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1955 Ford La Tosca Concept

In the midst of the jet-age frenzy of the 1950s, Ford introduced the La Tosca concept in 1955, joining the ranks of futuristic bubble-top designs like the Mystere and Lincoln Futura. The brainchild of designer Tremulis, the La Tosca was initially conceived as a challenge to showcase the complexities of car design, even for seasoned professionals. However, the project took an unexpected turn, creating an impressive and innovative creation.

One of the main features that set the La Tosca apart was its unique canted fins, giving the car a distinctive wider appearance. Inspired by modern aircraft design, the roof canopy was made of plexiglass, and the backup lights were designed to resemble jet tubes, adding to its futuristic allure. The headlights were retractable to enhance its futuristic appeal further, making the La Tosca a true embodiment of jet-age aesthetics.

One particularly intriguing aspect of the La Tosca was its remote-controlled chassis. Tremulis and Romeyn Hammond embarked on the ambitious task of building a radio-controlled chassis for a 3/8-scale model of the concept. They ingeniously pieced together Lincoln convertible top motors, a power-window regulator, a power-seat unit, power-window relays, and a standard car battery to achieve this feat. However, the success of this feature was not without its complications. The radio-control system proved highly effective, allowing the car to be maneuvered from over a mile away. This led to some amusing (and perhaps nerve-wracking) incidents, earning Tremulis both praise and skepticism from Ford's higher-ups.

As the project progressed, the La Tosca gradually evolved into the design that eventually found its way into the 1958 Lincoln model, showcasing the lasting impact of this experimental concept.