A picture from the Washington State Archives. A fall of a 1951, a runway with a four state of the art machines of its times. On the far left is a 1911 Mercer Raceabout, in the middle a 1951 Buick XP-300 concept car and on the right is a 1914 Mercer Raceabout. On a background are a Lockheed F-94A Starfire jet fighters. These four has some interesting facts about them.
A Mercers were the high-performance sports cars built by a Mercer Motor Cars from 1909 to 1925. These cars were amongst the first of its kind – a dedicated race cars.
A Buick XP-300 concept was a child of a Charles Chayne, a GM vice-president for engineering. This very Chayne had worked together with a famous car designer Harley Earl on a first Buick concept car – a 1938 Buick Y-Job. Chayne’s built XP-300 had a looks of a sports car and had influenced a GM car design of a half of a ’50s. XP-300 had a heat-treated aluminium body which reduced an overall weight and a supercharged 335-hp aluminum V8 engine that used a methanol\gasoline mix as a fuel. XP-300 was a first car to have what later will be known as a tail fins. Not to mention a seats and side windows which is controlled by a push-buttons. A XP-300 was greatly influenced the car design of the 1950s and could be seemed as a prototype car for a Buick 1954 model year.
As for the Lockheed F-94A Starfire – it was developed from a P-80 Shooting Star to fulfill a role of a first radar-equipped jet interceptor. It was also a first US jet fighter which utilized an afterburner.
There were three models – A and B – with a minimal differences from each other, mainly the size of a cockpit, a canopy and a few flight systems. And a C model, which was essentially a deep modification of a B model, with new firing control system, radar, upgraded wings, more powerful jet engine and armament. In the trend of a time an F-94C was armed only with a FFAR rockets instead of a machine guns. You could always tell a difference between F-94A-B and F-94C – a big nose cone, like on F-86D Sabre Dog. It was such because of a size of a firing system, radar equipment and a rocket launchers.
This F-94A s\n 49-2534 was assigned to a 317th Fighter Interceptor Squadron (part of an Air Defense Command, 25th Air Division) which is in 1951 had a McChord Field in Washington as its home base. Seems that photo was the last one for this aircraft because in January of a 1952 it crashed near Naval Ordnance Test Station China Lake, after running out of fuel.
As it seen behind the Mercer on the left there’s another F-94A, s/n 49-2576. It was assigned to a 318th Fighter Interceptor Squadron (also part of a 25th Air Division). This Starfire crashed in 1952 near Larson Air Force Base due to engine failure.
Buick XP-300 is preserved in a Sloan Museum, Flint, Michigan.
More info about photo, Buick and aircraft: