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  A N N O T A T I O N S
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PASTELOGRAM is named in honor of the poet Marianne Moore, who was commission- ed by Ford Motor Co. in the 1950s to come up with names for its new mid-priced car. Among her suggestions: “Pastelogram,” “Turco- tinga,” “Silver Sword,” “Resilient Bullet,” “Utopian Turtletop” and the especially cryptic “Mongoose Civique.” Ford declined to use any of these and instead went with “Edsel.” The rest is history.



WE’VE HAD LOTS
of requests asking the Curator: “You’re so darn modest, we don’t know much about you. How about posting a picture or some biographical info? And have I told you about the time I was abducted by aliens?” Well, you get the idea. So here’s a little about our history.

FUN A LA MODE
The old Patent Office applications in the PatentRoom are a soft- serve lesson in history. New on the menu: Tees.


 

COME FLY WITH ME
The early aircraft designs on view at AdventureLounge will take you back, though maybe not all in one piece.



THE ART of Josh Agle. Martinis, girls, guns. Think James Bond meets Jetsons at a tiki bar in Palm Springs.



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   L I N K A T O R I U M
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PRELINGER ARCHIVE
CAR MANUAL PROJECT
AVOCADO MEMORIES
TV LAMPS
KITTY GIRL VINTAGE
IMPERIAL CLUB
1950s CARS IN NORWAY
WALTER MILLER
McLELLAN’S
IMAGINARY WORLD
RAY PATIN STUDIOS
LILEKS I.O.O.C.
SHAG ART
BUICKS.NET
PALACE OF CULTURE
KING OF THE ROAD
BROCHURES ON EBAY
STARBURST
FRANCISCAN OASIS
FRANCISCAN TRIO
SILVER PINE
SOCIETY of
   ILLUSTRATORS

ADVENTURELOUNGE
HOOKED ON JUICE
PATENTROOM

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2006

Old-School

With October just around the corner, we take a page from 1953 (because this is the October page from a 1953 calendar — take a page, yes?) for today’s lesson. On the left is Dilworth, Class of  ’57, wearing his freshman beanie, or “rat cap.” He’s been called to one of the Greek houses on the Tech campus to tutor an upperclassman we’ll call Moose. Moose is not doing too well in differential calculus. Will he see the light while it’s still dark out? Will Dilworth ever make it back to the Honors dorm? Coffee, please. 

From what we can tell about 1950s calendars after years of trolling eBay is that you had your cheesecake (pinups), your schmaltz (puppies, wide-eyed tots), a mixture of the two (Art Frahm),  scenics (mountains, flowers) and somewhere in the middle yet above it all, David Lockhart. His oil-company calendars are pearls in an ocean of dross. The ones we know about are for 1952, ’53 and ’54.

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2006

1960 Dodge Sweptline D-100

On hills or on the level, new Sweptline is a pick-up with savings built in! Savings in fuel  . . .  savings in time and trips  . . .  with a bigger cargo space than any pick-up in its league! Small wonder ’60’s smartest pick-up is also ’60’s smartest buy!

Smartest Trade of the Season

At home or away, this new Dodge Sweptline pick-up is a proven pro in any league. Its tight turning radius and impressive gear-before-axle steering let it wheel and turn like an infielder. Its husky Six or 200-hp V-8 engine gives it stuff to spare, even in the toughest action. And it is big in the box as well — with more load space to field cargo than any other pick-up in the park. See your Dodge truck dealer soon  . . .  find out how little it costs to make the smart trade that puts a Sweptline on your roster  . . .

Two more intriguing offerings by the anonymous illustrator whose Dodge truck ads were, if you ask us, the sleeper car art of 1960. A third example is here and a fourth is here.

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2006

Portrait of the Young Man as an Artist

This illustration for an Esso gasoline calendar — the September 1953 page — once graced the walls of Gunther Motors (Chevrolet sales and service) in Mendham, New Jersey, and was painted by David Lockhart. A self-portrait, perhaps?

