Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Photos of Pink Cadillacs: Mary Kay Cars and Others













Sunday, October 27, 2013

The 2013 Society of Automotive Historians' Bradley Award goes to the International Motor Racing Research Center, Watkins Glen, NY.



Ed Garten presenting the Society of Automotive Historians’ Bradley Distinguished Service Award to the International Motor Racing Research Center in Watkins Glen, NY, at the Society’s Annual Meeting held at the Hershey County Club,  Hershey, PA, in early October.  Receiving the award on behalf of the Center was Mr. J. C. Argetsinger, Center President.

The International Motor Racing Research Center (IMRRC) was founded in 1998 with a vision to be the world-class leader in the collection of materials representing the documentary heritage of amateur and professional motor racing, highlighting Sports Car, Formula 1, NASCAR, and vintage and historic racing.  In just fifteen years of existence, it has met that goal.  It has garnered a well-deserved reputation for providing excellent reference service.  Its website is a model—it is easy to use and navigate and provides a wealth of information.  The IMRRC has also partnered with the Southern Tier Library System (of New York State) to make its book catalog available through STARcat, its online catalog.  In-person reference service is equally benchmark.  One writer described the IMRRC as a “people’s research center” that treats everyone with respect.  The IMRRC is an important community resource for both the racing and local Watkins Glen community.  The IMRRC hosts “Center Conversations,” a free series of talks that “take listeners behind the scenes of motorsports.”  The website provides audio downloads of some of the talks.  The IMRRC has done an excellent job in gaining the support of the racecar community.  Some of the members of its Drivers Council include Mario Andretti, Hurley Haywood, Sir Jackie Stewart, and Rusty Wallace.  The IMRRC has a devoted following and from the beginning, it has been enthusiastically supported by racecar drivers, racing fans, journalists, and authors. 

The Society of Automotive Historians was founded in Hershey, Pennsylvania in 1969. The Society is an international organization with nearly 1,000 members around the globe. The Society is an eclectic but serious community of historians that includes academic scholars, automotive journalists, publishers, museum and library professionals, educational and cultural organizations, automotive collectors, automotive restorers and other enthusiasts who may not be automotive professionals.

The membership of the Society encourages research into any aspect of automotive history. The Society actively supports the compilation and preservation of papers, organizational records, print, ephemera and images to safeguard, broaden and deepen the understanding of motorized, wheeled land transportation through the modern age and into the future. The Society promotes and supports the publishing of research findings to reveal automotive history in books, journals and conference papers. The Society supports the efforts of educators to teach college level academic courses and of those who introduce K-12 students to the panorama of automotive history.

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Mercedes Benz 600

Mercedes-Benz 600 (W 100, 1963 to 1981), Pullman Saloon (4-door). Interior with fine wood folding tables and radio.

Mercedes-Benz 600 (W 100, 1963 to 1981), Pullman Landaulet. Center console with tape deck (Pioneer) – including “Saturday Night Fever, Original Movie Soundtrack” cassette – and telephone receiver.

Well folks, this car is a bit out of my price range and class. The ultimate luxury ride for the rich famous want-to-be famous around the world. Here is some text from M-B:

 First presented at the IAA International Motor Show in Frankfurt in 1963, the new “Grand Mercedes” is a prestigious, distinguished vehicle – luminaries from around the globe, representing the fields of politics, business and entertainment, used this car to make their big entrance. In terms of technology, the “600” set new standards too, boasting a 6.3-litre V8-engine, air suspension and a novel hydraulic comfort system. The hydraulics enabled not only automatic adjustment of the front and rear seats, but also handled the opening and closing of the car doors, the luggage compartment, the side windows, and the optional sliding sunroof.The five-/six-seater configuration on a standard wheelbase was mostly purchased by highly discerning private customers, whereas the seven-/eight-seater long-wheelbase Pullman and the Landaulet were primarily used as limousines for state dignitaries and other VIPs. Every single one of the 2,677 individually manufactured Mercedes-Benz 600s is unique.

