Thursday, August 29, 2013

GM Motorama Showcased Dream Cars In The 1950's

1951 GM Le Sabre: Indisputably the most famous and influential concept car of the 1950s, the Le Sabre served as GM design chief Harley Earl's (pictured) daily ride for two years after it returned from the Motorama circuit.

1951 Buick XP-300: With a lightweight aluminum body and a supercharged 335-hp V-8 engine, it could hit 140 mph.

1953 Cadillac Le Mans: A low-slung two-seater created to commemorate Cadillac's run in the famous 24-hour race of the same name.

1954 Buick Wildcat II: It made use of a 322-cubic inch V-8, a year before the Corvette would move to eight cylinders.

1954 GM Firebird I: One of GM's wildest, most overtly jet-inspired visions of our motoring future, seating one.

1954 Pontiac Bonneville Special: This curvaceous version of the Chevrolet Corvette never saw production.

1956 Buick Centurion: Despite its transparent top and fiberglass body, this coupe predicted Buick's style into the 1960's.

1956 GM Firebird II: This version of GM's jet-inspired creation seated four.

1956 Oldsmobile Golden Rocket: A lightweight, fiberglass-bodied sports coupe with a 275-hp Rocket V-8 engine.

1959 Cadillac Cyclone: This rocket-styled roadster included a crash-avoidance system that used radar sensors mounted in the car's nosecones.

Before TV advertising really took off, General Motors designed futuristic concept cars to show off to the public at a series of lavish "Motorama" auto shows.

From 1949 to 1961, General Motors dazzled the public with its vision of our automotive future: Motorama. With singing, dancing and live music (not to mention free admission), Motorama auto shows were, in an era before TV advertising really took off, the ultimate corporate infomercial, drawing millions of wide-eyed car aficionados.

 Source: Reminise

Monday, August 26, 2013

What Is The Classic Car Capital Of The World?

Auburn, IN USA

Credit: Posted by Steve White on Sep 01, 2010 at

Auburn, Indiana is widely considered the "classic car capital of the world", and it lives up to its reputation by holding the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Festival on Labor Day weekend every year. This year, the festival is in its 54th edition, and it will be held from the 2nd of September to the 6th of September, 2010. More than 200,000 people from across the United States and other countries are expected to attend this grand and exciting festival.

The festival will feature lots of interesting classic car-related events, including a drag race, auctions, cruise-in, arts fair, and much more. The Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum will be holding extra events throughout the festival, including the 5th ACDA Museum Benefit Extravaganza, the Arts Show and Sale, the Connecting Rods Luncheon, and the Gala Ball for museum members. One of the highlights of the festival is the downtown cruise-in, which will attract more than 700 participating vehicles as well as thousands of spectators. Those who enjoy drag racing can attend The Ab Jenkins Memorial Duesenberg Exhibition of Speed and Stinson Fly-In, a thrilling drag race at the Kendallville Airport. Auctions that will be conducted during the festival include The Auburn Auction by Worldwide Auctioneers, Auctions America by RM, and Classical Event Auctions.

Other notable events that will be organized during the 54th Auburn Cord Duesenberg Festival include the ACD Parade of Classics, Cars and Guitars, Garage Cruise, Classic Car Masterworks, Motoring to the Square, Auburn Arts Fair, Brain Games, and others.
Source: Wiki/Answers

What Are British Classic Cars Called?


The word "Classic" is a derivative of the word "Class" which means a higher standard, something that has standards that others do not have.

Look at the E-Type Jaguar for example it oozes class. Or how about the Porsche 911 with its whale tail.

If the E-Type Jaguar was built to day it would still turn heads.

That's a "Classic Car".

"Vintage" (depending on where you are) usually denotes a car that is at least 30 or 40 years old. 
"Antique" is older than that (some jurisdictions have special licences for these types of car).

A "classic" car is generally one whose design, styling or performance was considered exemplary in its day, leading to collectors wating it. Some British classic cars would include the Jaguar XK120 and 150, the early MGs (the MGA for example), the Austin Healey 3000, many models of Bentley, Rolls Royce, Aston Martin, Morgan, the Sunbeam Tiger, etc.
Source: Wiki/Answers

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

GM Designer Paul Deesen, the Pontiac Strato Star, and Sebring 1957

Sketch by Paul Deesen
Paul was interested in cars for as long as he can remember. One day the shop manager at a local Pontiac dealership let him drive his beautiful MG TC home to show his mother in hopes of getting one for his High School graduation, but that didn’t happen. So the first thing Paul spent his money on while in the Army was a MG TD. He attended many sports car races in the east, including the Sebring 12-hour International race.

Paul graduated from Pratt Institute in June, 1954 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Design. He was hired by GM Styling after being interviewed by Bill Mitchell, and began his career in the Orientation Studio, then was moved to Pontiac Studio under Paul Gillan and worked on the Strato Star show car.

The Army interrupted his career. Paul was inducted into the Army in December, 1954 at Fort Dix. He was transferred to Ft. Knox and served as battalion photographer, in the 339 Corps of Engineers unit. He went through training at Ft. Eustis for Project Dewline West (Alaska and Canada), where he served as instruction cadre in cargo registration. On return from the arctic, Paul made a plaster scale model of the future site of the Jamboree at Valley Forge that they were to build. He served on a survey crew, as a photographer, and as a company orderly. Paul was discharged in December, 1956.