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2006

The Full-of-Sun, Full-of-Fun Station Wagon

A Volkswagen DeLuxe Station Wagon, to be sure! It’s the growing American family’s pride and joy — roomy as can be — and carefree as the whole outdoors with sliding sun-roof, skylights and big picture windows. And with all this fun  . . .  Volkswagen quality, Volkswagen dependability, Volkswagen economy. Famous VW Service and Genuine VW Spare Parts available in all 49 states.

From late 1958, an illustration of the multipurpose vehicle known variously as the VW Bus, Vanagon and Euro Van, and marketed at the time in the United States as the Volkswagen Station Wagon.

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2006

All New All Over Again

From its saucy rear deck to its low-thrusting grille, the 1959 Chevrolet’s new in a decidedly different way. One look tells you here’s a car with a whole new slant on driving. You see the transformation in its low-set headlights, the overhead curve of its windshield, the sheen of its Magic-Mirror finish. But to discover all that’s fresh and fine you must relax in Chevy’s wider seats, feel the loungelike comfort of its new interior, experience the tranquillity of its ride (offering a choice of improved Full Coil or gentler-than-ever Level Air suspension). You Chevrolet dealer’s waiting now  . . .

After introducing a completely revamped Chevrolet and Pontiac for 1958, General Motors tossed the traditional three-year styling cycle out the window and fielded five lines of radically changed automobiles for 1959 — designs that set the template for big American cars that would last until the mid-1970s: long, low, wide and with the headlights set even with the grille instead of above it. Below: Dinah Shore and Pat Boone sing Chevy’s praises.

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 21, 2006

How Much Younger Would You Like to Be?

Before you decide, go to an Imperial showroom. Drive this thoroughbred. Find out how much younger you can feel. This car is not all style and elegance  . . .  lovely as it is. Imperial is spirit and challenge  . . .  and a buoyant eagerness you may have thought no car this size could show. Drive it at turnpike speed. Smooth as a canoe on a flat-calm pond. Quiet as moonlight. Set your Auto-Pilot and let it patrol your speed. Pound it over a rugged up-country trail. And think they must have worked on this road lately. Admire the elegant interiors all you like  . . .  but keep in mind Imperial is more than luxury and opulence. Imperial likes to work, loves to play — and, as youth often does, takes your admiration (and your neighbor’s) in its stride. And if you feel the red’s a bit too gay, select a hue that makes you just as young as you want to be.

Forty-eight years, please. And we’ll take the red.

Now First Choice Among Knowing People

It’s a marvelously exciting sight these days — to see the great Imperials pulling up before the nicest places. This remarkably beautiful motorcar has sent America’s tastes in a fresh new direction — and is now acclaimed as number one in styling. But that’s only the beginning. Take the wheel of the new 1958 Imperial, and ask it to do anything. Take the tightest curve, the swiftest stop. Float it into a parking space  . . .

An Americanized version of the European imperial eagle served as heraldry for the 1958 Imperial, an impressive car that Chrysler billed as being the “finest expression of the Forward Look.”

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2006

Turbo-Thrust Chevrolet

Your pride can’t help showing just a bit when you slide behind the wheel of this 1958 Chevrolet. You couldn’t be sitting prettier — and you know it. You’re in charge of one of the year’s most looked at, most longed for cars. Chevy’s crisply sculptured contours and luxurious interiors are enough to make anyone feel like a celebrity  . . .

Automotive styling reflects the interests of the day, and in 1958 two thematic preoccupations were aircraft (jets) and the space age (rockets). In the this illustration by Austin Briggs, the car is literally overshadowed by a swept-wing fighter; the parking lights in the grille are modeled on the twin-jet nacelles of a B-52 bomber.