Mercedes-Benz Model 600 (model series W 100, 1964 to 1981). Examples of luxurious travel comfort in 1963: a Lufthansa Convair 340 and the Mercedes-Benz Model 600






Society of Automotive Historians Book Signing, October 11, 2013, in the tent at the A.A.C.A. Meeting

2013 SAH Book Signing; Paul Lashbrook

2013 SAH Book Signing Doug Leighton, left; James Hinchliffe, center; Annabelle Sleigh, right

2013 SAH Book Signing; Bob Ebert, left; Kit Foster, center, Harriet Foster, right.
Hi folks -- I just got these photos yesterday and decided to post them. Friday was a brutal day weather-wise, with a driving rain much of the day.  I was scheduled to sign books at the tent, but decided otherwise, a good idea given the fact that I was coming down what later blossomed into viral pneumonia. But the ahrdy did come and enjoy a remarkable couple of hours of fellowship.Our kudos go to Paul Lashbrook, above all, and then to those who provided support for the event and attended. Next year will give us another opportunity to gather under the tend and sign books -- my Stealing Cars should be there as well as The Automobile and American Life.

Special thanks go to Paul Lashbrook for his vision and energy in making all this happen -- this was done despite some serious health issues.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Society of Automotive Historians needs a Webpage Editor

Society of Automotive Historians  needs a webpage editor for its website, www.autohistory.org. The editor's primary responsibility would be reaching out and being a conduit to the membership for SAH related news, events, deadlines, classifieds, as well as encouraging members to become actively involved in the site by submitting articles, photos and artwork. The editor would also be charged with setting up a forum page where members could exchange information.  He or she would be responsible for working with webmaster William Howell on the design of the website. This is an volunteer position. To apply or for more information, contact Tom Jakups (tjakups@ymail.com).

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A Review of Christopher Wells' Car Country (University of Washington Press, 2012)

Christopher W. Wells, Car Country: An Environmental History. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2012. ISBN 978-0-295-99215-0.
Christopher Wells' environmental history of the automobile in America to 1960 fills an important gap concerning our knowledge of the complex relationship that evolved between the adoption of the car and changes in the land.  Indeed, both rural and urban use in the U.S. experienced a profound transition during the first half of the twentieth century, much of it due to the widespread diffusion of the automobile. But it was not a one way street, so to speak, as landscape changes did much to prepare the way for the automobile to be at the center of American life. As highways and byways were constructed in response to the needs of numerous constituencies and resulting traffic, the nation became covered with concrete and asphalt, its nonrenewable energy reserves depleted, and its air fouled. Concurrently, however, in the trade-off, Americans reaped the benefit of sustained economic growth, flexibility and freedom for the constraints of space, a psychological obsession with speed, and the conveniences associated with a savings of time.
Beginning with a survey of transportation during the late 19 century and ending with the emergence of a full blown automobile-dependent Car Country in 1960, Wells takes us on a rather relaxed journey that centers on the built environment, arguing that the evolving constructed environment resulted in an America where for most individuals, cars became indispensable to everyday living.  Thus what we are left with is a classic case of path dependency. Yet imbalance rather than authentic flexibility was the dominating characteristic inherent to American transportation options by mid-twentieth century. And in attempting to understand how and why this happened, Wells subsequently pursued a line of scholarship that takes us to this book.
Divided into four sections and held together with a chronological thread, the author's main argument is that land use in America was the key to determining American driving patterns. Land was set aside for various types of thoroughfares (the infrastructure), and traffic laws, policies, and practices were negotiated amongst a group of technical specialists, urban planners, business interests, politicians, and the public. What ultimately emerged was a monoculture "that sacrifices environmental resiliency and complexity," and that this "lost complexity is not just ecological, but social, technological, and economic as well." (p. 289). The spirit of this book, then, borrows much from Jane Jacobs The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961) and Jane Holtz Kay's Asphalt Nation (1998), without being nearly as shrill as the latter.
While much of the contents of this book contained no real surprises, two ancillary topics were of particular interest to this reader.  First, and drawing on the perceptive work of Peter Norton, Wells raises an important question concerning the viability of what might be called the "love-affair" thesis associated with automobility in America. And here he is right on in characterizing this interpretation as being on thin ice. More likely the love affair with the automobile reflected the thoughts of only a small minority of American car owners at any one time in history, and was perhaps the product of Detroit Three publicists and their journalist followers. This is definitely an area that needs careful fleshing out, but it is safe to say that for many Americans the automobile was always a contrivance to take them from one place to another, and nothing more.  Secondly, in his discussion of the Ford Model T, Wells claims that "The American environment -- and especially poor American roads -- thus had a direct and profound impact on how automotive technology evolved in the United States." (p.44). Again, the author is on to something important conceptually, but he does not follow this up with much of an historical analysis beyond the coming of the closed car in the 1920s. To examine the changing environment in the post-World War II era and engineering and design seems to be a logical follow up, with perhaps fruitful consequences in terms of the history of technology. Such an approach may well begin to explain Detroit excesses during the 1950s and 1960s.
In sum, Wells' monograph is a thoroughly researched and extremely well documented study. The attached bibliography is of real value to anyone interested in transportation history.  I will assign this book in my car culture courses, as it is exemplary of excellent scholarship.

