickup truck variant would look like... Too bad it never made it to production. It was a cool idea at least.

Image: .

Illustration for article titled The 1955 GMC LUniverselle was the beautiful panel van of the future we never got.
Image: .

Share This Story

Get our newsletter