Monday, January 31, 2011

$1.19 Car of the Week #12, Mazda2

As much as l like my supercar Matchboxes, or the rare concept cars sometimes modeled by Johnny Lightning's, what I really enjoy the most in tiny cars are the absolutely bone-stock regular ol' production cars like this Mazda2. There is just something about having a little car that it exactly like what you could buy at the local dealership that I find really enticing. I was like this as a child as well, where I coveted my little Fords and Pontiacs, and my little Fiats and Volkswagens. 

The Mazda2 anchors the bottom of Mazda's American lineup and is a brother under-the-skin to Ford's Fiesta. It's a bit lighter, a bit more basic, and perhaps a bit sportier, thought the Fiesta is every bit its equal on the road or track. Let's just say the Mazda2 has a bit more Zoom, Zoom! Photographed with a brand new 2011 Mazda catalog, freshly off the floor of the Detroit Auto show courtesy of a good friend, this bright red Matchbox takes my much-lauded $1.19 Car of the Week award this week, lol.

8 pm Just Isn't the Same Anymore

C O M M E N T — Since Keith Olbermann left MSNBC 2 weeks ago, my evenings just haven't been the same. For the past several years, every weekday night at 8 pm I'd turn to MSNBC to watch "Countdown." I watch MSNBC most of the day to tell you the truth, well once Joe Scarborough is off the air at 9am, anyway. I went to college with Phil Griffin, MSNBC's president, and though we probably didn't say more than two words to each other the entire four years, Vassar was small enough so that everyone knew everyone anyway, so perhaps I feel a bit connected to the network in that way. Well, then there's the fact I'm a flaming liberal, so far to the left I'm almost coming around the other side, lol. But for whatever reason, I'm feeling a bit lost at 8 pm Monday through Friday. Lawrence O'Donnell will probably grow on me, and of course, Rachel Maddow makes everything right at 9 pm, but for now, I'm just channel surfing and catching bits of this and bits of that from 8-9 pm. Hope you're on the air again as soon as you can be, Keith! : )

Lynx—Luxury Compact from Mercury. Sigh.

Before the demise of the Mercury brand earlier this year, I was working on updating their current models, as well as working on all new ones for the fabled marque. It was my idea that Mercury could serve as Ford's high-tech hybrid division, sporty and luxurious, offering all of Ford's futuristic drivetrain choices first. This is how I envisioned a Mercury C segment, or compact, sedan, based on the Ford Focus. I guess all of my hard work was for naught, lol. For more of my Mercury renderings, click on the Mercury Label at the lower right of this blog.

Progression of the Parrots

The parrot tulips Mary brought me last Friday are just gorgeous today. They're opening more and more, leaning and swaying with the slightest provocation as you walk by them. The sunlight coming through the windows behind them renders the paler orange blooms almost transparent, and the centers of the red ones are turning a deep blue. I just had to do a quick photoshoot this morning to capture them at this phase. Enjoy! All photos clickable to enlarge. Click the "Read More" jump to see five more photos.

Kids on the Street—New Haven 1919

I'm not sure who these kids are, but they must have been acquainted with my grandmother who shot these photos. I have several other negatives with various combinations of children, some with my grandmother in the photo. In the top photo you can see a woman in the doorway who I believe is their mother. I have other photographs of her with women her age and with other children. My grandmother lived in New Haven for a short time, 1918-1919 after her first husband was killed in a diving accident, and I'm guessing these date to that time. These may in fact be relatives of her first husband, but I've no idea. I'm guessing they didn't keep in touch once she remarried in 1925. I'm intrigued by the little girl at the far right in the bottom photo—an unrelated street urchin perhaps? I may have posted these before in black-and-white form, but I duotoned them for today. I'm desperately trying to finish up a book for the publisher by tonight, so I had to see what I had in my files, lol. Happy last day of January, we're going to be getting a three day snow- and ice-storm starting tonight! All photos clickable to enlarge.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Flying Dutchman—1966 Lincoln Berline

The spiritual successor to the mammoth 1958-60 Lincolns, cars which are finally getting the respect they so richly deserve. I enlarged the already large second-generation "slabside" Lincoln from 1966, giving it engine room perhaps for a revived, and mythical, V12. The roofline is of course, a revival of the Mark III, IV and V from '58-'60, but extended for even more leg-and head-room. I painted the wheelcovers with a touch of body color, and placed the car at a seaside marina—perfect for those ephemeral, very occasional-glimpses-if-you're-lucky of the Flying Dutchman. You'd be lucky to catch a glimpse of this Lincoln Berline as well.

