1967: End Of An Era

James Kraus

JK - 1 (2)

Opened in Montreal Canada on 27 April, Expo 67 proved to be the most popular World’s Fair of the 20th Century

1967 proved to be the pivot point in the 1960s. Around midyear, during the Summer Of Love, the decade began segueing from the elegance and avant-garde aesthetics of the early years to the more tumultuous cultural and stylistic trends associated with the end of the decade. Continue reading

The 1960s New Look

James Kraus

JK - 1 (8)

The New Look: 1960 Chevrolet Impala

In the early decades of motordom, front grills stood tall and proud, reflecting the proportions of early radiators. Headlamps, originally housed in separate housings, began being integrated into the cars design in the late 1930s. Nevertheless, grills and headlamps remained separate elements with the exception of Peugeot, which placed the headlamps near the centre of the car, behind the grill.  Continue reading

Life in the Jet Age

Today Auto Universum unveils a new tabbed page that examines the exciting and glamorous world of the Jet Age 1960s, from its roots in the mid-fifties though its gradual demise in the waning years of the decade.

It’s a lengthy 2800-word treatise, so don’t try and take it in now. Wait until tonight when you can pour yourself a Manhattan, Martini or Old Fashioned, slip into your smoking jacket, cue up some Mel Tormé or Tom Jones and savour it at leisure.

Access it with this link, or via the permanent new tab on the menu bar.

Jet Age Design: The Aurora Clock

James Kraus

Aurora Clock. Kirsch, Hamilton, Corchia, and de Harak, 1970

Mankind has been using light to tell the time since the days of ancient Egypt. While early shadow clocks and sundials utilized light and shadow, a new clock was developed in 1970 that displayed the time using coloured artificial light generated by rotating polarization filters.  Continue reading

Art and the Automobile: Conmemorando el SEAT 600

James Kraus

JK - 1 (15)

Monumento al SEAT 600, 2008

While many nations have seemingly all but forgotten specific examples of their automotive heritage, Spain is a notable exception.

Spain’s SEAT 600; a licensed duplicate of the celebrated Fiat 600, was the second automobile to be manufactured by Sociedad Española de Automóviles de Turismo.  Continue reading

Things Go Better With Coke

James Kraus

JK - 1 (15)

Vintage scale model Coca-Cola cab-over delivery truck

The Coca-Cola Company adopted Things Go Better With Coke as their new advertising tagline in 1963. It then became a jingle, performed by leading pop acts of the decade including Jan & Dean, Tom Jones, Petula Clark and The Supremes.

At the same time, automotive designers were thinking that maybe things went better with a Coke shapeContinue reading

New Crop of “Luxury” SUVs Miss the Mark

James Kraus

JK - 1 (20)

Bentley Bentayga

The staff ensconced here atop Auto Universum Tower has no love for SUVs; they are clunky, ill-proportioned and have to be climbed into. Once ensconced, one’s melon is tossed left and right, forward and back like a bobblehead doll due to the vertiginous seating position. When parked, they block pedestrian sightlines, turning sidewalks into tunnels. Nevertheless, when we gaze down upon the busy streets far below, they seem quite common now, and have recently been cause for mirth here at the office.  Continue reading

Was Someone at GM Design a Mannix enthusiast?

James Kraus

jk-1-10

Mannix opening title sequence

Oldsmobile’s Toronado debuted in autumn of 1966 as America’s first post-war front wheel drive automobile. Just a year later CBS Television introduced a new prime-time detective series; Mannix, featuring Mike Connors as Joe Mannix, an operative of the sophisticated Intertect Detective Agency in Los Angeles.  Continue reading