Truly an one-of-a-kind machine
Before undertaking the ambitious design you now hold in your hands, automotive engineer Norman Timbs had honed his skills building Indy 500 racers and working for innovator Preston Tucker. That experience served him well as he commenced work on his Buick-powered Streamliner—a project that would take nearly three years and cost a reported $10,000 to complete—a heady sum in 1948! It was time and money well spent, however, as the car earned numerous accolades and considerable press coverage—including the cover story of the second ever issue of Motor Trend magazine in October 1949.
For obvious reasons much of the attention was focused on the gorgeous aluminum body—which Timbs had hand-formed using a wooden jig he built himself. But the beauty isn’t just skin deep. Timbs’ engineering talents can be seen when the rear half of the body is swung up on its hinges, exposing the custom tube frame chassis and independent rear suspension that utilizes Packard and Ford components. It’s a big car—the wheelbase is 117 inches and the overall length is more than 17 feet—but thanks to extensive use of aluminum it weighs just 2500 pounds. The powertrain is all Buick—a 1947 248 cubic-inch Straight 8-cylinder engine with twin carburetors producing about 125 horsepower—enough to push the lightweight Streamliner to 120mph. It’s mounted just behind the passenger compartment and ahead of the rear axle, making it a true mid-engine roadster at a time when that configuration was virtually unheard of, even among the race cars Timbs had built for Indy.
After languishing for decades in a California desert junkyard under scorching sun, the Timbs Streamliner was rescued in 2002 and comprehensive 7-year restoration process commenced. It made its show debut in March of 2010 at the Amelia Island Concours d’ Elegance where it claimed the RM Auctions Trophy for Best Open Car, the first of several post-restoration awards the car has earned.
Automodello celebrates the design and engineering achievement of Norman Timbs with this precision 1:43 replica. The Timbs Streamliner is being released in a limited edition of just 999 pieces. Additionally, there will be a highly exclusive 48-piece Tribute Edition to honor the 2nd Palm Springs owner – the perfect way to commemorate a truly one-of-a-kind machine!