John Heitmann
Department of History
University of Dayton

Dayton, Ohio 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

GM, the U.S. Treasury, and China


Saving General Motors from bankruptcy was among President Obama’s most frequently cited achievements when he ran for re-election last year. Democrats everywhere touted the company’s revival as proof of the 2009 bailout’s wisdom. That was then. Now, Obama has quietly released the auto manufacturer from a bailout requirement that it increase its production in the U.S. Instead, GM is spending billions of dollars building up its production capacity in ... China.
This is happening despite the fact that the Treasury Department has to date recovered just $36 billion of its original $51 billion loan to GM. By most analysts’ predictions, American taxpayers will be out approximately $10 billion when the remaining stock is sold off. Which is a long way of saying that it now appears that taxpayers paid $10 billion to make it easier for GM to accelerate its foreign outsourcing and send more manufacturing jobs to China.
Here’s what happened: In exchange for the bailout in 2009, GM promised to meet certain domestic car production targets over the next four years. The obvious point of this stipulation was to ensure that GM jobs remained here at home and weren't shipped overseas. The production targets started at 1.8 million in 2010 and were supposed to rise to 2.26 million by 2014. GM repeatedly missed the targets, beginning with an 81,000-unit shortfall the first year. Production increased thereafter, but never quite enough to meet the targets. Last year, GM fell about 13,000 cars short of its 2 million target.
How did it do this year? GM refuses to say. But in February, GM announced in its annual report to shareholders that Treasury had agreed to “irrevocably waive certain of its rights” regarding the federal loan. These included “certain manufacturing volume requirements.” Guess what happened next? GM announced in June that it would stop releasing its North American production figures altogether. Its spokesman tried to justify this move with Orwellian doublespeak about how providing more information would result in “an incomplete data set to look at.”
The same month, GM announced it would boost its output from its China plants by 70 percent. It is not just selling Chinese-made cars to the Chinese, either. GM is nearly doubling its export production capacity there from 77,000 units to 130,000. It doesn’t take a Ph.D. in economics to see what is really going on. GM cannot make the domestic production targets and still turn a profit. It wants to be spared the embarrassment of having everyone know that. Obama, who is in this as deep as anyone can be, doesn’t want the embarrassment, either. So both buried the news.
It is yet more proof that Mitt Romney was right in the 2012 presidential campaign: GM should have gone through a traditional bankruptcy instead of the politicized farce of a taxpayer-funded bailout and government managed “bankruptcy.” The TARP funds involved could have instead been used to provide liquidity for a managed sale to a private buyer that minimized the opportunities for political interference in the new GM’s operations.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Society of Automotive Historians' Friend of Automotive History Award for 2013 -- Dr. Fred Simeone

Well me presenting the award Plaque to Dr. Simeone. My head must be moving -- it looks like xome sort of face of an alien that you see when watching "Outer Limits."

Taken from a nomination letter for Dr. Simeone:

Dr. Fred Simeone is a highly accomplished American neurosurgeon. He won numerous accolades in medicine in addition to saving countless lives. Fred has over the years developed interests in many other endeavors. These have included music, the arts, and a general attraction to all manner of civic-minded activities in his native Philadelphia. That is not by itself unusual. Many people who are accomplished in the upper echelons of intellectually and physically demanding disciplines find solace in disparate but equally challenging avocations. But few have transformed what was once a pastime into a full-fledged second career and then become as successful with that as with the first.