Far, far, away, and much, much, in the future from the Berline at the top, is my Lincoln MKH, a four-door hybrid hatchback. Lincoln has showed a small concept car at shows recently, the C Concept, and there are rumors the esteemed marque will actually soon be selling a C-segment car based on the Ford Focus, a very highly-developed small car platform. I've hedged my bets by giving my chop European license plates!

New Tiny Germans Coming: Q1 and A-Klasse

This chop dates back a couple of years, hence the name A1 AllRoad. Today this up-and-coming small car would most likely be called the Q1. Audi already has the mighty Q7 and the slightly smaller and very desirable Q5. There are spy photos circulating the web right now of the even smaller Q3, due to be introduced perhaps as early as the next Geneva show. While I'm not really sure there needs to be an even smaller crossover from Audi, there are plenty of rumors of a Q1. Part of me hopes this would be a small 3-door crossover. At some point as a car becomes smaller four doors become too small to be practical. The tiny A1 is a 3-door right now, so perhaps the crossover will be as well.  I chopped my A1 AllRoad as a 5-door though. Not really a crossover so much as a tall hatchback, the AllRoad concept gave Audi's regular wagons more road-clearance and butcher details, which I have included here.

Mercedes Benz's tiniest line of cars, excluding the Smart cars, is their A-Klasse. Available in 3- and 5-door versions, as well as the slightly large B-Klasse, these are MB's base models in most markets, although they've never been for sale in the USA. The platform is innovative, and features a double floor with the tiny front engine designed to slide in between the two floors in case of a front impact. There is to be a 3rd generation A-Klasse shortly, and will most likely be completely redesigned for today's market. The original A came out in 1997 and was revised in 2004, but has really been changed very little. For my chop, I lowered the car, and made it a bit wider. I gave it an actual wraparound rear glass hatch, instead of the faux wrap that the real cars have. I also beefed up the fender flares and gave it quad exhausts, perhaps a bit of overkill, lol, but let's call this the AMG version. I also made the third rear stop light part of the enlarged MB star logo.

Perfectly Pretty Parrots

My friend Mary stopped by Friday and brought three bunches of Parrot Tulips for me! I really needed to see fresh flowers at this time of year, with the almost three feet of snow we have outside. They are a beautiful orange and a luscious red in color, and so elegant the way the stems and leaves casually lean to the left and right. The flowers are opening more each day. I've taken twenty-five photos of them so far, lol. It's so great to have something to photograph rather than snow! Also visible in the photo above are some vintage bracelets, Bakelite and metal. The piece they are all sitting on is a 1940s side table with magazine pockets on each side that I have refinished. The top's mahogany board was sanded smooth and polyurethaned to show the beautiful subtle graining, and the sides are painted and covered in sections with vintage linoleum. Also, just visible at the bottom is a 1930s candy dish in Carnival glass in an almost floral petal design.

This second arrangement sits on my "Bush Sucks" politically painted table, lol. Also just visible is a ceramic clown I found almost twenty-five years ago at a church "White Elephant" sale. You unscrew his head and he holds a pint of liquor. His arms hold four ceramic shot glasses in complimentary colors. As soon as I saw him I fell in love, and he's been on display wherever I've lived ever since.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Making Lemonade from a Palm?

