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Hemmings Motor News Blog

Hemmings Motor News has been around since 1954. We're proud of our heritage, but we're also more than the Hemmings full of classifieds that your father subscribed to. Aside from new editorial content every month in Hemmings, we have three monthly magazines: Hemmings Muscle Machines, Hemmings Classic Car and Hemmings Sports and Exotic Car.

While our editors traverse the country to find the best content for those magazines, we find other oddities related to the old-car hobby that we really had no place for - until now. With this blog, we're giving you a behind-the-scenes look at what we see and what we do during the course of putting out some of the finest automotive magazines you'll ever read.

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The Bison: GM's Gas Turbine Truck

Posted July 18, 2011 10:29 AM by dstrohl

While the Ford Mustang made its debut at the 1964 New York World's Fair and changed the face of American motoring almost overnight, another vehicle debuted at the same time at the same venue and with the same revolutionary goal but almost immediately slipped into utter obscurity.

General Motors by that time had been messing around with gas turbines for more than a decade, ever since the Firebird concept car of 1953 - allegedly the first gas turbine-powered automobile in the United States. Like other manufacturers, GM inevitably hit upon the idea of using a gas turbine to power over-the-road trucks, resulting in the Bison concept that GM debuted in April 1964 at the New York World's Fair.

Though there's little mention of it in the reference books, the Bison concept seemed designed more to show off GM's ideas of a worldwide system of standardized cargo containers "which can be automatically loaded, unloaded, sorted and stored by electronically-controlled equipment… at new peaks of efficiency on tomorrow's express highways." Not much seems to have been said about the turbine powering the truck, though GM's display at the World's Fair did note a number of interesting features of the Bison, including four-wheel steering, a flip-forward canopy and combination jack-sanders between the wheels.

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