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GM Ultralite Concept Car

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Lately on cable the movie "Demolition Man" (1993) has been playing a lot. I've alawys liked this movie, (1) because it's a movie based in the future, and (2) because all of the vehicles in it are from GM (what a future!). It's not the greatest movie of all time and some of it's plot is a little "too out there" for realism, but I find it to entertain me well enough.

Anyway, I've always wondered where all of the GM Ultralites came from as featured in the movie. Many are police cars, but if you look close enough you'll see some "civilian" versions driving around. That and the fact that one civilian version is used in the "Bicentennial Man" (1999) and "A.I. - Artificial Intelligence" (2000) movies made me want to look for any information about them on the Internet. Here's what I found:

How Many Ultralite Concept Vehicles Were There

I was there


GM's Ultralite Concept Vehicle

In 1991, legendary action-adventure film producer, Joel Silver was casually scanning a automotive magazine when he came upon what he thought would be the ideal vehicle for his upcoming project Demolition Man. Set in Los Angeles in 2032, Demolition Man was to star Sylvester Stallone, Wesley Snipes and Sandra Bullock in an action-adventure feature. The vehicle was the GM Ultralite concept car. The Ultralite featured a totally carbon-fiber body, 3 cylinder direct injection gas engine a host of other light-weight features that help it reach 100 miles per gallon at 55 miles per hour.

After many discussions between Silver Pictures, Warner Brothers and GM, the decision was made to utilize not only the Ultralite, but 17 additional GM concept vehicles in order to add an authentic automotive component to the films futuristic look and feel. Silver Pictures and Warner Brothers quickly dispatched a production team to Detroit to see the vehicles first hand. After reviewing GM’s large fleet of drivable concept vehicles, the production team selected the vehicles they would utilize so they could be serviced and made ready for their upcoming work in the film.

The production team also brought with them a significant challenge. To meet the film’s goal of having a realistic future automotive environment, the production company would need at least 20 Ultralites. Some of them would be utilized as ordinary passenger cars while others would be transformed into police vehicles. To make the challenge even more interesting, we learned that some of the Ultralites would be destroyed. After all, this was an action-adventure film. GM had exactly one Ultralite and we were not interested in seeing it destroyed.

The great thing about working with the wonderful creative people in the film industry is they can make a mockup of just about anything a person could name. Within a few weeks, we had agreed to ship the Ultralite body molds to Burbank and where Warner Brothers would set up a small scale facility to build the required 20 vehicles.

They would be constructed of fiberglass, utilize plastic windows and have a small gas engine for motive power, but they would look for all the world like real Ultralites. Driving unpainted, unlicensed futuristic concept cars around the streets of Burbank on durability tests, is one of those experiences that one does not forget.

Even the Burbank police helped out with the project. They are very accustom to seeing all manner of strange things coming out of the studios. They would pull over to ask if we need them to assist with traffic management when we would take out one of the clones.

In the end, more than 20 Ultralites of various configurations were built for Demolition Man. In addition, many repair parts were built to keep the Ultralite fleet in tip-top shape during the filming. After filming was completed, several civilian and police Ultralite clones were returned to Michigan to become part of GM’s concept vehicle fleet.

More pictures:


Ultralite Police Clones on set


Unfinished Ultralites in Burbank Factory


Preparing for a real-world test drive


Ultralite civilian clone vehicles standing by on the set - waiting for filming to begin

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The information and pictures shown above were found at the following link:


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