The largest palm frond from the plant in the attic fell over the other day, bending the stem too much. I guess it grew too large to stand up, and with the limited light during the winter, the stem wasn't strong enough to hold it. I cut it off and have been placing it around the house—just a case of making art from a mistake, or lemonade out of lemons. The frond tends to make everything it's posed with look more exotic. Behind it is my oldest existing painting, done in 1973 when I was sixteen. I alternate between thinking of it as my version of a prehistoric cave painting, and a close up view of an old French mustachioed artist named Emil, lol.

Is it Christmas Yet? Attic Cactus a bit Slow

Better late than never! This small Christmas cactus, living in the attic this winter, has thrown off a few blooms. This plant was started last year from clippings of my 115 year old plant that finally expired. I'm glad to see that it lives on! I planted the rooted clippings in with one of my Dragon Wing begonias to keep each other company. The attic has a great feel this winter, and I think the plants I've placed around it are helping.

Wooden Ships On the Water—Or in a Box

A scale model wooden boat, battery powered, though there is no remote control of any kind. I guess this would be for a bathtub or very small pond, although I'm not sure I'd want to be in the bathtub with something electrical, lol. There is no date on the box or the little boat itself. The only type on the box is the "Wooden Scale Model Boats" cursive logo on the front overlaying the illustration. That illustration by the way, doesn't match the boat inside. There is also "2.98" in pencil on the front, which leads me to believe this was probably a purchase at the Army PX in Japan in the early 1950s. Other items I know were bought on-base also have simple penciled in prices on them. This toy boat measures approximately eleven inches long, and is in great condition, as is the original box.

Pencil drawing of a three-masted schooner. I don't know the story behind this illustration but it's framed and sealed on the back, and appears to be an original. There is no signature that I can see, but it's really nicely drawn. The ship appears larger than a typical New England whaling ship, but I really know nothing about boats. 

The lyrics to one of my favorite songs:

Wooden Ships
by David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Paul Kanter

If you smile at me, I will understand
'Cause that is something everybody everywhere does 
in the same language.
I can see by your coat, my friend,
you're from the other side,
There's just one thing I got to know,
Can you tell me please, who won?
Say, can I have some of your purple berries?
Yes, I've been eating them for six or seven weeks now,
haven't got sick once.
Probably keep us both alive.

Wooden ships on the water, very free and easy,
Easy, you know the way it's supposed to be,
Silver people on the shoreline, let us be,
Talkin' 'bout very free and easy...
Horror grips us as we watch you die,
All we can do is echo your anguished cries,
Stare as all human feelings die,
We are leaving - you don't need us.

Go, take your sister then, by the hand,
lead her away from this foreign land,
Far away, where we might laugh again,
We are leaving - you don't need us.

And it's a fair wind, blowin' warm,
Out of the south over my shoulder,
Guess I'll set a course and go...

• Wooden Ships by Crosby, Stills & Nash, live version from 1977.
• Or the original studio version here.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Simon & Garfunkel Chicken, lol!

A Parrot Tulip makes everything look better! Pecan Pesto Chicken and Scarborough Fair marinara dipping sauce, with grated Romano and fresh Mozzarella. I made up this variation yesterday of the classic breaded boneless chicken, after listening to Simon & Garfunkel's classic song, Scarborough Fair, and realizing I had all the correct herbs in-house—Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme, lol.

Pecan Pesto Chicken with Scarborough Fair Marinara Sauce

I N G R E D I E N T S 
1 lb boneless chicken breasts, cut into 8 strips
1/2 cup flour
1 large, or extra large, egg
3 tbsp prepared Pesto
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup ground pecans
1/2 cup ground Romano or Parmesan cheese

Marinara sauce:
1 29 oz can whole peeled plum tomatos or tomato sauce
1 6 oz can plain tomato paste
1/2 chopped white onion
1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley
2 tbsp dried sage
2 tbsp dried rosemary
2 tbsp dried thyme
1 tbsp white vinegar (I use japanese rice vinegar)

