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You Won’t Believe the Mind-Blowing Features of This 70-Year-Old Ford Show Car
Although it’s half-of-century-old, this car that was dubbed by Ford “a laboratory on wheels” boasted a ton of features that were unheard of in the early 1950s and are still impressive today.

You Won’t Believe the Mind-Blowing Features of This 70-Year-Old Ford Show Car

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The story goes that in 1949 Ford got wind that GM was working on a series of concept vehicles that would showcase their future design language and technical capabilities. Worried about being overshadowed by their crosstown rivals, designer Joe Oros (the man that would go on to stylize the Mustang) convinced management to greenlight the creation of Ford’s own futuristic concept.

Conceived by the company’s Lincoln design studio, the X-100 featured jet exhaust-like taillamps taken from a clay model created by Advanced Studio designer Gil Spear, an additional headlight mounted on the hood, and a retractable clear roof section.

At some point during the early development stage, Henry Ford II visited the team, and he was so impressed with the design that he suggested promoting it as the future Lincoln Continental. Thus, the prototype was renamed Continental 195X.

Finished in 1952, it was based on a series Lincoln chassis that was improved with de Dion-style independent rear suspension, power brakes, and power steering. Under the hood, the show car hid a Y-block V8 with an interesting, five-carburetor setup.

It was revealed to the public for the first time at the Chicago Auto Show but despite its state-of-the-art chassis and powertrain, it wasn’t functional, so it was pushed onto the stage. While its styling caught the eyes of those in attendance, potential Continental buyers weren’t very impressed, mainly because it was way too futuristic. After analyzing the feedback from potential buyers, management decided to go with a different design, which eventually led to the 1956 Continental Mark II.

In the meantime, the experimental 195X was stripped of its Lincoln badges, got its old X-100 codename back, and was repurposed into one of the most extravagant concept cars in Ford’s history.

In 1953, as part of the company's 50th-anniversary festivities, the X-100 took to the stage yet again. This time, it was fully functional and came with a series of features that made jaws drop to the floor.

Arguably the most exciting was the clear roof section. Not only was it power-retractable, but it could slide forward into a closed position automatically when it started raining, thanks to a roof-mounted sensor. Another interesting feature was a set of hydraulic jacks incorporated into the chassis that made it easier to swap a flat tire.

The list of exterior innovations continued with a power hood and trunk lid, both of which could be operated with a simple push of a button. Moreover, the X-100 was outfitted with windshield washers that could spray either hot or cold water, depending on the exterior temperature.

The concept was equally impressive inside where all the seats were heated, whereas those in the front were electronically adjustable and featured programable preset buttons. This might not seem all that impressive in 2022, but back in the early-1950s, heated memory seats were unheard of.

The cabin also came with a center console-mounted telephone, a dictaphone, and, for some reason, an electric shaver tucked away inside the glovebox. For the next two years, the X-100 was taken to many auto shows around the world where it never ceased to amaze. It is believed that this car gathered more crowds than any other Ford concept before or since.

After it ended its show car duties, it was displayed at the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation in Dearborn, Michigan where it resides to this day.

Thanks to King Rose Archives, you can watch original footage of the iconic X-100 below.

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