Fred Simeone’s passion for fine automobiles is not new. He is a second generation “car guy” and parlayed his boyhood delights into a systematic approach to collecting. Surgery requires thoughtful research on each individual case followed by precise and decisive action. Dr. Simeone has approached automobile history from a similar depth. He has championed the notion that the automotive collector and museum community primary role is the stewardship of this important artifact and that future generations will assess how well that task has been accomplished. Through the words of his books and articles on the subject and such deeds as the establishment of the Simeone Foundation Automotive he has eloquently set the community on the proper path. The award winning museum has rapidly become a nexus for creating dialogue between the machines and the people behind them on the one hand and the broader society on the other. Fred is guiding this along with the same devotion as he provided to his many patients. Thanks to him, the field of automotive history is in goods hands. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Radiator Mascots













A.A.C.A. Meeting at Hershey, October 9-11,2013 -- Images

This fellow was proud about his roller gas can. He paid $250 for it.

Pat the witch from Long Island!  She was selling her father's memorabilia. A very nice person.  

Folks like this are often seen with signs attached looking for specific and odd parts.

A cigar smoker enjoying the scene.

Car Corral. Most of these cars are overpriced -- many you couldn't give me.


Body parts and Detroit iron galore.



A very wet end of the week in Hershey, PA -- It was supposed to be sunny!  These photos were taken Thursday while it was still drizzling.  But this morning and last night it is raining like hell.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

More on African-Americans and Cadillacs

Some reflections after reading several years of the Los Angeles Tribune, an African-American Newspaper. First, the color of the Cadillac was almost always mentioned in the articles and entries.  It could be as simple as white(which is mentioned more than any other color by far!), or as colorful as robin-egg blue, pink, or lavender. Often it was mentioned in news about performers,whether it be Sam Cooke, Sammy Davis, Jr,. Eartha Kit, or Duke Ellington. Other owners included ministers, funeral home directors, bookies, pimps, drug dealers, lawyers, or those with underworld connections. Several times, notorious black traffic offenders or those wanted for other crimes were in the company of white women.
In the breezy social columns prominent African-Americans were sometimes listed as traveling in their Cadillacs, or enjoying their new Cadillac.

No other car is given such media attention in the Tribune, although The Ford Thunderbird and Lincoln Continental is mentioned in passing.





Cadillacs and African-Americans

Hi folks --  the content for this post was taken directly from the link below, a blog on politcs and other matters.
http://blackdaffodill.wordpress.com/2010/02/05/nicholas-dreystadt-and-gm-cadillacs-and-african-americans/

I am currently advising an African - American student in an independent study and am casting around for a topic.  After reading former stduent Peter Cajka's article that was published in the Automotive History Review in 2009 I thought of the possibilities of a paper on African Americans and Cadillacs. I started looking through a number of African American newspapers and then found this remarkable post on the Internet. I knew of Dreystadt and included him in my The Automobile and American Life, but did not use this remarkable story.

Nick Dreystadt



Nicholas Dreystadt and GM, Cadillacs and African-Americans
So. I have always vaguely wondered about the rather unique love-affair between African-Americans and the Cadillac. I stumbled across this story in a book called The Chrome Colossus by Ed Cray, while doing some research for my dissertation…
It is 1932, and GM is actually at the point of abandoning the Cadillac forever…what was on the cutting board? This beauty of an automobile:
Nicholas Dreystadt, head of the Cadillac division, breaks into the meeting
As Cadillac service manager, Dreystadt had earlier discovered that the car was very popular with the small black bourgeoisie of successful entertainers, doctors and ghetto businessmen. A surprising number brought Cadillacs in for service–surprising because corporate policy was not to sell Cadillacs to blacks at all; the Cadillac was reserved for the white prestige market. “But the wealthy Negro,” business critic Peter F. Drucker recalled, “wanted a Cadillac so badly that he paid a substantial premium to a white man to front for him in buying one. Dreystadt had investigated this unexpected phenomenon and found that a Cadillac was the only success symbol the affluent black could buy; he had no access to good housing, to luxury resorts, or to any other of the outward signs of worldly success.”
Overwhelmed by Dreystadt’s audacity and bemused by his proposal, the committee gave him eighteen months in which to develop the Negro market. By the end of 1934, Derystadt had the Cadillac division breaking even, and by 1940 had multplied sales tenfold… (Cray 279)
It is one side of the story to be sure, a comfortable retelling of an atrocious racism prevalent in this most American of institutions. And all of America. There must be so much more to it of course, but what a fascinating glimpse from a very corporate angle. Turned around, in spite of the fury it inspires, it seems to say that African-Americans saved the Cadillac from extinction. What did they save again?