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 2006

Twenty-Minute Boiled Dinner

Really, no need to have gone to all that trouble. Plus two more: Hamburger Heaven (or maybe not — this has been a recurring nightmare of ours for years; sometimes we’re chasing them, sometimes they’re chasing us) and the Grill of Our Dreams.

Just to amp up the retro flavor, background GIFs! Trés 1997. (Postprandial addendum: As Joan Auclair points out, the hors d’oeuvres are a lot more appetizing than the main dishes and deserve their own buffet. Or something like that. So dig in and bon appétit. The wonderful artwork, from 1958, is by Suzanne Snider.)

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 2006

Extra Special

In all 1956 SPECIALS — Sedans, Rivieras, Convertibles and the new low-price Estate Wagon, you enjoy a brand-new experience in big-car ride. In each model, you have your choice of Buick’s many fine options, such as Variable Pitch Dynaflow, Power Brakes, improved Safety Power Steering and the new 4-Season Airconditioner.

The 1956 Buick Special convertible, in two-tone white and red with red leather upholstery, all on an eye-popping red background.

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 2006

Ding-Dong

He’ll be at your door soon, and he wants gum. A treat from Halloween 1954.

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 2006

Night and the City, 1951

An atmospheric rendering for the cover of a sales flyer, printed in November 1951, promoting Chevrolet’s valve-in-head truck engines. This is just the kind of vision that would send us off to dreamland after a night ride in Dad’s car, circa 1962.

Gawked

We sure have gotten a lot of mileage out of the Demonic Tots. This Gawker post was originally illustrated with a pic of Spaghetti Boy but it seems to have gone away.

More Newspaper Ads

Six more, at the bottom of the list, taking us almost to Christmas 1957.

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 2006

Annals of Whimsy

So Trish says to the gang, let’s have a round of Scrabble, and she’s on her way over to the game table when she bumps into that nice Bill Mellon, who’s making popcorn in the fireplace, and the tiles fly all over the floor!  I tell you, we all just about died.

A 1957 illustration by Bernie Fuchs for Coca-Cola in the days before track suits and “loungewear,” when people wore actual clothes.

1959 GMC F 550

This tractor from GMC offered “picture-window visibility” as well as “luxury-type sponge rubber seat cushions” and “colorful two-toned interiors.” Whee.

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 2006

Stop the Presses

Today we start a new department, old newspaper ads. They were scanned from microfilm so the quality isn’t that great, but are fun nonetheless. These are about a third of the total in our files. Do we like? If so we’ll post the rest in the coming days.

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 2006

Plain Vanilla

Lots of happy people, exciting good things to eat: that’s Dairy Queen — serving luscious sundaes, melts and shakes with that famous country-fresh flavor. It’s clean and cheerful as Mom’s kitchen on a family holiday. This June 3,200 friendly Dairy Queen stores are celebrating their 20th Anniversary. Don’t miss the fun. Stop in for a wholesome, delicious Dairy Queen treat.

Like a lot of franchise operations at the time, Dairy Queen seems to have done very little national print advertising in the 1950s and 60s. This is one of only three full-page DQ ads we know of from that era, marking the chain’s 15th, 16th and, in this example from 1960, 20th birthday. The people all seem to have been snipped out of a clip-art book, but no matter. This picture takes us back. Way back.

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 2006

Go Olds ’60!

When you take the wheel of a ’60 Olds, you’ve found something great  . . .  and you know it!  You’ve found new beauty, new grace  . . .  a rocketing new pace that makes you want to get up and go places! Make your choice from Oldsmobile’s three famous series  . . .  the Dynamic 88, Super 88 and Ninety-Eight. Let yourself go for an Oldsmobile  . . .  at your local authorized Quality Dealer’s today!

The 1960 Oldsmobile Super 88, down around Monterey.

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, 2006

Let’s Get Primsical

This 1958 illustration for Coca-Cola by Stevan Dohanos, who painted many a cover for the Saturday Evening Post, shows a girl in a New England drugstore browsing postcards and three not very wolfish wolves browsing the girl. The cherry on this primly whimsical sundae is the nautical-themed scarf peeking out of her creel-themed purse. A jot more sugar and caffeine, and who knows what could happen?

