The Future Then: Auto Edition

PopSci has been looking toward the near and distant future of the car for over 135 years. To coincide with car month here, see how some of our past predictions have survived the test of time.

Since PopSci’s inception, we’ve had a special place in our heart for cars. Cars that fly and cars that swim. Cars that glide along on three wheels, or one, or none. Rocket autos, sleeper buses, monster trucks-we’ve covered them all (and, on occasion, more than once).Launch our blast-from-the-past gallery to see our conception of the future as we saw it way back when, as well as the future as we view it now. Have we guessed right? You be the judge.


  1. Bomb Baby Europe’s mini export of 1955 hoped to take Detroit by storm
  2. Battery Beaut Electric cars are nothing new, this 1960 edition ran on 56 cells
  3. O What a Gas A rocket car from 1930 is converted to run on liquid oxygen
  4. Ready for Landing In 1930 an airship engineer introduces the concept of aerodynamics
  5. Inventing the Wheel A prototype car from 1932 is little more than a gigantic wheel


  1. Smart Sipper The Smart car comes Stateside
  2. Elegant Electric The Tesla Roadster revolutionizes the way we view electric cars
  3. Gas Goes Green Audi’s diesel-fueled racecar demonstrates the power of alternative fuel
  4. Ready for Takeoff If it were engineered any differently the Bugatti Veyron wouldn’t stay on the ground
  5. Reinventing the WheelPopSci predicts the future of cars is in a giant wheel


  1. Streamlined Auto Can Almost Fly
  2. Liquid Oxygen Runs Amazing Auto
  3. Amazing Motor-Drive Hoop May be Car of the Future
  4. Meet Messerschmitt’s Three-Wheeled ‘Bomb’
  5. The Smart Car Road Trip
  6. Drive Fast, Save the World
  7. SNAP! Multicar
  8. The New Face of Racing: Clean, Fast–and Diesel
  9. The Fastest Production Car Ever
Audis diesel-fueled racecar
rocket car
fuel-friendly Smart car
aerodynamic car
Tesla Roadster
electric car
The Bomb mini car
Bugatti Veyron
motor-driven hoop
motor-driven hoop