Thursday, November 10, 2016

Vintage Bow-Tie Hauler

I get to thinking sometimes that I’ve been around so long that I’ve seen everything. Nothing new under the sun, nothing can surprise me. Occasionally, I am proven wrong about that. Rarely is it as spectacular as this. If you’ve been in the old car hobby for many years, decades maybe, you might get to thinking that you’ve seen it all. Thanks goes to Blindmarc for the tip!

But you have not seen it all, and as evidence to support that position, allow me to present Exhibit A:  One 1950 Chevrolet COE truck, coupled to a car carrier trailer which is loaded up and complete with not one, but four, rusty 1956 Chevy passenger cars.

The seller’s ad appears here on ebay. His opinion is that this setup would be great for drawing attention to a business, or as an ultimate expression of yard art. That is unassailable fact.

But there’s much more to it than that. Four rusty cars and a truck and trailer? Maybe to those eggheads at the county planning and zoning commission. To the true dyed-in-the-wool motor head, this is a heavenly, car spotter’s bliss. A non-rolling automotive Mecca, if you will. It would stop traffic and cause accidents. If there were a way to drag this mess to a car show, after awhile all the shiny-car owners would give up and go home in despair. They’d close their hoods, start their chrome-laden engines, idle slowly off the parking lot and drive away as the crowd surrounded….this.

Rusty treasure. The seller says they’re all non-restorable and have no titles, but frankly, who cares? Is there a title for the Parthenon? The Taj Mahal? The Statue of Liberty?

I often joke about “aggravating my neighbors” by bringing home some obnoxious new-old car. Clearly, this is the Holy Grail. If I could park it on my street in front of my house, even for just a day, they would then know who they were dealing with. Someone who has attained the status of least a demigod. They would surround me on their hands and knees and worship the ground I walk on and the lawn I park my cars on. They would throw small loaves of bread at my feet.  I’m not entirely sure why about that last part.

But back to reality. The seller’s $15,000 asking price is not enough. He has already lived the dream, and has recognized his obligation to now share the blessing with the rest of mankind.

The seller says the cars are complete with engines, transmissions and some trim parts, but are in rough condition. There are two four-door sedans, one two-door sedan Bel Air, and one four-door hardtop Bel Air. These details don’t matter, only the feeling of Zen that I get when I see it does.

s45677This beautiful, rusted offering is located in Wilson, North Carolina. The tip for the write-up came from Barn Finds faithful reader Troy W, to whom I am eternally grateful.


1957 Chevrolet Nomad

Click Here to read all about this 1957 Nomad and to view other pictures.


The Bloat Of Extravagance: Satire In Automotive Renderings

Among the automotive eras ripe for ridicule, a close second to the Seventies would have to be the Fifties. Postwar belt-loosening in the United States had, by the latter half of the 1950s, turned into an all-out bacchanal of chrome, fins, gizmos, multi-tone paint, and girth. And just as in any other time of excess, satirists leveled their pens at the trend with the aim, perhaps, of deflating it a little bit.
While most automotive designers of the mid-century period took themselves deadly serious, as we can see from our OldCarRenderings Tumblog – even when penning flights of futuristic fancy that had no hope of leaping from drawing board to real-life – Milwaukee-based industrial designer Brooks Stevens at least injected a little humor into his renderings. His most recognized satire rendering, above, titled “The Detroit Dilemma or ‘The Battle of the Bulge,’” managed to skewer just about every one of the Detroit Big Three by tacking together all the excess of the mid-Fifties into one design. There’s chrome gravel shields, chrome trim, chrome spears, chrome hood ornaments, chrome wheelcovers, big chrome bumpers, chrome fins, septuple-tone (or maybe octa-tone) paint, wraparound glass, and more. Funny enough, the rendering is dated January 1955 and so pre-dates the height of Fifties fin excess; just imagine what Stevens made of the cars of the latter two years of the 1950s.
satire_Kaiser_02Nor was “The Detroit Dilemma” Stevens’s only break from serious auto design, as we see from the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile and this pair of renderings of his that we came across while searching through the Milwaukee Art Museum’s collection. Described as Stevens’s vision for a driver’s education car, they were done for Kaiser-Frazer sometime in April 1951. Not sure exactly what sort of education the students would get in a car like this – especially those in the far back – but the pandemonium of nine 16-year-olds trying to steer all at once would make for at least a few minutes’ worth of entertainment.
satire_McCall_05 satire_McCall_01 satire_McCall_02satire_McCall_03 satire_McCall_04
Speaking of cars rendered to reflect mid-century excesses, we can’t forget to include New Yorker artist Bruce McCall’s atomic-era mutants. Though he never worked as an automotive designer, McCall did begin his career as an illustrator for auto ads – fertile ground for raising an artist bent on satirizing the big britches who built and bought such bulging behemoths. McCall collected most of his designs in a 2001 book, “The Last Dream-O-Rama: The Cars Detroit Forgot to Build, 1950-1960,” but his Bulgemobile ads (Fireblast! Flashbolt! Blastfire! Firewood!) appeared many times before then in the pages of National Lampoon. As Owen Schumacher wrote of the cars that McCall envisioned in his review of “The Last Dream-O-Rama:” “All these impossible cruisers, the author would argue, are the daffy, chromed-out expressions of an obnoxious Atomic Age: na├»ve, kitschy, wasteful, superficial, and even McCarthyan.”
Tex Avery might not have had the luxury of detail that static images afford, but his 1951 cartoon, “Car of Tomorrow,” perhaps best illustrated the ridiculous exaggeration many saw in mid-century cars. Casual sexism notwithstanding, Avery might have had some fun with the cartoon, but you can tell he also had a handle on automotive trends – and automotive anxieties – of the early 1950s, from pushbuttons to the exaggerated enormity of cars.
We’re sure there’s more such satirical takes on automotive design, whether concerning the mid-Fifties or other eras.