God damn. I know it’s conspicuous consumption, but I continue utterly smitten with the craftsmanship and beauty of something such as this.
But there is more. I continue reading and 50 pages later I find this story from the WWII years:
Dreystadt had accepted a contract to produce delicate aircraft gyroscopes. despite mutterings on the fourteenth floor that the job was a killer and needed skilled hands unavailable. The dissent turned to outrage when Dreystadt and his personnel manager, Jim Roche, hired 2,000 overage black prostitutes from Paradise Valley–uneducated, untrained, but willing workers. Dreystadt hired the madams too, blithely explaining, “They know how to manage the women.”
Dreystadt himself machined a dozen gyroscopes, then produced a training film detailing the step-by-step assembly process. Within weeks the women were surpassing quotas, and the outrage turned to chagrin on West Grand Boulevard. Jokes about Cadillac’s “red-light district” angered Dreystadt. “These women are my fellow workers, and yours,” he insisted. “They do a good job and respect their work. Whatever their past, they are entitled to the same respect as any one of our associates.”
Dreystadt knew he would have to replace these women at war’s end–returning veterans had job preference, and the United Auto Workers, heavily white male with a southern-states orientation, wanted the women out of the plant. “Nigger-lover” and “whore-monger” Dreystadt fought to keep some, pleading, “For the first time in their lives, these poor wretches are paid decently, work in decent conditions, and have some rights. And for the first time they have some dignity and self-respect. It’s our duty to save them from being again rejected and despised.” The union stood adamant.
When the women were laid off, a number committed suicide  rather than return to the streets. Nick Dreystadt grieved, “God forgive me. I have failed these poor souls.” (Cray 318-319)

Again, only one side and a highly problematic retelling of what is truly a remarkable story by any measure. And again, racism in bucketfuls. But who was this Nick Dreystadt really? And where are the other sides of this story to be found? I shall be looking, no fear…

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Barney Oldfield Photos

Portrait of motorist Barney Oldfield driving an automobile with the number two (2) painted on the body past the grandstands on the track at Harlem Race Track (formerly Harlem Jockey Club) located near Roosevelt Road and Hannah Avenue in Forest Park (formerly the Village of Harlem), Illinois. Spectators standing and sitting in the stands are visible in the background. 1905.
Portrait of race car driver Barney Oldfield and his mechanic sitting in a race car at Speedway Park in Chicago, Illinois. The auto has the number thirty-three (33) painted on the front and sides. Spectators are visible standing on the ground and in a three-story tower to the left of the image in the background. 1916.
Image of Barney Oldfield, automobile racer, driving a racing car along a racetrack in or near Chicago, Illinois. 1905.
Half-length portrait of Barney Oldfield, motorist, sitting in a car parked next to a garage in Chicago, Illinois. 1905.
Half-length portrait of Barney Oldfield, motorist, facing camera, sitting in a room in Chicago, Illinois. 1905.

African Americans and Automobiles in 1906 -- How to Overcome Jim Crow in Nashville



Source: Cleveland Journal, 1/13/1906, p.1

Girls in Convertibles: Images from the Past






Girls and convertibles -- they go together. The convertible is the ultimate expression of freedom and romance. Unlike a closed car with its constraints -- reflective of  life itself -- the convertible opens one up to the world and its possibilities. The wind,weather, light, sounds -- all make one feel more alive.