D I R E C T I O N S 
Place flour in one dish for dredging. Use a whisk to mix together the Pesto and the egg and place in a second dish. Mix together the Panko crumbs. ground pecans and ground Romano or Parmesan cheese and place in a third dish. Take each piece of boneless chicken breast and starting with the flour, dredge, then dip into the Pesto egg and then roll in the crumbs. Pat each piece to make sure the coating sticks well and place in a glass baking dish that has been drizzled with olive oil. Repeat for all pieces. After all the pieces are arranged in the cooking dish, salt and pepper to taste and drizzle a slight amount of olive oil on top of each piece of chicken. Place in a 350° oven. Turn each piece over after 30 minutes and cook for an additional 15 minutes. Chicken should plump nicely and be tender all the way through. I test mine with a cake tester and when it penetrates easily and comes out clean, the chicken is done.

Marinara sauce:
Chop onion finely and cook over medium heat in olive oil until transparent, approximately 5 minutes. Add the 6 oz can of tomato paste. Stir well. Add the can of tomatoes or tomato sauce and the fresh parsley and dried herbs. Cook covered over low heat for 20 minutes. If using whole tomatoes, press down with a wooden spoon to break up. Uncover and splash in the white vinegar. Stir and cover for 5 minutes. Turn off heat and leave covered, off heat, for another 10 minutes for all the flavors to blend. For a smooth texture use an immersion beater or pour contents into a food processor, blender, or food mill, and puree.

Arrange the chicken on a serving platter. Pour the marinara sauce in a dipping bowl in the center. Fresh mozzarella drizzled with olive oil makes a great accompaniment. Use freshly grated Romano or Parmesan for a bit of extra flavor.

Instead of using the chicken to dip into the marinara, this dish easily converts to good ol' "Chicken Parm" as it's known around here, but perhaps Chicken Mozz would be more correct. Spoon some of the warm tomato sauce into an individual baking dish, place a couple of pieces of the Pecan Pesto chicken on top, and spoon more sauce over them. Slice the fresh Mozzarella and place on top, as well as a bit of grated Romano or Parmesan. Place under the broiler until the cheese is bubbling and slightly browned.

I'm an "eyeballer" when I cook, that is I rarely actually measure anything, so the quantities listed are in the ballpark. I'm also a firm believer in using recipes like blueprints, so if you like an herb I didn't use, please use it, or if you don't like one that I used, of course omit it!

Bon Appetit!

Photos from a 1980 Car Show, Part 5

Studebaker Avanti R2. This was a supercharged version of the Avanti, but I'm pretty sure that "grille" was a homemade attempt to better cool the engine. I've googled and researched and can find no other Avanti so equipped. I can't say it does a thing for the appearance! I think it probably looked better on the charcoal cooker it came from, lol.

1948 Chrysler Town & Country. The wooden-sided convertible was postwar glamour at its best. Chrysler could have beaten GM with the first postwar hardtop convertible, they built a few prototypes of one, but for some reason, management nixed it. This convertible came with a straight-8 engine. For a website devoted to these classics, click here.

The first "real" postwar designed Chrysler was the 1949 model. This is the '49 Town & Country convertible, again available only with a straight-8 engine. I can't really tell from this photo if this is an early '49, which came with mahogany inserts in between the ash timber frames, or a later '49 which had painted inserts, and my notes were incomplete.

This damaged photo shows the Jet-Age 1963 Imperial's squarish steering wheel. This wheel was Exner flamboyance at its absolute zenith, having been available since 1960.

This photo was found with Google Images from a '63 Imperial for sale. I thought this exuberantly styled interior warranted a better photo than mine above. Pushbutton transmission to the left, pushbutton climate control to the right, this Imperial had a style all of its own!

Two examples of Oldsmobile's personal luxury coupe, the Starfire. The 1962 edition is on the left, and features GM's new hardtop coupe roofline, shared with Chevrolet, Pontiac and Buick. It featured built in "ribs" for a convertible look, and replaced a much more flowing roofline with thinner pillars. The 1966 Starfire, right, the last year for this nameplate on a full sized car, shows off its svelte roofline with a concave rear window, shared only with the Pontiac Grand Prix.

