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

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

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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

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 gone, France was enjoying the height of Les Trente Glorieuses and Germany was celebrating its Wirtschaftswunder. In the U.S., Wall Street, Madison Avenue, Abstract Expressionism, Modernist architecture and Cool Jazz catapulted New York to the global epicentre of the intersecting worlds of art and commerce.   Continue reading

Incandescent Ground-Pounding Rubber-Burning Muscle Cars of the 1960s

James Kraus

JK - 1 (48)

1964 Pontiac GTO

I get pushed out of shape and it’s hard to steer when I get rubber in all four gears  –  The Beach Boys, 1963

When these lyrics were written in the spring of ‘63 such accelerative prowess would indeed require, as the song expressed, a homebuilt hot rod. Or a daunting expenditure on the likes of the storied 409 Impala or 406 Galaxie. Or an even taller stack of bones for a Corvette, Cobra or E-Type. The thought of anything even more costly would blow a young man’s mind. But in the fall of that year a new player appeared to rewrite the rules …   Continue reading

The Cars of James Bond: Ford Falcon Ranchero

James Kraus

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Oddjob returning from the scrapyard with precious cargo

Until World War II, American pickup trucks were simply passenger cars with a rear load bay and drop-down tailgate. Following the war, manufacturers phased in purpose-built pickups that were far more truck-like, lacking any pretension to passenger car civility. The final Ford passenger car-based pickup was the 1947 model.  Continue reading

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

James Kraus

1965 Cadillac Calais

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

1964: Britain Conquers the Globe

by James Kraus

Goldfinger

Goldfinger, Guy Hamilton, 1964

In 1964 the British Isles became the centre of popular culture. Beatlemania assumed international proportions with the band’s successful invasion of the United States and the release of A Hard Day’s Night. Meanwhile, cinematic MI6 Agent James Bond cemented his status as the free world’s favorite undercover operative with the debut of Goldfinger.

The Rover 2000 won European Car of the Year and the Morris Mini Cooper secured its premier victory at the Rallye Monte-Carlo, the storied event with which it would become inexorably linked. Last but not least, another sort of British mini exploded into worldwide popularity and acclaim: the miniskirt.   Continue reading

The Cars of James Bond: Lincoln Continental

by James Kraus

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The final journey of Mr. Solo

The early 1960s Lincoln Continental, in common with Ford’s Mustang and Thunderbird, was featured in two Bond extravaganzas; Goldfinger and Thunderball.

The new 1961 Continental was a radical departure for Lincoln. The clean-sheet design was 38 cm (15”) shorter than the outgoing version, and with its unadorned sides, simple lines and distinctive rear suicide doors, represented a complete break from its predecessor. Except for minor detail alterations, the new Lincoln remained basically unchanged until a slight refresh for the 1966 models.  Continue reading