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A show car, sometimes called a dream car, is a custom-made automobile created specifically for public display, rather than sale. They are shown at auto shows and other exhibitions. Show cars can either come from car companies or from private individuals.

Corporate show cars generally fall into one of three categories:

Privately owned show cars are cars extensively cared for by their owners primarily for the purpose of entering car shows and can be production models or custom-made.


The creation of show cars dates back to at least the 1920s, but reached its zenith in the United States in the 1950s, when most major U.S. automakers began to exhibit wild, fanciful dream cars. The preeminent dream car maker was GM, which displayed its work at a series of traveling Motorama shows, mounted at great expense and attracting much publicity. In the 1960s American show cars became substantially more mundane, slight variations on typical production models (with exceptions like Chevrolet's Mako Shark prototype). The practice of building them fell on hard times during the 1970s, when automotive whimsy was a low priority compared to safety, emissions control, and fuel economy. The practice was revived in the 1980s, and remains strong today both in the U.S. and abroad.

See also