The highly stylized nameplate for the 1957 Pontiac Bonneville, the first year for this iconic model.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Surprise! Huge Snowfall Last Night. Again.

15–18 Inches of New Snow Fell in Less than Eight Hours

Not much is left to be seen of my winter arrangements!  These are in Victorian cast-iron planters almost four-feet tall. The accumulated snow in the yard is almost three-feet high now. It's actually taller than the floor of the porch. I haven't seen this much snow ever. Apparently this is the snowiest January in Connecticut on record—records that go back more than one hundred years.

A small antique home can be seen in the distance creating an almost perfect New England winter scene. This snow is very wet and very heavy, clumping on all of the shrubs and trees.

The three cedar trees in the background on the left are bowing down with the accumulated heavy snow.

The snow is underneath as well as on top of the branches of this cedar tree next to the front porch.

The parking area is bordered by snow walls five feet high in places. There is an overall quiet outside now. The massive snowfall has a sound-absorbing quality. It's eerie but very cool at the same time. Even when speaking, voices tend to drop off quickly almost being sucked down into the snow. I think this is a quality of large snowfalls that is overlooked by many.

This ceramic pot is sitting on an antique milkcan close to three-feet tall. It's dwarfed by the accumulated snow. The snow is slightly taller than the level of the porch floor, which is three full steps up from the ground. The steps can't even be seen; that's the porch floor on the lower left. I have some shoveling to do!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Oh What the Hell. The Plain Unvarnished Truth*

*With all due respect to Peter De Lorenzo who speaks the real unvarnished truth every week at his website.

My 2003 self portrait sitting in my almost new Mercedes Benz E320. This was the end of my long, 25 year run in the fast lane, just before I spent every penny I ever made or inherited. Details to come in my forthcoming autobiography. The working title is great btw, lol. We'll see if it makes it through to the end.

2006 self portrait. I was growing my hair out for the first time since 1980, and dying it a realistic reddish brown instead of green or blue or orange as I had in the past. I'd been clean for two years but not thrilled about it.

Self portrait 2007. Yes, I was probably wearing the same shirt as in 2006. I had stopped dying my hair and my silver streak was back with a vengeance. I was actually born with a few silver hairs in the front of my head, and had them in the front of my "widow's peak" my entire life, but the rest of my hair was catching up with that streak. And yes, Truman Capote was not the only queen that had periods of massive weight gain and loss. At this point I was probably forty pounds heavier than my 2003 self portrait. Again, acknowledging my "clean" life but not terribly happy about my appearance. I ended up growing my hair all the way down to my shoulders. I have no idea why, lol, and one day, I just clipped it all off, shaving it with a razor down to the scalp.

My most recent self portrait from 2010. The hair is entirely gray/salt and pepper. I've lost weight, gained weight, and probably begun to lose it again. My "soul patch" is just about the only constant in my appearance since 2003. I'm old. I look old. I feel young. I walk to town every day in the winter, and ride to town on my bike every day in the warmer months. My life is teeny-tiny compared to my years in Manhattan and New Haven. My night life consists of what's on TV, My love life consists of my antiques. One of my biggest daily thrills is the first pot of percolated coffee of a blend of my own creation. I've made more lasting art in the past five years than I did in the previous twenty-five years, and I'm happy about that. I no longer think of life as a series of "what ifs" as it is a remembrance of what was. I no longer care about what the future might bring. I just hope I can create all of the rest of the art in my head before I can't physically do it anymore.

What the hell! This is me today. The plain unvarnished truth.

Self Portrait, 1982

Self Portrait, oil pastels on paper, 12 x 18 inches, 1982.

M Y   A R T — It's so interesting for me to go back and look at my earlier pieces of art. When I was working on stuff like this all those decades ago, each piece was random to me. I've worked on perhaps one hundred self portraits, in all sorts of mediums. I've done hundreds, if not thousands of doodles and sketchs and paintings of varied subjects. For each one, I only thought about that singular piece as I was working. I never gave a thought to any sort of overriding "arc" of work, or any sort of grand scheme. When I look at these early pieces though, I can see the nascent elements of my current art—repetitive graphic elements, check; a rainbow of colors used in odd ways, check; well-cropped subjects, check.

