Friday, December 17, 2010

Motor Trend's 1972 "In Retrospect" Posters

1940 Lincoln Continental Cabriolet

1929 Ford Model A Cabriolet

1931 Duesenberg Model J Tourster

1935-36 Auburn Model 851 Speedster

1930 Cadillac V16 Roadster

1940 Packard Station Wagon (with Air Conditioning)

1947 MG-TC

1955 Ford Thunderbird

M Y   C O L L E C T I O N — These posters, approximately 18 1/2 x 13 inches each, date to 1972. I received them when I was 15 years old, first seeing them in the back pages of Motor Trend. They were all photographed by the incomparable John Lamm, and were copyrighted by the Petersen Galleries in Los Angeles. Robert E. Petersen was the visionary that  built the Motor Trend empire and of course the Petersen Galleries and Auto Collection. For a great interview with the late Mr. Petersen, click here.

You'll notice, once again, that the items in my collection aren't pristine. I'm not like many collectors that have to have the best, the biggest, the first, or what have you. Much of what I have I've owned for decades, or are from thrift stores or yard sales or have been given to me by people no longer able to care for their beloved possessions. You'll notice the thumbtack holes in the corners of these posters, the slight rusty circles from said thumbtacks, wrinkles, water stains and a small tear or two. To me, those are signs of a life well-lived, posters that are well-loved. In person, one can see finger smudges all over the black Thunderbird. I would rub my hands all over it and pretend I was washing it by hand! I like the look and feel of worn objects, I don't mind if something doesn't work as it was designed to, I don't mind if I only have half of something, or just one small part. I sense the life in everything, yes even paper.

I know, it sounds odd, but I lived in my head a lot then, and I live in my head a lot now. These posters weren't just pieces of paper I sent away for. They represented cars I owned even though I'd probably never even see them in person. The were cars that were available to me anytime I wanted them, cars that drove me to more fabulous places in this world than I could ever say. They're the stuff dreams are made of, and I've certainly had my share of dreams. And then some.


  1. Thank you, Casey. This was beautifully put . A warming thing to read on a cold, rainy night!


  2. thanks, AP! I find myself enjoying the writing part more and more as the blog evolves, which is what I hoped would happen but didn't really think would.

  3. I am glad you enjoy doing it.I know the rest of us enjoy reading it.


  4. Spoiled-little-girl-me wanted that 1955 T-Bird (in blue)so bad, get this as a high school graduation gift! I am thankful my parents had a little more sense than cents, and said there was no way I was getting a "sports car" as a graduation gift. I am sure I walked around for months with a pout on my face... well maybe not months, I did end up going to school in Switzerland that summer. I never did own a Thunderbird, but when I got that little '68 Tangerine Porsche 912, it made up for all those years of wanting a sports car. My father of course was deeply disappointed in my buying a car that was: 1) German and 2) a sports car. He never forgave me.



  6. These are wonderful! I guess I had stopped being a regular reader of MT by 72 -- I surely would have sent for these if I'd known about them! I'm just sorry there's not any representation of Nash or Chrysler -- surely they could have had a Nash-Healey or an Airflow or Town & Country!

    Paul, NYC