The Oldsmobile Aerotech II concept car might have come as a surprise to those familiar with the single-seat Aerotech I concept car.
At first glance, the Aerotech II looked like a coupe of tomorrow that had been blended with a station wagon. In back was what looked like a gigantic spoiler. Looking closer, you realized that glass spanned the gap between the roof and the "spoiler." Indeed, the spoiler was actually the back frame for the massive glass panel that turned what was evidently a coupe into the equivalent of a station wagon.
In addition to creating an unforgettable design cue, the extended roofline of the Oldsmobile Aerotech II concept car expanded interior volume for luggage, as well as headroom for back-seat passengers.
The back compartment was easily accessible through a pair of center-hinged, tinted-glass hatches that lifted upward from each side of the car, like a pair of wings.
A continuous, unbroken line extended from the smoothly molded front bumper, up the short nose, across the huge glass windshield and into the four-foot-tall roof -- then on toward the far rear of the tail section.
Oldsmobile called the Oldsmobile Aerotech II concept car's silhouette "purposely bullet-like to pierce the wind with the least commotion." An array of low-profile quartz-halogen "mini-cube" headlamps hid behind fold-down covers during the day.
John Perkins, chief designer at Oldsmobile's Studio One, described the Aerotech II as a "sportsman's vehicle," and even a form of "shooting brake." Rear bucket seats folded to take long or bulky objects (skis, for instance) into the big rear cargo hold.
Long, flowing lines and soft curves continued inside the Aerotech II, creating an inviting space for driver and passengers. Molded dash contours extended all the way into the rear compartment, making functional surfaces accessible to all passengers. Switches and controls were flush-mounted. Lap and shoulder belts protected all four occupants, while the front pair got air bags.
The low-profile steering wheel tilted electrically out of the way for easy entry into the car, then returned to a preset position -- signaled by computerized memory -- at the touch of a button. Radio and climate-control switches were built into the steering wheel. In addition to the head-up instrument display up front, a ceiling-mounted holographic device projected a red three-dimensional warning onto the rear glass panel whenever brakes were applied.
Although the prototype Aerotech II wasn't drivable, it was created to hold a supercharged version of the original's 2.3-liter Quad 4 engine, rated 230 horsepower and feeding an automatic transmission. Electronic traction control eliminated wheel spin on slippery surfaces, while anti-lock brakes did similar duty when stopping.
The Oldsmobile Aerotech II concept car eventually evolved further, into a vehicle that looked even more conventional. Learn about the Aerotech III concept car on the next page.