I was probably listening to music like Talking HeadsElvis Costello, The Pretenders or The Cars during this early '80s period.

Photos from a 1980 Car Show, Part 4

The dramatic front fender of the 1962 Thunderbird Sports Roadster. This was the 4-seater Tbird convertible, with a fiberglass tonneau cover over the rear seats making it an ersatz 2-seater. The logo underneath the Thunderbird script signals the Sports Roadster, which was available with a triple carburetor V8.

1956 Imperial Southampton 4-door pillarless hardtop, the first year of this body style by Chrysler. It was available from the Plymouth right on up the corporate ladder, including Dodge, Desoto, Chrysler and Imperial. Exner's Classic-era cues on this "Forward Look" Imperial included the separate fin-mounted taillights and large eagle-shaped trunk medallion.

The now-classic Buick Valve-in-Head inline Eight Fireball engine from the 1930s through the early 1950s.

GM's 1959 finned wonders were represented by the low- and top-line models at this show, the Chevy Impala at the left, and the Cadillac Series 62 convertible at the right. Batwing or Rocket Ship—it was your choice to make in '59! Though every full-size GM car, from Chevy and Pontiac through Oldsmobile, Buick and Cadillac, for the first time in GM history shared front door skins, windshields and a couple of roof stampings, this platform sharing was certainly not evident from the rear on any model.

1958 was the first year for the Chevrolet Impala, a nameplate that would become one of the best-selling cars in all of the history of American cars. This first year edition coupe, a one-year only body design, features the triple taillights-per-side that would become an Impala hallmark, as well as that staple of Fiftie's kitsch, the Continental Kit spare tire carrier. Those of us with eagle eyes will notice the Continental Mark II on the right, an example with air conditioning as evidenced by the scoop just below the rear quarter window and C pillar. 

Also in attendance at this 1980 Connecticut car show, was this 1968 Mustang "California Special" edition 2-door notchback. This was a trim package for the base coupe, and for a limited edition, I've been lucky enough to see several of them through the years. I even used to pass one daily on my walk to work in, you guessed it, California, lol.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

1965 Dodge Dart: Perfect Size for 2011?

I'm especially taken with this bright red GT hardtop coupe, with the black half vinyl roof, bottom. There is just enough chrome trim and detailing on it to make it stand out for all the right reasons. The black vinyl bucket seat interior is really fetching as well! The well-drawn proportions of the base models at the top illustrate how important it is to get the car "right" before you add any extra trim to it. Chrome accents and two- or three-tone paint can set a car off, but they can't be used to make a poorly proportioned vehicle "right."  The same holds true with so many disciplines in the creative world. When I was designing publications full time and leading an art department, I could never stress enough to my artists that they get the basic design of the page, or cover, correct, before they started adding details like shadows or colors. Many of them would try to "wow" me with typographic "tricks" right away before they got the layout right, and believe me, you really can't "save" a bad design with filigree or "pretty clutter!" Click to enlarge to full-screen.

M Y   C O L L E C T I O N — In 1965, Dodge's smallest car was the Dart, available in three series: Base, mid-level 270 and "luxury" GT. Body styles ran the full sixties gamut, from 2- and 4-door sedans, to 2 door pillarless coupes, convertibles and 4-door wagons. They were available with six- and eight-cylinder engines with ratings from 101 hp to 235 hp, 3- and 4-speed manuals or an automatic transmission. 

Though they seemed small back then, seen in today's light, their 111" wheelbase (106" on wagons, shared with the Plymouth Valiant) place them squarely in the mainstream of 21st century sedans. Their curb weights of approximately 2,800-3,000 lbs are much lighter than similar-sized cars of today, but that's largely the result of all of the added safety equipment and crash structures our cars must now possess. Though the '65 model's styling shown is credited to Elwood Engel, the basic chassis and proportions date back to Virgil Exner's sensational 1960 Valiant. 