Paul returned to Styling in January, 1957 to orientation studio for short period. There he worked on Stingray proposals. Then back to Pontiac studio under Paul Gillan and later under Joe Schemanski, and worked on the ’59 Pontiac. He contributed to the front and side spear, wheel discs, and rear quarter treatment. Upon transfer to Pontiac, Paul quickly sold his MG TD and moved into a new 1957 Corvette.

In late ’57 Paul was transferred to Chevrolet under Claire MacKichan. He worked on ’60–’63 Chevrolets, contributing to new fronts, side, and rear end treatments, front end panels and décor for the Corvair, and minor Corvette grille changes. He was credited for the ’61 front, the ’62 rear, and the ’61 Corvair front.

Your cars of tomorrow are being designed at Pontiac today.

In ’61 Paul moved to Buick under Bernie Smith. There he contributed to the ’63 Electras, LeSabres, and the compact Buick Skylark. Buick studio was taken over by Dave Holls. Paul also contributed to Riviera, Electra LeSabre, and the new Skylark designs.

Paul was promoted to Asistant Chief Designer in ’62 and transferred into Pontiac Studio under Jack Humbert for the ’64–’67 programs, including the new GTO option for LeMans, the B-body Catalina, the Grand Prix, the A-body LeMans, and the X-400 show car.

He was again transferred to Moved to Buick in 1965, as Assistant to Dave Holls. He worked on the new Electra, LeSabre, Wildcat, Skylark, and GS models. Buick Studio was taken over by Don Lasky. Paul was moved to Studio X for a while to work on the ’67 Firebird lead-in.

Source: Internet

Harley Earl’s 1951/1954 Le Sabre

51buick_lesabre_14_large Photo of the original 1951 version of the car.

Leading up to Germany’s 1939 invasion of Poland, certain high members of the Third Reich were flaunting their national pride and power by using a visual cross-reference language or techniques to mesmerize the German public. Politics combined with modern Teutonic engineering ingenuity had never been successfully employed like this before. Germany’s racing propaganda machine was the Mercedes Benz W125, arguably Europe’s most futuristic pre-war sports car. Special notice was taken in Detroit’s auto capital, and Harley Earl vowed to deliver a triumphant message all of his own someday.

The original 1951 version of the car.

When things were settling down in Europe following the war, one of America’s most legendary innovators created a clever comeback in the form of an automobile (according to the Car of the Century website, the Le Sabre was started in July, 1946). Originally planned as a super streamlined car, the Le Sabre comprised more variations on a theme than Bach ever dreamed of—all of which were aimed at winning over a world audience. In the best-selling booked titled, The Fifties, David Halberstam wrote, “Other GM execs drove Cadillacs, but Early drove the Le Sabre, a highly futuristic car he himself had designed; the cost to the company of building this prototype was estimated at roughly $7 million. It is possible that no one exerted as much influence on American style and taste in the fifties as he.”

 The 1954 version of the car with front end design modifications to improve cooling, and the skirts removed.
 The 1954 version of the car with front end design modifications to improve cooling, and the skirts removed.

While this radical concept car had many purposes, the most intriguing one was never publicized. The Le Sabre’s emblem was a flipped Mercedes Benz tri-star logo, surrounded in a bull’s-eye like center target—blending in America’s color of red, white, and blue. Along with the elegant French name symbolizing strength, the Le Sabre was complete. The inverted Mercedes star as a visual hook was truly mysterious, to say the least, as were most of the Le Sabre’s touches. Every one sent out spooky effects to all of its viewers. It’s no doubt the wizardry  was intended to remind the new world community of America’s supremacy and future direction, which of course was opposite of Germany’s pre-war view. Also, in a subtle way, this one automobile clearly pointed out the world’s greatest automaker, too, as well as showing Le Sabre was the most influential car, ever. In terms of numbers and fiance, it is the most expensive car built to date, but because of certain reasons, one being Earl’s secretive nature, this fact has been left largely unexamined. On top of all of this, Harley Earl named Le Sabre as his inspirational muse when originally conceiving his American sports car, the Corvette.

1951 and 1954 Le Sabre photos:

The original 1951 version of the car.
Source: Internet

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Jeff Gold’s Rescued Studio Art Collection

Rendering by Pete Wozena

About Jeff’s Collection: “I began collecting after reading car designer biographies and seeing styling art published in Collectible Automobile Magazine during the mid 1980′s. By contacting retired designers, I found that some were willing to give or sell pieces from their portfolios. I always had a deep interest in automobile design history, especially GM, and was fascinated with the designers stories, especially the early days with Mr. Earl and Mitchell. I read everything I could find and interviewed many people in the design field over the years. Chuck Jordan and most of the designers I met were supportive of my efforts and agreed this art was special and should be saved, I cherished it. After some time, I found a small network of like-minded collectors to trade and share information with. Much of the art from the Earl/Mitchell eras has been lost and it’s rare today to find much of anything, I continue to look and remain interested in adding to my collection.

Source: Internet