My how times have changed.
After the close of WWII, automakers like Chevrolet were free to yet again produce cars for consumers. The war effort required every factory to churn out airplanes, tanks, trucks, and other equipment for the battlefield and supply lines. But with the war over, those companies were able to use the new technologies, designs, and techniques learned from the conflict to make even better cars. GM was a giant in the industry, spending more than any other automaker on research and development.
To help celebrate its success and market dominance in the late 1940s, Chevrolet put out the promotional film we’ve included, called “The Last Word.” It briefly chronicles how Chevy cars have improved from 1913 to was then the present day, almost four decades later. Most people in our time fail to understand all the technological advancements made during the period in the auto industry.
It’s easy to see now how foolish anyone back then was if they truly believed cars had reached the pinnacle of innovation. Yet here we are in modern times and some today believe the same thing about their preferred vehicle. In other words, human nature doesn’t really evolve over time, even though our technology has.
Seeing what was considered cutting-edge back then is fascinating for those of us who weren’t alive at the time. For example, as the General Motors Research Building is shown off, we see nary a computer as researchers, engineers, and designers work on future vehicle plans and torture test prototypes. Today, a good portion of that same type of work is done almost exclusively on computers, pushing innovation further and helping us to achieve what once seemed all but impossible.
The obvious thing to do is to marvel at how far we’ve advanced in nearly 80 years. But one has to ask another obvious question: what will cars be like as the 22nd century begins? And how will people then view the vehicles we consider cutting-edge now?