The Glory of American (Classic) Automobile

Posted: January 15, 2008 in Vehicles

"American Dream", as seen in the vintage ads

Long gone
since the 80s (finished by gasoline prices and "imports" competition)
these dinosaurs still hold power over public imagination and true car
connoisseurs; their outrageous size and engine’s unbridled power give
off a statement of pure excess, and some wild optimism.

The world has moved on, but the vintage styling (transformed into a sort of "retro fantasy") is preserved by such sites as Plan 59
(former "Ephemera Now"). With their kind permission, we present the
AMERICAN CAR of the 50s and 60s AD RETROSPECTIVE, a showcase for
the American Dream of Happy Motoring.

We’ll start with the visualization of FUTURISTIC HIGHWAY, showing repair crews and driver-less lanes:

promise to post more futuristic highway images later, some from science
fiction pulp magazines – exciting visions of the world dominated by
cars and built for cars, with people as an afterthought.

mainstream car ads, however, painted more family-friendly picture, in
many cases just as removed from reality, but speaking to the
sensibilities of the era. It was not only an advertisement for a car,
but also for the goodness of American Family and whole American Way of
Life. No communist of 50s could see such pictures without the sinking
realization that they have lost the Cold War.

glamor of vintage car styling is most obvious when combined with the
glamor of the 50s and 60s era beauties (an approach that is entirely
missing from car advertisements today). Miss America would be expected
to pose with the latest luxury car, making an unforgettable statement.

standards of beauty has changed, together with the idea of what
constitutes a perfect automobile. The "glitz" and glaring excess of
American vintage cars would live on as an example of a dream, perhaps
never to be fully realized.

  1. Paul says:

    Thanks for all these lovely pictures!

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