Trace the History of Sci-Fi Car Design at the 'Hollywood Dream Machines' Exhibit

Monday May 20, 2019 Written by Smith

Cars G1Deckard’s sedan, driven in Blade Runner (1982). Designer: Syd Mead

There are a couple of things we don’t really post about on this website. Six-pack abs and how to gain them is one; pinstripe suits and how to rock them, another. And while the Smith Journal charter doesn’t technically prohibit us from writing about cars, it’s just something we feel other publications (presumably ones whose staff can manage a three-point turn) do better than us. Leave it to the pros, is our philosophy.

The Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles is providing us with a nice little out, though. From now until March 2020, visitors to the museum’s ‘Hollywood Dream Machines’ exhibit will be able to salivate over 40-plus vehicles from cinema history, including Blade Runner (the original and the sequel), A Clockwork OrangeMad Max: Fury RoadBack to the FutureRoboCop and more.

Yes, some of the cars come with internal combustion engines and other mechanical wonders actual rev-heads might find interesting to see with their own eyes. But for us, it's the aesthetic of the vehicles that's of interest – the ways in which each car tries to envisage a future (often dystopian) through design principals rather than just technological ones. 

For those who don’t happen to be in L.A., these photos will have to suffice. But our inner geeks think they suffice quite nicely.

Cars G2Luv's 'Spinner', driven in Blade Runner 2049 (2017). Designers: Dan Walker and George Hull

Cars G4The Alligator, driven in Death Race 2000 (1975). Designer: James Powers

Cars G3The De Lorean time machine, driven in Back to the Future (1985). Designers: Ron Cobb and Andrew Probert