Cars of the Year 2000- A 1960s View of the Future

While researching this particular pattern, I came across this interesting article. The year is 1966, and the content is the property of the New Castle News, September 16, 1966 issue. This is still owned by this newspaper, so is offered here simply as educational content for your amusement.

Those Old Time Cars– Wow!

Woman to Woman by Patricia McCormack, United Press International.

New York (UPI)– By the year 2,000, grandchildren will gather round the old folks and beg to be told “that story about old-fashioned cars.”

“Well,” Grandpa says, “It was back in the sixties. Your grandmother and I owned this great car, big enough for six. It took us three years to pay for it.

“So many people owned cars that there were enormous traffic jams. Sometimes, going from here to there we just inched along. And back then we had to pay to park our cars when we got to town.”

The children laughed and one said– “Oh, Grandpa, you must be fooling. Daddy and Mommy don’t have trouble like that with the buggies they use.”

Thats the way it will be by the year 2,000, if William Alden, a practical spinner of dream transit, has his way.

Feature this: A funny car with four little wheels, big enough for three with room for some luggage and groceries. The front is shaped like a nosecone with its bottom flattened. The back is transparent and straight up and down.

Alden’s StaRRcar image source

That’s what Alden and his associates at Westboro, Mass., have in mind when thinking about ways of ridding cities of traffic congestion and making life more cheerful for commuters.

The invention, called a Starrcar, operates on batteries until it gets to a guideway. There, a rail moves it along electrically, automatically. You take your hands off the steering wheel and read or snooze or eat or talk.

The nice thing about this car of the future: No payments. You don’t own it. You just pay by the mile.

You use the car and leave it at a depot. When you want to use another one, you just pick up the nearest one– activating it by slipping a cash card and your registration card into a slot in the dashboard.

People who use the cars will be known as subscribers, Alden, a product of the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration, said.

You can read more about Alden and his StaRRcar, on Wikipedia

Seeing the images and movies, above, make Walt Disney’s “Tomorrowland” vision make so much more sense! The electric train, or cars on slots on a track seem to be the 1960s vision of the future. The Peoplemover (right) is a similar concept and was introduced to Disneyland in 1967 (RIP the Peoplemover, one of my grandmother’s favorite rides). Read more about the Peoplemover here.

Walt Disney with his Monorail, 1959. Image property of the Walt Disney Company.

Clearly, the people of the past didn’t realize how germy people can leave their public transit seats (which we became much more aware of during the Covid pandemic). Although renting an electric car using just your registration and license, without the addition of insurance, does sound quite appealing!

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