While aerodynamic efficiency was occasionally a consideration in the design of road cars as early as the 1920s, it was only from a perspective of achieving reduced air resistance. Interest in generating aerodynamic downforce did not manifest itself until the 1960s. Not surprisingly, experimentation and development first occurred in the competition arena.
Koni adjustable damper at the front of a Porsche 356C
One of the disparities in the automotive lexicon is the term bestowed upon the damper/shock absorber. In Germany and the majority of the English speaking world, it’s a damper. In the U.S., France, Italy and Spain, it’s a shock absorber. Deciding which is the more correct designation depends to a large degree on the era under discussion.
CIA agents Felix and Johnny in pursuit of Goldfinger henchmen Oddjob and Solo
The 1964-1966 Thunderbird has the rare (though not unique) distinction of appearing in not one, but two James Bond films. Its first appearance was in Goldfinger, the Bond film more remembered among automotive aficionados for the debut of 007’s Aston Martin DB5. Goldfinger marked another milestone as well; it was the first of the series to feature automobiles officially provided for promotional consideration.
American appliance manufactures began upgrading and stylizing their wares in the 1950s to add Jet Age glamour to the heretofore humble workhorses of the household. The movement gained extra momentum in 1953 when Frigidaire introduced the first popular-priced appliances available in colour finishes. As an alternative to traditional white, buyers could now opt for Stratford Yellow or Sherwood Green. Other manufacturers responded with their own special palettes, and in short order all major kitchen appliances were being produced in a rainbow of colour from pastel pink to charcoal grey.
Art Fitzpatrick and Van Kaufman at Art Center College of Design, Los Angeles, California, 1965
During the 1960s, Pontiac brochures and advertising were dominated by dramatic illustrations created by the team of Art ‘Fitz’ Fitzpatrick and Van Kaufman. These lush images depicted scenes of glamour and sophistication populated by suave, cosmopolitan and well-attired individuals, always accompanied by a larger-than-life Pontiac with shimmering chrome and glistening paintwork.
These were images that the aspirational car buyer could fantasize inserting himself into, and they nourished the idea that maybe he himself could gain access to this beautiful and exotic world if he went out and bought a new Pontiac.
1967 Ford Thunderbird Four-Door Landau in Raven Black with Black Levant Grain vinyl roof
The new car market today is rife with the latest body configuration; the Four-Door Coupé. The Mercedes-Benz CLS and Volkswagen CC have recently been joined by the BMW Gran Coupé and more examples are likely on the way.
The contemporary four-door coupé first appeared in the form of the aforementioned Mercedes-Benz CLS in 2004. Based on the E-Klasse platform, it was sheathed in more flamboyant sheet metal than the standard four-door models and featured coupé-style unframed door glass with an overall height reduced by about 6 cm (2.5”). This has been the general formula for its later progeny.
The four-door coupé concept is not really new; this body style enjoyed a brief reign of popularity several decades ago.