Friday, June 3, 2016
Father Alfred Juliano's 1957 Aurora
Father Alfred Juliano had a keen interest in producing an automobile that would be billed as a safety car but hoped that people would be drawn to it for its style. His prototype was built on the chassis of a wrecked 1954 Buick Roadmaster. He spent several years and about $30,000 working on his dream car. He built a wooden buck and produced molds for the fiberglass body and formed the windows out of plexiglass.
His planned to introduce the Aurora to the media in midtown Manhattan. He announced that he would drive his safety car to the Hotel New Yorker on November 11, 1957 and would arrive there at 8:00AM. This was to be the first leg of a nationwide tour including 120 cities.
Unfortunately the ninety minute drive from Branford, Connecticut took eight hours. The car broke down fifteen times. In the three years spent building the car Father Juliano had never started it. Rust and water in the idle Buick's fuel tank repeatedly clogged the fuel line. The nationwide tour was not to be.
Questions arose concerning how some of the money earmarked for developing the Aurora was spent. Father Juliano was called to answer to the leader of his order and harsh words were exchanged. He subsequently left the order. He was never charged with any crime.
Father Juliano returned to Branford at some point and had the car taken to a shop for unspecified work but never returned to pick it up.
The Aurora was rescued from a field in Connecticut in 1993 and underwent a twelve year restoration by Andy Saunders. The car is currently at the Beaulieu Motor Museum in Beaulieu, Hampshire, England.
Photos of the restoration as well as the finished car can be seen here. The Special Interest Autos article on Father Juliano and the Aurora can be read here. Father Juliano's obituary is here.