April 11, 2013
Taking a break from my TRUTH/DARE seminar I’m preparing for this Sunday, I spent last Saturday at the auto fair with a friend. I’ve loved classic cars for as long as I can remember. The era these cars represent is a time period we can only imagine or watch in movies.
Did you know the history of the auto dates back to the late 1600’s when a small steam powered toy vehicle was designed? Then in the late 1700’s the first vehicles capable of carrying people were made. Using the box style wagon design, for lack of any futuristic concepts to draw upon, these early vehicles were at least functional for transporting folks from one destination to the next. Hard to believe that was over 200 years ago.
Yet, once the auto industry took off car designs changed dramatically over the years as enthusiastic imaginations added rounded body styles, belts with buckles, and where to put what, like how many mirrors did a car need. In 1953 when the first Corvettes hit the market they had rear view mirrors mounted on the dash, which we might consider weird, but for taller folks it actually removes the mirror from creating a blind spot in the windshield; a great concept even for today.
Now think van/truck, sort of like the car/truck El Camino. There were two vehicles there that I at first thought the back of a van had been cut out. Actually, it was a truck except the cab resembled a van. The ’62 Chevrolet Corvair Rampside had a side loading door which dropped down and doubled as a ramp. What a novel idea. Why don’t they make trucks with that option today?
1959 Chevrolet Impala
Actually, there were so many cars it was mind boggling. I even saw two cars I’d never heard of before. One was Italian and sort of attractive if you imagined the front and rear on different cars; because they sure didn’t go together. I don’t remember the other one. Even’s Elvis’ 1956 Lincoln Continental Mark II was being shown. Not sure if Elvis was spotted anywhere but even if he’d materialized the stars of the show were definitely the brightly colored vehicles with barely a color in the spectrum being overlooked.
In cars, my faves are the 1959 Pontiac Bonneville and the 1959 Chevrolet Impala. There’s just something about fins and bat wings that appeals to the artist in me.
Elvis’ 1956 Lincoln Continental Mark II
They weren’t designed with aerodynamics in mind, but they sure looked as if they could take off and fly. Of course, those older models had such a long chassis they’d probably float instead. A friend calls them land yachts. And you should have seen the big block engines, I believe I actually swooned. All that chrome sparkling like diamonds, only better. Wowzer! Even met someone selling ‘amazing’ wax products, so I asked him if he had anything I could rub on my car and turn it into a Porsche, he said “Sure,” I said I’d take a bottle!
Truth be told, I’m a pick-up kinda gal and ewwed and awwed over the ‘50’s model step sides. You gotta love their personality! Yep, I can see me tooling around town in a ’57 Chevy step side with the dogs hanging out the passenger window. Dickens, I’d make up errands to run, just to give them a ride.
Sigh, they sure don’t make cars like that anymore. Unfortunately, all cars are looking alike these days. At a glance you can hardly tell the difference between the new Camaro and Charger. Both have lost their personality and the only similarity to their esteemed predecessors is their name. Back in the day, classic and muscle cars simply had more pizzazz with ribbed chrome trim, windshield visors, corner windows, suicide doors, large steering wheels, white wall tires, ribbed seats and more. Dickens, if you ever get a chance to go to a car show, big or small; take it. It’s a walk back in time leaving you with an appreciation for style, flair and ingenuity.
Can you imagine...loading a pickup truck from a side ramp?
Smile, you’re a classic!
Editor’s note: Bobbi G will be speaking this Sunday at 1pm in Newton. See the ad on page 13 this week! It’s FREE to attend!
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