At the height of its popularity the Futuro was licensed to companies around the world to manufacture. The South African company was Futuro Enterprises PTY, presumably a new company formed specifically to produce the Futuro. They were based in Port Elizabeth, a large city on the east coast with a huge port.
At present there is no record of how many Futuro’s were manufactured in South Africa, but only one has ever been found in Port Alfred, about one hours drive from Port Elizabeth.
In super 8 footage from Matti Suuronen’s archive that is included in Taanila’s film a turquoise South African Futuro is featured, which although evidently in a different location to the Port Alfred Futuro, looks identical in distinguishing features. It is my assertion that only one South African Futuro was made as a ‘show home’, and that somehow it ended up in Port Alfred when the concept never took off.
The only other mention of a South African Futuro is of a roadhouse in Johanesburg that burned down in the 60’s, at a junction on Piering Road that still today is called Flying Saucer corner on traffic bulletins. A little bit of research reveals this building to look nothing like a Futuro, but quite like a UFO.
There have been two sightings of Futuro Houses in the UK. The first, when Futuro no. 002 came by ferry to be part of the 1968 trade fair Finn Focus, which received much media attention including this feature in the Daily Mirror who said “This object, looking like everyone else’s idea of a flying saucer from outer Space, is the Finnish idea of a perfect weekend cottage”.
The second Futuro in the UK was produced by the licensee Waterside Plastics, in Todmorden, Lanacashire as a show home to garner further orders with, but none were ever forthcoming, and nobody knows what happened to the building beyond the late 1970’s.
In April 2013 Futuro no.22 (so called because it was number 22 High St) in Port Alfred South Africa was dismantled ready for shipping to the UK. The relocation of a local icon was marked by the Port Elizabeth Herald paper on 11th May 2013.
Several weeks later it arrived safely, and is now the only Futuro house in the UK. The journey of restoring it to its former glory is now beginning…