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

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

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

The Swinging Sixties: A Rainbow of Wheels and Technicolor Tyres

James Kraus

JK - 1 (22)

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

1960s Fastback Fashion

James Kraus

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1965 Plymouth Barracuda

Coincident with the rise of the Fab Four in the 1960s was the popularity of the fab fastback.

While a sleek sloping roofline was integral to the design of many overtly sporting machines including the Jaguar E-Type, Corvette Sting Ray, Porsches, countless Ferraris and others, there were few to be found on more spacious transport since the demise of the Bentley Continental S1 in 1959.   Continue reading

Return of the Boomerang

James Kraus

JK - 1 (6)

1958 Edsel Roundup

History has remembered the 1958 Edsel lineup chiefly for its novel styling. While most recall the vertical Alfa Romeo-esque front grill and maybe the eyebrow-shaped rear tail lamps, an all-but-forgotten Edsel styling flourish was the inward-facing boomerang tail lamp design found on the Bermuda, Villager and Roundup station wagons.   Continue reading

1960s: The Ascent of Black

James Kraus

JK - 1 (49)

1965 Chevrolet Impala with black Super Sport rear deco trim

The latter half of the 1950s was a jubilant, optimistic era when life was comfortable and the future looked bright. In Britain, post-war food rationing was lifted, France was in the midst of Les Trente Glorieuses and Germany was celebrating Wirtschaftswunder. In the U.S., Wall Street, Madison Avenue, Abstract Expressionism, Modernist architecture and Cool Jazz made New York the global focal point of both art and commerce.   Continue reading

Clear Tail Lamps: The Height of Automotive Fashion… Fifty Years Ago

James Kraus

JK - 1 (6)

1965 Cadillac Calais

Clear tail lights are quite popular today and appear on several new models as standard or optional equipment from the Toyota Prius to the Porsche 911 and Aston Martin Vantage. Many people mistakenly believe they were introduced in 1998 with the debut of the Toyota Altezza (Lexus IS) although the Toyota actually only had conventional tail lamps covered by clear acrylic; the design did not conceal the underlying red filter lenses. Clear tail lamps, like so many automotive technologies, actually first surfaced in the 1960s. Many of them were more sophisticated than some recent examples.   Continue reading

The Corvair Line: Styling Sensation Of The 1960s

by James Kraus

JK - 1 (58)

Chevrolet Corvair 700 Sedan

The Corvair Line is an accent line that circumnavigates the entire vehicle, front, sides and back, visually dividing the body into upper and lower sections. It can rise and fall, curve and bend, but must be unbroken, with neither beginning nor end.   Continue reading

The Golden Years

by James Kraus

JK - 1 (62)

1960 Ford Starliner. A touch of gold lends a lustrous sparkle of Jet Age swank

Since the dawn of the first horseless carriages, automobiles have been accented by shimmering metallic highlights. The earliest period of motoring is in fact popularly known as the Brass Era due to early radiators, acetylene headlamps and other accoutrements being constructed of brass, or protected by brass plating to resist high temperatures and corrosion. Brass was largely superseded by polished nickel plating in the early 1920s, producing a more durable surface and increased tarnish resistance. Finally, nickel was replaced by chromium which offered the advantages of being nearly tarnish and maintenance free.  Continue reading