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STRANGE AUTO CONCEPTS - 1939 MARS EXPRESS - 1ST HYBRID CAR! - GAS MOTOR WITH ROCKET BACK-UP!

The Mars Express first appeared on American roads in 1934, promoting the Pan American Petroleum Corporation. As an account in the Tuscaloosa News from June 14, 1934, reported, Pan American advertised the Mars Express as a 1,000 MPH car that “follows scientific forecasts of 50 years in the future.”

There will be decorated automobiles of the newest type accompanying the Rocket Car. And a special auto will carry the “Man from Mars,” who depicts the characters that we will see journeying to earth perhaps from our neighboring planets.

The car’s complete streamline effect will help to make possible the unbelievable speeds of the future – speeds of 1,000 and more miles an hour.

To eliminate useless weight, while retaining essential strength, the car has an aluminum body, painted copper. Its overall length is 20 feet, width 7 feet, height 6 feet.

The rocket car has powerful radio, two loudspeakers and microphone. On the dashboard, ahead of the driver’s seat is a planetary map… a well-known artist’s fanciful idea of the heavens.

The cabin is beautifully finished in fine tan leather. Here you see the control board, with strange instruments predicted for rocket car tours – switches for humidimeter, velocimeter, disintegrator ray and oxygen tanks.

Pan Am is the first to build an actual practical car following rocket car lines.

That last claim appears to be just as fanciful as the rest of the claims made about the car. Either way, the Mars Express next shows up in 1938, just a few days after Orson Welles’s radio broadcast of The War of the Worlds, with the somewhat more plausible claim of being able to run 115 MPH with a supercharged Ford V-8 engine powering it. However, Pan-American no longer associated itself with the car; instead, Peter Vacca (sometimes referred to as Peter Vacco) of Buffalo, New York, claimed to have spent $16,000 building the car. The man in Stinnette’s third photo may just be Vacca, posing with the Mars Express for an impromptu portrait.
 

STRANGE AUTO CONCEPTS - 1939 MARS EXPRESS - 1ST HYBRID CAR! - GAS MOTOR WITH ROCKET BACK-UP!






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