Saturday, February 19, 2011

See You Down the Road

"Bow Ties to the Past." self portrait, 24 x 24 inches on plywood, 2009.

As they say, whomever "they" are, lol, all good things must come to an end. Today's blogpost,  casey/artandcolour's one year anniversary, is my last daily post. I'll update this blog once a month or so for the foreseeable future instead of every day.

Since I started the blog one year ago, with absolutely no idea that anyone at all would find it, it has grown far beyond any expectations or dreams I might have had. During the first full month, March 2010, the blog received 1,160 total page hits. That number fell to 765 in April, lol, but then grew steadily each month, with January 2011, the last full month, receiving 17,456 hits. I've had single days recently with twice as many hits as the entire month of April. It has been fun to compose all of these posts, and to create all of the digital art for them, and hugely gratifying to read the comments my readers have been nice enough to spend their time posting. I've made a lot of friends from around the country, (and some from around the globe.) Some days, it was truly my "regulars" that kept me going, kept me writing, and scanning, and composing the next day's post. I have all of you to thank for making this blog a cherished part of my life and not just another "project."

Next? I'm going to be working on my art and writing. I haven't finished an art piece since I started the blog. I might also have some exciting news to share by mid- or late-summer as far as my writing goes. This isn't the end of casey/artandcolour, just the end of posting every single day. I'll be updating the blog once a month as I wrote above, and I'll check in every day and keep the spam comments from used car dealers and robot-generated turbine engine part manufacturers deleted ( what a pain in the you-know-what they are!).

A huge hug, and a thank you, to everyone that clicked on my blog this past year. Onward and upward!

•  •  •

I'm going to end my post today with a short essay that was published in the February 2011 issue of Hemmings Motor News. It was written by Daniel Strohl, HMN's associate editor and Hemmings Blog editor. I've received permission to publish it today, and I couldn't be more pleased. I haven't read anything in recent memory that reaches such a level of emotion in so few words. Hemmings Blog is a great way to keep up with the collector car world; they even picked up my casey/artandcolour post about the mid sixties Chrysler Turbine car. Bookmark Hemmings' Blog if you haven't already. Thank you Hemmings, and thank you Daniel! This piece just floored me. I know my readers are going to love it as well.

(Photo by Rick Hunt)

Old Oak Trees
By Daniel Strohl

Her knotted hand found his as they took the gentle slope a step at a time, crunching through the remnants of last month's snowstorm that still clung to the frozen field.

"Do you know where we're going?" she asked him. He paused, considered her for a moment through puffy, half-shut eyelids. From his permanent crouch, an old oak tree brushing the ground from which it grew, he had to turn his head to the side to look her in the eyes. Though he ran his tongue over his lips as if he were to say something, he instead shook his head slowly.

She led him on up the slope again, her own weak steps appearing strong and stable next to his slow shuffle. "We're going to see our old Lincoln," she said. "You remember our old Lincoln, don't you?" He didn't answer and simply kept his head down, tilted slightly forward. The wind, still cold and from the north, cutting through the line of trees on the ridge at the top of the slope, fluttered the white hairs that escaped from underneath his newsboy cap and lay against his wrinkled and spotted neck. She reached over with her other hand to flip his collar up, though he didn't seem to mind the wind on his bare neck.

"Our Lincoln?" he rasped out. He slowed as they came upon the white behemoth near the top of the slope, its tires embedded securely into the field, a patch of snow still clinging to the windshield.

"Yes, that's it," she said. "Bob can't keep it here any more. They're going to build houses here. So Bob wanted us to come see it again, for the...."

His grip on her hand tightened slightly, and she felt him try to straighten, though she knew that he still needed her hand. They both stood in silence by the Lincoln for a while before he ran his tongue over his lips again. He took so long to speak, she thought he'd given up.

