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Sixties concept goes back to the future

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In the Sixties, people gazed into the future and saw flying cars by the year 2011. As it turned out, that was a little too ambitious.

Still, they didn’t get it all wrong. There’s a rumble of excitement surrounding the completion of the Holden Hurricane — a reworked version of a 42-year-old concept car that predicted today’s automotive trends with uncanny accuracy.

Originally unveiled by Holden — the Australian arm of US car giant General Motors — in 1969, the Hurricane was created by a group of designers tasked with imagining what the car of the future would look like. And their crystal ball-fondling ideas were staggeringly on the money.

In addition to the retro-futuristic curves and hydraulic canopy doors, the RD 001 (the two-seat sports car’s codename) boasted an electronic display, an eerily advanced V8 engine with a four-barrel carburettor, automated temperature control air-conditioning, a primitive station-seeking radio and much more.

A camera embedded in the rear bumper fed flickering CCTV images to a small black and white screen to assist with parking. And it was the first car to feature ‘Pathfinder’ — a precursor to GPS that mapped your route with magnetic roadside sensors, and told you when to turn off via illuminated arrows and a warning buzzer on the dashboard.

Formed from salvaged or restored parts, the new Hurricane took an insanely committed team (many of whom worked on it in their free time) five years to complete. It briefly went on display at Melbourne’s Motorclassica car show last month, but there’s no word as yet on future exhibitions or production models. Until then, it’s a timely reminder that concept cars aren’t always fanciful and pointless creations.

Holden.com.au

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