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

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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

The Swinging Sixties: A Rainbow of Wheels and Technicolor Tyres

James Kraus

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1967 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 396 with Marina Blue metallic body-colour wheels and F70-14 special nylon Red Stripe Firestone Super Sports Wide Oval tyres

The majority of today’s cars today come equipped with black tyres surrounding wheels (or wheel covers) of silver, grey or black. This was not always the case; brightly coloured wheels were a common automotive styling fillip beginning with the 1886 Benz Patent-Motorwagen.   Continue reading

The Cars of James Bond: Ford Country Squire

James Kraus

jk-1-16

Oddjob drives 007 to Goldfinger’s Kentucky stud farm

In Goldfinger we see James Bond held captive and transported by Auric Goldfinger’s cohorts via a 1964 Ford Country Squire station wagon.

Prior to the introduction of the Country Squire in 1950, American estate models were sold as generic Station Wagons or Estate Wagons. The Country Squire was the first ever U.S. station wagon to merit its own name.   Continue reading