Wednesday, May 18, 2005

When I Was a Kid . . .


. . . cars used to look like this. Posted by Hello

I wish they still did. The economics of car production and ownership changed it all.

That sexy 1957 Nash Ambassador Custom in the picture bespoke the exuberance of the 1950s. From the white-on-red paint to the gleaming chrome grille and bumpers, this is a car that reflected 1950s post-war prosperity. Let a two-tone paint scheme replace the old-fashioned single color. And forget Henry Ford's earlier admonition that you could have your car in any color you wanted, so long as it was black. If one headlight per side was necessary, then let's do the unnecessary and double the number. And if airpower helped win the war, then let's make our cars look as if they stand ready to take off and fly at our command. What a driveway decoration!

Today's bland, boring, look-a-like cars speak of not much other than decades of government safety regulation and fuel economy standards. Chrome is out because it weighs down a car. Plastic is in because it's light, and the weight saved marginally improves fuel economy.

Because of preservationists we can still see the old beauties. On special weekends, they're trotted out of the suburban three-car garages where they slumber most days. Their engines are fired to life as they get the chance to once again travel the open road. Today's cars should be so lucky 50 years from now.

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