The Two Lives of the Cadillac Cyclone Concept Vehicle
Written by Bill Bowman
The 1959 Cadillac Cyclone concept was designed to test new styling and engineering ideas. The two- passenger automobile has a clear plastic top that fits snugly against the panoramic windshield to give the driver true 360 degree vision. When not in use, the power-operated canopy folds backward beneath the surface of the trunk deck. It automatically lifts out of the way when either door is opened.
Among its advanced engineering features is a radar-locating device, which scans the highway, and warns the driver electronically of objects in its path. Large, twin nose cones in the front of the car house the proximity-sensing units. They electronically alert the driver with both an audible signal and a warning light if an object is in its path.
At a touch of a button, Cyclones doors move outward from the car three inches. Moving smoothly on ball bearings, they can be slid back for easy entrance.
A 325 horsepowered engine that is positioned in the nose of the car powers the Cyclone. It features a low profile carburetor, cross flow aluminum radiator and twin fans. The muffler and exhaust are located in the front engine compartment with the exhaust outlets just ahead of the front wheels.
Inside, instruments are clustered like an aircraft dashboard before, and between, the two passengers. An intercommunication system allows passengers to converse with persons outside the automobile without raising the canopy.
This was Harley Earl’s last concept vehicle before his retirement in 1958. After Earl’s retirement, with Bill Mitchell as Vice President and head of design, the Cyclone’s fins were cut down, the taillights moved to the bumber ends, the hubcaps changed, the bubble top removed and the pearl white paint changed to silver. The car was then known as the 1964 Cadillac Cyclone XP-74 Concept.