It was a homecoming of sorts at the GM Heritage Center recently. When Robert Van House called and asked permission to "visit" the Firebird I in the Heritage Center, it was too hard to say no!

The Firebird I is the first gas turbine powered car tested in the United States, and was the product of GM's research and development in 1953.

Robert explained that his father was a GM engineer who worked on the chassis for the Firebird I. Robert sent along an image with him as a youngster inside the vehicle. Robert joined his father at the Miami Auto Show where Firebird 1 was displayed in early 1954.

He also was present one night to watch the vehicle get loaded into a "flying boxcar" at Willow Run Airport near Ypsilanti, Michigan, and remembers his father racing down the freeway, and getting a speeding ticket, trying to get him home in time for school in the morning!

It's heartening to know that Robert's father wanted to share this important historical milestone in GM with his son! Now a retired Colonel in the USAF, Robert resides in Florida.

For more information on the Firebird I, click here.

  • Then and Now Robert Van House in the Firebird I as a 5 year-old
  • Then and Now Robert Van House with the Firebird I at the GM Heritage Center