The story of Aurora, the dream of a priest who ends up in the ugliest car in the world

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Aurora, a prototype introduced in 1957.

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Father Alfred Juliano was a priest from New York who, in addition to his faith in God, had dedicated most of his life to another of his passions: cars. Before dedicating himself, and while he was debating between the two vocations, the young seminarian participated in a contest for young design talent sponsored by General Motors.

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Juliano then won the opportunity to study automotive design with Harley Earl, chief brand designer and creator, at least, of Chevrolet Corvette. The wink of destiny was not decisive for Juliano, who gave up on the experience and continued his career in the Catholic Church until he was ordained a few years later.

Aurora was caught up in the official presentation: it had to be pulled.

Aurora was caught up in the official presentation: it had to be pulled.

However, as a priest, he wrote his own story on thriving automobile industry in the middle of the last century. Padre Juliano wanted to build the first experimental vehicle in the automotive world. And for this he designed the dawnthe founding product of Aurora Motor Company, the company he himself created after an investment of 30 thousand dollars.

Aurora took four years of development, two on its design and two more to build it. Not only did he think of his creation as a model that put safety and comfort first, but Juliano wanted to go further: sought to evangelize. Your intention from dawn is to advance a revolution in terms of safety and prevention that will have implications for large North American automakers.

Its foam -shaped windshield is designed to prevent head injuries in the event of a collision.

Its foam -shaped windshield is designed to prevent head injuries in the event of a collision.

Perhaps another result would have been if Juliano had agreed to give General Motors the design. His Aurora, a 20-foot-long racing car made from a Buick chassis, is Debuted in New York in 1957 and immediately generated double repercussion. First, the surprising effect generated by its futuristic lines; and then, the unanimous verdict of the automotive universe that he can never get rid of: The Aurora has been designated as the ugliest car in the world. Who would dare to talk about it?

Undoubtedly, Padre Juliano created an unprecedented model, though not from the features and functions he envisioned. In any case, he did not give up his intention to move forward with the project: his idea was to sell the Aurora with up to three different engines: Cadillac, Chrysler or Lincoln engines.

Father Alfred Juliano, the creator of the ugliest car in the world.

Father Alfred Juliano, the creator of the ugliest car in the world.

Aurora, ugly but safe

Incredible, and despite its unfortunate aesthetics, The Aurora incorporated security elements that at the time put it in the safest cars on the planet.. It has seat belts on all four seats, side anti-roll bars, telescopic steering column, padded instrumentation with no angles, and the front bumper is designed to absorb shocks.

Everything seems exaggerated in the Aurora design. And in some respects that was the result of really controversial solution. Its foam-shaped windshield, for example, is designed to prevent head impact in the event of a collision, although it distorts the view of the road ahead. And the most unusual: the front seats rotate 180 degrees on their axis to receive a hypothetical frontal impact from the rear.

Beyond its controversial aesthetic (at best), Father’s budget constraints have also hindered its development. In his press presentation in New York, dawn It was three hours late for the appointment because it had not been used for four years and the fuel circuit was clogged. It had to be pulled.

Alfred Juliano created his own company: Aurora Motor Company.

Alfred Juliano created his own company: Aurora Motor Company.

Making each unit of dawn in the company established by the Father at Branford, where he also exercised his priesthood, it was worth twelve thousand dollars. At that time, a Cadillac Eldorado, the most exclusive American car, costs approximately three thousand dollars. The equation ended Aurora’s dream: ugly, unreliable and overly expensive.

The end came quickly: Juliano did not receive any commission for his Aurora and his company went bankrupt. The vehicle was left in a workshop in Connecticut until it was discovered in 1993 by a British collector who knew of its existence and began a search.

The car was found in 1993 and returned.

The car was found in 1993 and returned.

He bought it and shipped it to the UK, where he spent several years restoring it. Aurora was back on the road at the 2004 Goodwood Festival of Speed ​​and has since been on display at the Beaulieu Motor Museum in the UK.

The priest Alfred Juliano was investigated into the source of the funds where he financed his automotive adventure. From the Church, they even accused him of using the donations of believers for his personal purpose and expelled him. Finally, it was verified that private monetary contributions were made with consent.

It is a pioneer in integrating several elements of security.

It is a pioneer in integrating several elements of security.

Until he died of a cerebral hemorrhage in 1989, and was saddened by the accusations, Juliano defended the honor of his project. In fact, he accused General Motors of filing complaints against him to avoid paying royalties for his developments. Little is recognized dawn of security advances promoted by its creator. The enormous aesthetic mistake resulted in his fatal sin.

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