Art and the Automobile: Peter Stämpfli

James Kraus

JK - 1 (24)

Ma Voiture, 1963. Oil on canvas. Simca 1300.

Since Auto Universum focuses on the 1960s, it is little wonder that we harbour a fondness for Pop Art, the leading movement of the decade. One Pop proponent was Swiss artist Peter Stämpfli who early in his career found inspiration in the automobile.  Continue reading

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1968: The Times They Were A Changin’

James Kraus

68A

38th Geneva Motor Show poster, 1968.

The calendar still said 1960s but by 1968, it seemed like a different decade. The world was a very dissimilar place than it was in say, 1966. Changes and undercurrents that had been brewing since mid-decade exploded. The U.S. suffered through a second year of mass racial unrest, two political figures were assassinated, rioting broke out at the Democratic National Convention, and college campuses sustained over forty arson attacks and bombing incidents. France suffered through the Mai 68 civil unrest and general strikes that brought the country to a virtual standstill, and Germany saw the first attack by what was to become known as the Baader-Meinhof Gang.  Continue reading

The Germans Aren’t Just Cutting Corners On Emissions…

James Kraus

JK - 1 (18)

U.S.-spec 718 Boxster. Is the driver braking? Turning? Who knows? Who cares? Porsche doesn’t; but you should.

Everywhere outside of North America, rear turn indicators are required to be amber in colour. This is due to extensive research going back decades demonstrating amber conclusively outperforming red in terms of recognition time. The latest studies by the NHTSA in 2008 and 2009 show a significant reduction in collisions when vehicles are equipped with amber rear indicators (assuming of course that drivers actually use them.)   Continue reading

1968: U.S. Lawmakers Introduce Automotive Safety Standards

James Kraus

Unsafe At Any Speed, Ralph Nader. First Edition; November, 1965.

Fifty years ago, new 1968 autos sat glistened in showrooms across America. These were a bit different from previous new cars; for the first time in history their design was heavily influenced by U.S. government regulations. New federal legislation required reductions of harmful vehicular emissions, and increased safety for drivers and passengers. Today Auto Universum looks back at the history of automotive safety design and the background of the numerous safety features that greeted new U.S. car buyers in 1968.  Continue reading

1968: U.S. Lawmakers Impose Limits On Automotive Emissions

James Kraus

1964 Chevrolet Impala.

Fifty years ago, new 1968 autos began appearing in showrooms across America. These were a bit different from previous new cars; for the first time their design was heavily influenced by the U.S. government. New federal regulations covered two key areas of automotive engineering with twin goals in mind: a reduction of harmful vehicular emissions and increased safety for drivers and passengers. Today Auto Universum looks back at the early years of emission reduction.  Continue reading

Art and the Automobile: The VW Beetle Sculptures of Ichwan Noor

James Kraus

JK - 1 (9)

Beetle Sphere, Ichwan Noor, 2015

The VW Beetle has probably appeared in more artwork than any other vehicle. In 2011, Indonesian sculptor Ichwan Noor added to the Beetle’s catalogue raisonné when he began a series of lifesize full-scale VWs transformed into to perfect spheres and cubes.   Continue reading

American Muscle? Step Up To 1960s American Glamour.

James Kraus

JK - 1 (21)

Don Draper in his Starlight Silver 1965 Cadillac Coupe de Ville.

One of the few value segments of the vintage car market is what Auto Universum calls American Glamour. A lack of enthusiasm for refinement and elegance has kept prices subdued, a welcome state of affairs waiting to be exploited by those who with a taste for the good life.  Continue reading