Pete’s PowerPoint Practice Art and the automobile—no matter how you slice it, no two are ever the same, in concept, design or intent. Which, of course, is where the fun begins. Above left, the Alexander Calder “Art Car” BMW. Other “Art Cars” were done by Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and others. At right is a Kustom (with a “K”) remake Of a Detroit classic, the 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham.
Foreign is always good, but let’s begin in Detroit, shall we? In the earliest days, the Italians had their influence, as evidenced By the Ghia Cadillac above, from 1950. The Americans, of course, wouldn’t fail to have their say.
Beauty is always something to behold, as we see. The “Jacqueline” Cadillac, from 1959 To 1961, depending on who you believe. The story goes that Pininfarina created 100, and one slipped off it’s pallet, and went to the bottom of the Detroit River. And ideas, it seems, were never in short supply, as this study for the ’59 Cadillac By design legend Raymond Loewy shows. Loewy, as you may recall, (or not,) penned a range of iconic Studebakers, from the Starlight coupe to the Avanti sports car.
So much time, so much to know How long has the idea of a better idea been with us? This Pierce-Arrow from 1936 gives us a little bit of an idea, but even it is not the ultimate brainstorm. “ Couture” cruising, it seems, is an idea almost as old as old money. This 1931 Pierce-Arrow, with it’s custom bodywork by LeBaron, was probably right at home, lined up next to Duesenbergs, Packards and Lincolns. And speaking of Lincolns…….
Along with Cadillac, Henry Leland formed Lincoln. Although, one can almost imagine that even he had no clue where his company would end up, as evidenced by this concept Continental from 1950. …… And who could have ever predicted that something like this 1955 Futura would spawn something as immortal and sinister as the 1960s Batmobile?! … Or that Ford would sell customizer George Barris the Futura for $1.00?!
More was on the way. More will ALWAYS be on the way. At left, another view of the ’55 Lincoln Futura. I have a print of this same picture from a Korean car magazine. Above is the 1955 Lincoln Indianapolis, Likely as not another Ghia creation. Ford bought Ghia for themselves, eventually.
Don’t be thinking this is the end….no sir! This custom-bodied Alfa from 1962 is proof of that. … ..And the experimental BAT series Alfas, (numbers 5, 7 and 9, from left to right,) were further proof of how Italian blood runs, as if that were in question.
Foreign applications, as we have seen, were not always foreign. I would call this Bertone-designed Ford Mustang from 1965 evidence of that. … .But not nearly in the way that this Pininfarina-designed Corvette from about the same time is. Yes, this is a Corvette.
Care to hazard a guess as to what this could be? (Hint—It’s not Italian—at least the carmaker isn’t.)
If you guessed the Bertone interpretation of the 1960s Porsche 911, you’re right! But even money says you didn’t guess that. The story goes that southern California racer and Porsche dealer Johnny von Neumann presumed to hypothesize about gaps in the Porsche line-up, including the conspicuous absence of a convertible 911. (There had, after all, been many variations of the 356 roadster.) Ergo, he commissioned Bertone to do a styling study. Porsche brass was unimpressed with the concept, citing it’s “un-Porsche-ness.”
On we go, although one never knows if that’s really good. I myself am not 100% certain about the idea of a 70s Cadillac Eldorado station wagon, but I never worked For GM styling, either. In fact, one might say the best ideas are best left to men who don’t have to think about volume, as this Pontiac Grand Prix Hurst/SSJ shows. (although the deftness of Bill Mitchell’s styling sense can’t be denied.)
And believe me, there never fails to be “odds and ends….” Race shops like Alpina never stop tinkering, so gems like this 2002Tii never go away completely. Nor will the impetus to get fast cars in the hands of all of us go away, as this Shelby GT350H, rentable from Hertz in the 60s proves. Old and new—yeah, yeah, that works….
And as much as I could go on, I’ll just stop with some pretties.