The automobile has evolved from curiosity to daily necessity. Its form has advanced from the horseless carriages of the early twentieth century to the sleek, highly functional objects we know today. The experimental, concept, or “dream car,” as it became known in the early 1950s, has long been a dynamic tool allowing designers to showcase and demonstrate forward-thinking automotive design ideas. Concept cars were not objects the public typically could purchase, but rather the testing ground for innovations that might find expression in automobiles produced decades later. This exhibition explores the innovative designs that sparked ideas of future possibility and progress. It examines the dream car through five themes: individual makers, the impact of styling, visionary designers, the design process, and the influence of automobile fairs.
Chosen from hundreds of concept cars produced between 1932 and the present day, the visions for these automobiles are exciting to behold. Like most concept cars, those on display were never intended for production. Imagine an egg-shaped electric car, an exterior surface made of flexible fabric, or a jet fighter rolling down the highway – all of these were among the ideas dreamed up by designers and are featured in these galleries. The "dream" represented by these cars was that of future possibilities and pushing the limits of imagination and design.
Organization & Support
Dream Cars: Innovative Design, Visionary Ideas is organized by the High Museum of Art, Atlanta.
The exhibition is supported by presenting sponsor Porsche Cars North America, Inc. We gratefully acknowledge AutoTrader, AutoTrader Classics, Manheim, WSB-TV, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and WSB News Talk Radio for their generous support. Special thanks to contributing sponsors Delta Air Lines, AT&T, and NAPA. Additional support is provided by The Coca-Cola Company, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Dorothy Smith Hopkins Exhibition Endowment Fund, the Fay and Barrett Howell Exhibition Endowment Fund, and Tommy and Beth Holder. In-kind support provided by UPS.
Explore With Our App!
Visitors can choose from two different audio tours to guide their experience in Dream Cars: Innovative Design, Visionary Ideas.
The Adult Tour features interviews with:
- Sarah Schleuning, High Museum Curator of Decorative Arts & Design and Dream Cars exhibition curator
- Ken Gross, Automotive historian and Dream Cars consulting curator
- Ed Welburn, General Motor’s Vice President of Global Design
- Syd Mead, Futurist designer
The Kid's Tour is a playful exploration of the imagination and innovation of the designers who built these concept cars, and is ideal for children 6 to 12.
Both tours are available at the Museum on a player that is available for rental. Or if you have an iPhone or Android device you can purchase the High's Dream Cars tour app for a small fee.
On-Site Player Rental:
$4 Members & Children (under 17)
App for iPhone or Android:
$1.99 - download available in Apple App Store & Google Play