"I remember," he finally said.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Photos from 1980—Car Show and Used Car Lot

One of the more distinctive front ends from the latter part of the 1930s, this 1939 Chrysler Royal, sports abundant chrome and streamline design cues. The headlights were also highly styled, with flush covers and shield-shaped housings. In reality, the red circle behind the word "Chrysler" was blue, but I used my artistic license and made it red to contrast bette with the blue car. All photos are clickable to enlarge.

Magnificent 1938 Lincoln K V12 sedan at a local car show. The greyhound hood ornament was a longtime Lincoln feature.

The "toned down" 1959 Edsel front end at a used car lot in 1980. The handwriting was already on the wall for this upper-medium priced marque. Dropping the larger Mercury-based models, the Edsel was reduced to marketing only the smaller Ford-based versions, and would be dropped completely shortly after the 1960 models were announced.

The interior of the '59 Edsel may look "glitzy" in this photo, but had lost many of its most unique features from its first year, 1958. The unique compass-like speedometer and Tele-touch transmission buttons in the middle of the steering wheel hub were gone by '59.

The car show also included this mid sixties Ferrari Lusso. The tailpipes say it all!

I'm not sure what car these highly-styled hood louvers belong to, but I'm guessing it's early 1930s. Any guesses?

The 1950 Ford, here in club coupe guise. The '49 Ford is credited with "saving" the corporation, being completely redesigned and completely up-to-date mechanically and style-wise. The '50 Ford may have only had a minor facelift, but was advertised as being "50 Ways Finer for '50."

The trunk logo from a late fifties Mercedes Benz 300SL roadster, a six-figure car today.

A step plate and running board from a mid 1920s Buick.

The distinctive rear fender trim from a Duesenberg SJ phaeton.

"Ask the man who owns one," was Packard's famous advertising line for decades.

Gorgeous Packard, a 1931 Deluxe Eight 840 Roadster I believe, above and below.

Ford Fairlane from 1956. The "jet" hood ornament is scooped into the hood itself, the Ford crest is highly stylized and the name "Fairlane" beautifully scripted underlining it all. Fair Lane, two words, was the name of Henry and Clara Ford's estate, and was used on Ford's top-line models for a few years, before being slightly decontented when the Galaxie was introduced halfway through 1959.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

1933 Continental—3 Owners, 50,000 miles!

A gorgeous example of Art Moderne sculpture, the hood mascot for the 1933 Continental Flyer. The Continental's motto printed underneath this ornament states, "Powerful as the Nation." All photos in this post are clickable thumbnails and enlarge nicely.

Last October my friend Barry Wolk from Michigan, asked me if I would take a look at a car for him. It was located in nearby Deep River, Connecticut, and was a one family-owned 1933 automobile, a Continental Flyer sedan. What I found was not to be believed, outstanding in almost every way for a 77-year old manufactured item.

Now right off the bat, it's not a Lincoln Continental, it has no affiliation with Lincoln whatsoever. It was built by the Continental Motors Company, and was produced in Grand Rapids and Detroit, Michigan, in 1933 and 1934, The Continental was an offshoot of the DeVaux automobile, and was available in a 4-cylinder Beacon, a 6-cylinder Flyer and a slightly larger 6-cylinder Ace. Less than 4,500 were produced in those two years. The Flyer sedan I looked at in Deep River, which Barry bought shortly afterwards, has to be the best one in existence today. It was owned by one family from new, had been garaged and cared for by a very meticulous man, an engineer of sorts that kept the car in immaculate condition and spent years improving some of the mechanical parts, and was passed down to his equally fastidious and caring son in the 1960s. When Barry asked me to go take a look at it, he told me it was in good condition, but I had no idea it was going to look the way it did. It was truly a time warp. 

And since he has owned it, Barry has been bringing every single piece of it back to like-new, or better, condition. Barry is a collector of art and cars, and his "Continental Collection" includes Lincoln Continentals, a Continental Mark II convertible, a Mark III convertible, a mid-fifties Chris-Craft Continental motorboat, a '55 Porsche Continental cabriolet and now, this 1933 Continental Flyer sedan. For much more about Barry's collection, click here. For a piece of art I've created for Barry, click here.

