The Buick Centurion XP-301 debuted at the 1956 Motorama. Perhaps its most visionary feature was a rear-mounted camera with a view screen embedded in the dashboard (making rearview mirrors unnecessary). The Centurion’s aerodynamic body and transparent top matched its stunning interior, which was upholstered in brilliant Elektron Red leather. The steering wheel was mounted aircraft-style on the wide, flat arm of a column that cantilevered out of the dash. An exterior chrome-plated strip—the “Sweepspear”—became a Buick trademark. Twin air scoops directed outside air to passengers. The tapered tail evoked a jet aircraft exhaust outlet.
Many of the Centurion’s advanced features found their way onto production Chevrolets and Buicks as early as 1969, and the pointed tail became a hallmark of Buick’s third-generation 1971 Riviera coupe.