Engel's philosophy was to "fill out the square" in both silhouette and plane views, but there is a humble honesty to these cars that's very appealing. The hood and trunk lengths are just about perfect, the greenhouse and roof shapes are attractive, and the chrome strip that wraps from the taillights up and over the rear window on the pillarless coupes is really well done. The half vinyl roof seems a bit flamboyant, almost Exner like, and wouldn't really catch on with the rest of the industry for several more years, becoming more of a seventies cliché. It's just about perfectly executed on this Dart GT.

One is lucky today if a car is available in anything but a 4-door sedan, and if it is, the additional body style is usually a tall wagon. With all the advancements in computer-aided design and electronic "robotic" construction, I just find it odd all we can seemingly come up with are sedans. To top it off they're usually painted gray with a gray interior. Even though this was Dodge's least expensive, and smallest car, it came in a full panoply of body styles and trim levels. Interiors came in several color choices, usually red, green, blue, beige, white and black, and in a choice of cloth or vinyl—we hadn't yet felt it necessary to skin a cow for every single car in the 1960s. 

B T W :
I just remembered I've photoshopped one of these 1963-'66 Darts before. This is a 1963 Dart convertible in which I smoothed out the sides a bit, and added fender skirts for that proper "Cruiser" look. I chopped down the windshield a little to give the car a longer, lower appearance. I also dropped it closer to the ground a few inches and upped the wheel size, though I kept the sixties wheelcovers and white walls.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Hooking, the Good Way? : )

This is another of the vintage hand-made items I've save through the years. I'm not sure of the technique, but I think it's called "hooking." It's not needlepoint, and I don't think it's really crewelwork either. It's a bit "plusher," almost like a rug. It's made on a round piece of muslin/canvas cloth, which is attached to a square piece of slightly lighter-weight fabric, and was eventually meant to become a pillow. Or perhaps a seat cover of sorts? I photographed it on a dark red pillow, but the piece itself is just loose and unattached to anything. I'm not sure why so many projects like this in my collection progressed so far and then weren't finished. They're all interesting though.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Photos from a 1980 Car Show, Part 3

The front grille of a 1961 Lincoln Continental. I'm pretty sure this is a junkyard shot, not the car show, but it was in the same folder as the show photos and I never miss an excuse to feature a Lincoln in this blog!

1959 Ford Skyliner retractable hardtop, showing off all of its moving parts. These cars are still jaw-dropping when seen in action. I could watch the roof go up and down all day long!

Early 1950s Muntz Jet. This was a very limited production car, built by Earl "Madman" Muntz a very successful used-car salesman and early TV impresario from California. For a short history of this very cool footnote in automotive history, click over to this How Stuff Works page.

The interior of the Muntz Jet featuring classic fifties Tuck-and-Roll pleated vinyl upholstery and full instrumentation.

The free-standing taillights of the Exner-designed 1962 Imperial. This was a Crown convertible, one of the loveliest body styles for these cars, ones that were extremely rare even when new with only 554 produced. For a website on Imperial's 1962 production figures, with some cool illustrations, click here.

"Fluid Drive" was a Chrysler transmission introduced in 1939 and offered through the late '40s. It wasn't an automatic transmission, but offered some of the same ease of driving. For a detailed explanation, click here. This was a time when the automakers gave their new features great marketing names and often touted them on the exterior of the cars themselves. This great scripted font was found on the rear bumper of a late 1940s Chrysler sedan.

How'd this British sports car sneak in? Regional Connecticut cars shows tend to not be marques- or country-specific, even to this day. The British car show I went to last summer had several domestic makes included. Nice cars are nice cars, and usually allowed on the field. We ain't no Pebble Beach, lol, though we certainly have our esteemed concours as well, notably the Greenwich show. Shown above is the Triumph TR3's hood lettering and artistic logo.

1957 Desoto Firesweep. These tower of taillights are as distinctive and dramatic today as they were in 1957 and in 1980 when I photographed this example.