Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Detroit Needed to Know

What Kind of Cars Did Americans Want?from Popular Mechanics, 1954

Attached are the results of a nationwide survey from 1954 indicating what the American automobile consumers were shopping for in cars:

•53% of survey participants wished car designers would lighten-up on the application of chrome
•54% preferred whitewall tires over any other kind
•68% preferred push-button door handles
•59% wanted jet-age hood ornaments
•44% wished that dashboards were loaded with dials and other assorted gauges

The First Break Lights Make Their Appearance

from Popular Mechanics Magazine, 1918

Many dented fenders later, the first signal indicators show up. This article makes clear that both the break light and the turning signal indicator are both the same color (red) but they are an improvement on what was sporadically used in a few circles: the "Illuminated Glove" (a fingerless mit intended for the left-hand that was supposedly easier to see when making stop or turning gestures).

Upholstery in the Best American Luxury Cars
of the 1920s

A Celebration of Mohair Velvetfrom Vogue Magazine, 1920

Attached is a VOGUE MAGAZINE article that examines the automotive upholstery styles of cars that were made for the general public ("stock cars") and those other cars that were custom made and likely to be furnished with Dictaphones and vanity cases.

"As for materials, it may be said that most of the custom-built cars are upholstered in broadcloth or whipcord, whereas the stock cars show prevailingly velours, mohair velvet and the textile known as automobile cloth." 

The cars that have their upholstery examined are Hudsons, Packards, Renaults and Cadillacs, among others.

1950s Cars

Car Styling in the 1950's

from Gentry Magazine, 1956

Attached is a single page essay by car-stylist William H. Grimes, a former Vice President and Director of Engineering at the Studebaker-Packard Corporation.

"Two years ago a new product philosophy was approved at Packard which gave the engineering department a green light that had not been on since 1935. This enabled us to set up a program to style future cars for the luxury field...The Packard program was launched in October, 1952, with the formation of a new styling group of young men, whose average age was 28. An advanced design section and a special section to experiment with plastics as a possible material for both parts and dies were established." 

Source: Internet