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 8, 2006

Most Challenging New Car of Any Year!

Whatever that means. From 1952, the Mercury Monterey as rendered by Art Fitzpatrick and Van Kaufman just before they began their decades-long association with General Motors, illustrating Buick ads through the 1957 model year and then Pontiacs starting with the 1959 cars. The women in this mustard yellow convertible are the same ones you’d see swanning around AF/VK’s 1956 Centurys and Supers.

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 2006

The Car That Puts You First!

Here’s YOUR car — the new 1952 Mercury — designed for Your motoring comfort  . . .  engineered for Your driving ease and relaxation  . . .  precision-manufactured to give You the things you want most in the car you own. Its styling is smart, distinctive — the forerunner of cars of the future — with new “Jet-scoop” hood; bold, massive grille; proud, sweeping fenders. “Monopane” windshield and new “Interceptor” instrument panel — designed for “quik-sight” convenience — make driving much more fun  . . .

Successor to the “bathtub” Mercurys of 1949-1951, the 1952 cars abandoned center-opening “suicide” doors on sedans in favor of a more conventional front-hinged design. This picture from the sales brochure is a good example of what might be called the gas-station pastoral school of illustration. Love the brush lettering.

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 6, 2006

Variable Pitch Dynaflow

For 1957, Buick engineers have brought Variable Pitch Dynaflow to a brilliant new level of instant performance. Now you get such full torque, such quick response, and such complete flexibility in the “Drive” setting, that the need for “Low” has practically been eliminated. And when time and good judgment demand it, you can switch the pitch by flooring the pedal and call forth a brand-new safety burst of power like you’ve never known before. The new Variable Pitch Dynaflow is standard on ROADMASTER, SUPER and CENTURY, available at modest extra cost on the SPECIAL.

Buick’s torque-converter automatic transmission, called Dynaflow, was introduced for the 1948 model year as an alternative to Hydra-Matic, the fluid-coupling automatic drive developed by Oldsmobile and later used in Pontiacs and Cadillacs. Dynaflow (a simpler version, called Powerglide, was an option on Chevrolets) was known for smooth shifts but sluggish performance, so various engineering tweaks (dual and then triple turbines, variable-pitch stators) were employed, often at great expense, through the transmission’s 16-year lifetime to improve acceleration.

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 5, 2006

Roadmaster for 1957

Luxury keynotes ROADMASTER styling, ROADMASTER interiors, ROADMASTER travel — and it is luxury brought to matchless level. You will instantly note a smart new touch in Rivieras — two gleaming bands running from deck lid to windshield to accent ROADMASTER’S sweeping and distinguished profile  . . .

Those “gleaming bands” dividing the rear window on 1957 Buicks into three sections — a retro styling touch also found on Oldsmobiles — proved unpopular with car buyers (not to mention car critics), and were dropped for the 1958 model year. “Riviera,” Buick-speak in the 1950s for hardtop (pillarless) body styles, became the name of a separate model for 1963.

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 4, 2006

Newness for the Sake of Greatness

YOU WILL FIND that the advances of the 1957 Buick come not in any one place but in totality — not just in look but in engineering throughout. And the result is a car which transcends newness for itself to bring you to a great new level of American motoring. Here you see a brand-new kind of styling — sweepingly low in the sports-car tradition — yet wondrously roomier on the inside for six full-sized passengers  . . .

The 1957 Buicks (along with Oldsmobile and Cadillac) were, in the parlance of the day, totally new from road to roof, but the public couldn’t tell much difference from the 1956 models, and sales suffered accordingly. For 1958, GM abandoned the brand’s gradual yearly styling changes and skipped ahead to a design, originally envisioned for the 1959 car, that looked something like a waffle iron with tailfins. What a time it was!

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