AMC Astra-Gnome, the typical car from the movies of the future

But from the fifties or sixties, when the representations of what would be the year 2000 onwards were conceptualized as an ode to round shapes with pointed antennas crowned by spheres. What's more, I would say that the car that we are going to tell you about today has some retro-futuristic touches that I would have a hard time pigeonholing into an era of fiction cinema. Did you know the AMC Astra-Gnome? Because at first glance, it looks like the typical car that is presented at a motor show, but that seems to be taken from a Hollywood fiction and that evidently never made it to production.

While I was looking for references to write about this concept car of the future, I remembered the latest revival of the drawings of the famous Jetsons created by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera in '62, but they came into my life in the mid-90s. And yes, this could be Janet and George J. Jetson's car. What do you think…

The idea about the AMC Astra-Gnome

In essence, the AMC Astra-Gnome was a futuristic concept car introduced by the American Motors Corporation (AMC) in 1956. This conceptual vehicle was designed by Richard Arbiba well-known industrial designer of the time, and was displayed at several automobile shows during the 1950s. The AMC Astra-Gnome's design was extremely innovative for its time, with futuristic features that captured the imagination of designers and transported the public to a dystopia far away in time.


The Astra-Gnome featured a single-piece fiberglass body with an aerodynamic design and smooth lines that reflected the era's vision of what cars of the future would be like. One of the most distinctive features of the Astra-Gnome was its transparent dome-shaped cockpit, which could be opened upwards to allow access to the vehicle's interior, but this was not the most disruptive thing the concept car featured, Inside the cabin, the seats were upholstered in satin blue and space gray, spacey but not special. The steering wheel was designed to be covered in chrome blue with the same concept logo, Astra-Gnome; in the center, and the knobs and gear lever were presented in a light and transparent blue color.

The most striking thing about its console was its giant celestial clock that occupied a central place at eye level. This clock was designed with future travel in mind, giving that extra science fiction halo to the model. Beyond this vision, it was designed separately with reclining seats and a center console that included a radio telephone, a television and a bar – who doesn't need a bar on interstellar travel? These features reflected the designers' vision of what the cars of the future would be like, not only as means of transportation, but also as living and entertainment spaces. And be careful, from what we see with so much infotainment they were not on the wrong track. Of course, the thing about the bar with its Nespresso has not finished coming together.

Engine of the future

The powertrain was also experimental on the AMC Astra-Gnome, and this was one of the most interesting and cutting-edge features of the vehicle. In the 1950s, when the Astra-Gnome was introduced, the industry was beginning to explore new ways to improve the fuel efficiency and reduce polluting emissions. This led to interest in hybrid technology, which combines the energy of an internal combustion engine with that of an electric motor to propel the vehicle. In this line of thinking, the Astra-Gnome combined a conventional gasoline engine with an electric motorallowing the vehicle to run on a combination of fuel and electricity power.

This had several potential advantages, including greater fuel efficiency, less dependence on fossil fuels and a reduction in tailpipe emissions, which for the 1950s was unthinkable but very promising for the years to come. The inclusion of this system in such a concept car futuristic and advanced Technologically, it reflected the mentality of the time to seek solutions to the challenges related to mobility and the environment of our days.

If you are curious to see this car in person, you can do so until November 2024 if you travel to Los Angeles and decide to visit the Petersen Museum of Automobile HistoryIf you are caught out, I leave you the gallery below and a short documentary to learn about the intra-history of the car:

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