Nearly every automaker built their cars bodies in steel, but that didn’t cause U.S. Steel to rest on its success, at least not in 1966, when it promoted creative uses for its product via futuristic concept cars called Innovari. And promote these concepts they did, at least to the industry, going so far as to release a record album of jazz composed for the Innovari’s launch.
The first Innovari was a sleek, long-nosed, bob-tailed hatchback U.S. Steel called a “sports station wagon.” Since wagons were all the rage for mid-century families, it made sense to demonstrate with a dramatic concept that dads would drool over. And the Innovari was sporty looking, at 52” inches high, it sat a full five inches lower than today’s sleek Tesla Model S.
Tailights hidden behind “transparent” stainless steel
Canilevered rear seat suspended with torsion bars for fewer parts
Pushbutton doors open with single steel hinge
Inner door panels made of embossed steel matching interior trim
Stainless steel roof, door panels, fender moldings, and exhaust pipes
Special high strength alloys for seat belt fittings
Unusual for its time in boasting safety features, the Innovari bragged that even its sun visors were made of “energy absorbing steel encased in a soft plastic cover for passenger protection.”
Written by Jim Cherry