Kit Foster, a renowned freelance writer in the automotive history world, has blogged about the '33-'34 Continental automobile before. For his piece on this car, click here

Hemmings Motor News' Daniel Strohl, has written about Continental Motors and the Continental cars, here. And for a bit more about the DeVaux automobile, the predecessor to this Continental, click here

Now, let's get to the good part, lol, the photos!  These were taken in Connecticut the day I saw the car. I sent these to Barry, and he made his decision. He writes that the car is REALLY shiny now, and the mechanicals have been given a thorough going over as well. Keep in mind this 77-year old car is almost all original, although the upholstery was redone at some time in the past.

The odometer shows just slightly more than 50,000 original miles! I've helped Barry with the typography to restore the center gauge, which is for gas level and engine temperature.

The famed Continental "Red Seal" engine, versions of which powered some of the most revered cars of the 1920s and '30s.

The original brochure.

For more photos of this outstanding automobile, click "Read More" and jump to the next page.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Study in Blue

A beautiful blue hydrangea inspired me this morning to gather together a few of my blue collectibles on my dark teal faux marble Formica kitchen counter. From top right is a mid-Thirties Roseville vase (Freesia); a pale blue "hobnail" creamer; a '56 Tbird tin case; AMC Gremlin, Sunbeam Alpine and Lincoln Mark III model cars; early 1900s Edgeworth tobacco tin; New England "splatterware" bowl; contemporary blue and white glass swirl vase; and in the background is a Hyundai shopping bag in the proper colors, lol . Click on image to enlarge.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

"Independents" Day: More Photos from the '80s

Continuing my series of vintage cars I photographed in the early 1980s, today I present three manufacturers among the last of the domestic "Independents," Packard, Studebaker and Hudson. Pictured in canary yellow and black is a 1956 Clipper sedan by Packard, the last year that Packard sold cars using its own bodyshells. Clipper was now its own division, although it was clearly a junior Packard. I'm sure most people didn't understand, or appreciate, this difference, as the Clipper nameplate had been used by Packard since the early 1940s. There is a long, sad story of Packard's last days, first being bought by Studebaker and eventually dropped after building badge-engineered Studes for '57 and '58, but I won't go into it now. The last "true" Packards, the '55s and '56s were magnificent cars, whether they were the juniors, the Clippers,  or the seniors, the 400s, Patricians and Caribbeans.

The '56 Packards featured push-button automatic transmissions, visible through the steering wheel, just under the radio. Notice the divided leather front seats; even a bottom-of-the-range Packard was a quality automobile.

The "Clipper" script on the front of the hood is one of the most distinctive uses of typography on a mid-century automobile. Stretching seven connected letters across almost the width of the car was gutsy, artistic and dramatic. The Clipper's "ship's wheel" logo is centered in the grille below it, and the bow-shaped grille itself, a modern interpretation of Packard's classic "yoke" radiator shape.

Many, many times in its long and storied history, Studebaker fielded dramatic and elegantly styled cars. This is the rear window of a 1937 Dictator business coupe. Art Deco meets Streamline styling and equals distinction and presence in spades.

Another Studebaker coupe that blew the competition into the weeds in 1947: "The first by far with a post war car!" proclaimed the company's advertisements. This wraparound rear window of the Starlight coupe was the exclamation point for the entire lineup of futuristic automobiles designed primarily by Virgil Exner, though credited to Raymond Loewy at the time as it was his name on the design firm's letterhead and in the newspapers. There was nothing like it then, or now.

The Hudson Italia, a halo car built for Hudson by an Italian firm named Touring. This was a compact "personal luxury coupe" a good ten years ahead of its time. Only 25 examples of this car were built, all in the same cream exterior with red and white leather interior as this car was. Click on the links in this caption to read more about this fascinating automaker.

The red-and-white leather bucket seats included lumbar supports, and the interior boasted flow-through ventilation, creature comforts ahead of their time. Also visible in this view are the aircraft-inspired door openings cut high into the low roof for ease of entrance. I don't seem to have gotten a shot of the car's most interesting design detail—the taillights were housed in three individual chrome "tubes"  on the rear sides of the car, looking for all the world like jet exhausts. Many manufacturers seized upon the postwar jets' styling cues, notably DeSoto and Mercury, but none as stunningly as Hudson on their Italia.

As with all of the images in this old car show series, these photographs were taken with black-and-white film and have been colorized in a whimsical manner using Photoshop; all are clickable to enlarge.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day, Vintage Style

Antique Valentine's Day cards in my collection range from simple postcards to multi-layered, multi-page items. They feature paper lace and tissue paper in some cases. Some of them appear handmade, perhaps from even older cards that were around the house. I have somewhere in the neighborhood of 250 cards, though I only found a small envelope of about fifty of them today. The rest are "layered" among the rest of the vintage items around my apartment, lol. The cards posted today date from the late 1800s to about 1915.

This one seems to have a heart-shaped piece cut out from it at the top left. Used on a different homemade card perhaps?

The interior verses of these cards is much more sophisticated than the "Be My Valentine" that I remember sending to my classmates as a child. And, yes, most of these vintage cards were sent to children, from other children, as [I think] they still do today. Somehow I feel today's video game addicted youngsters would have no idea whatsoever what these cards' sentiments say, lol. The one illustrated is dated 1896, and was sent to my mother's then ten-year old Uncle Art by a neighbor named Raymond Gay, and states:

Earth's vast expanse doth hold for me,
One only hope—a dream of thee:
Naught that exists hath power to tear
From my fond heart thine image there:
For ever true to thee alone,
For good or ill I'm all thine own.

Flowering Season Can't Get Here Soon Enough!

Pink dahlia from 2008

A variety of red, orange and yellow dahlias from 2009

Side-of-the-road native white asters. 

Almost-on-fire dahlia from 2009

At least I've had some color during the winter months—Christmas cactus

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Standard of the World; Faded Glory

Grace of the Fallen—approximately 22 x 20 inches on two joined pine boards. Paint, paper, silver foil and polyurethane.

This series of photos dates back to the early 1980s, as have my other recently posted car images. They were shot with a Nikon camera, using film of course and I've scanned these particular images from my contact proof sheets. The photo above shows an early postwar Cadillac 75 limousine, in decidedly ragged condition. I was struck by the elegance still apparent, from the power window switches, the button-tufted upholstery, and the quality materials evident throughout and used it one of my first pieces on wood, top.

The front fender of the same 75 limousine . I love this Cadillac script and the stainless steel trim pieces.

The Cadillac crest and wings on the trunk of the '75 limousine. Such class and taste.

The aluminum step plate of the 75 limousine. Body by Fleetwood.

I've posted other detail photos of this Cadillac "cemetery" and this 1962 Cadillac Park Avenue in particular in earlier posts, here, and here. This was a short-trunk version of the regular Cadillac sedan, meant to fit in prewar garages, and was produced in '61, '62 and '63. This profile view shows what I consider, almost perfect proportions. The interior of this specimen sported separate front seat. I suppose they were called "buckets" but they were wider, and flatter than bucket seats in any other car, though they still have a space in between them. They weren't the divided bench seats of later models. I've always wondered what happened to this particular car, it was emminently restorable.

Three more "resting" Cadillacs, including two 1959s, left, and a '66 Fleetwood limousine, right. The factory painted-roof limousines are among the most elegant of sixties Cadillacs in my opinion. These were not "pimp daddy" limos, they weren't stretched Hummers, they didn't have a hot tub on the deck. These were limousines for old money families and captains of industry, not Snookie and the rest of the Jersey shore drunks.

Having a bit of fun one day in '83. I took this Cadillac script with me on an outing one day and posed it in various "out-of-context" photos, including this one on the grille of my '83 Toyota Celica GT-S notchback.