The Transition to all Steel Automobile Bodies During the 1920s: Budd Coachwork

Cars as Homes
            Since the 1920s, the home and the automobile have been inexorably linked.39 Perhaps a word should be said at the outset about psychological meaning of these two things. The word home – and clearly very different than house – has a meaning that is distinctive in American culture and in the English language. For example, home is not exactly translatable in the Italian, French, or Hungarian languages. It is a sacred place to many, a sphere in which inhabitants shape a material environment that is essentially reflective of self. For many individuals, the home is a place of relaxation, comfort, and intimacy with others. The walls and ceiling of a home provide safety from the elements and hostile others. The home is also a place of special objects. In some cultures, the Middle East for example, the car dashboard contains numerous trinkets. A generation ago, St. Christopher medals were attached to many American dashboards. Not only did my parents always have a St. Christopher medal in the car, they also had other non-essential gadgets from time to time. For example, my cousin had a 1950 Oldsmobile with a vacuum-assisted pop-up bird on the dash that responded to increases and decreases in acceleration. It was like having a bird in a cage in the living room.
            In any case, typically for men, that special object attached to the home is often the automobile, a possession that conveys status; for women, the things that mean the most in a home are usually connected with loved ones or special people. According to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and Eurgen Rochenberg-Halton, the home “brings to mind one’s childhood, the roots of one’s being.”40 I can certainly attest to this with regards to the car as an extension of the home, as some of my first memories center on the dashboard, radio, ashtrays, lighter and upholstery of my father’s 1948 Chevrolet.
            For the car to be an extension of the home, it had to be closed rather than open, unlike the pre-WWI roadster or touring car. Thus, the first and undoubtedly most important step in creating personal space in the automobile was the closed steel body. Historian James J. Flink has called this development “the single most significant automotive innovation.”41 Almost immediately after World War I, public demand increased dramatically for a closed car that would no longer be a seasonal pleasure vehicle, but rather all-weather transportation. The few closed body cars built before WWI were extremely expensive and the work of custom coach builders. This rise in demand during the 1920s, coupled with a remarkable number of concurrent technical innovations in plate glass and steel manufacture, resulted in a revolution in production methods, productivity and economies of scale. William J. Abernathy has carefully characterized the transformation that took place on the shop floor and assembly line, the first fruits of which occurred when in 1921 Hudson first mass-produced a closed car. The transition away from rag tops (the word convertible was first used in 1927 and officially added to the Society of Automotive Engineers lexicon in 1928) was rapid and contributed to a venerable prodigy of production by the end of the 1920s, as depicted in Table 4.
Table 4. Transition from Open to Closed Cars
Year
Open Cars (%)
Closed Cars (%)
1919
90
10
1920
84
16
1921
78
22
1922
70
30
1923
66
34
1924
57
43
1925
44
56
1926
36
74
1927
15
85
Source:  John Gunnell, Convertibles: The Complete Story (Blue Ridge Summit, PA: 1984), 129.
            Significant improvements in the quality of sheet steel were certainly part of this story, but so too were developments in welding technology, the development of sound deadening materials, and construction of the single unit body. All of these innovations and far more were pioneered by the Budd Manufacturing Company. Typical of the Budd All-Steel ads of the mid-1920s was one that appeared in the Saturday Evening Post in 1926, with the headline “Put the Protection of All-Steel Between You and the Risks of the Road.”42 Like the safety inherent in a home, the steel body protected its occupants, especially women and children. The ad continued, “Self preservation is the first law on Nature. Today, with 19,000,000 cars crowding the highways . . . With the need for safer motoring more urgent than ever before . . . America is turning to the All-Steel Body. It is the greatest protection ever devised to prevent injury in the case of accident. See that your next car is so equipped!”  A second 1926 Budd ad, like the first mentioned, depicted a closed car traveling down a busy city street but in its own clear lane, separated on both sides by huge sheets of steel that prevented the masses of cars on each side from touching the car and harming its occupants. The headline for this ad read in part, “The protection which it [the all-steel body] brings to you and to your families is priceless – yet the cars which have it cost no more than those which do not.”43 Clearly, the message was that Budd-engineered closed body cars were worth the money spent.







 The rationale Budd used in ads published during the 1920s continued during the 1930s in the General Motors ads featuring the “Turret-Top” design that contained such sentences as, “The instant feeling of security you get . . . is beyond price.”44 Surprisingly perhaps, the pitch toward safety was far more prevalent in ads of the 1930s than one might think, although ironically during the early 1930s convertibles were the center of many ads, even when closed cars were pictorially featured!45 On the eve of WWII, however, the theme of the home and the car was clearly brought together, as reflected in a Hudson advertisement featuring a beautifully attired woman sitting in a plushy upholstered rear seat. The ad touts the availability of “a wide selection of interior color combinations that harmonize with the exterior colors . . . at no extra cost!” This ad has clear-cut similarities in terms of an emphasis on color and comfort to paint ads of the same period, as exemplified by the Sherwin-Williams Paint and Color Style Guide of 1941.46
            In automobiles, up to now, one upholstery color has usually done duty with every body color. Carpets, floor mats, steering wheels, and trim have introduced still other assorted colors and tones.
            Now Hudson’s Symphonic Styling gives you, in your 1941 car, the kind of color that permit a wide variation in the details and equipment of each individual car, without interfering with orderly, efficient mass production. Symphonic Styling is the climax of this long-time development.47
            With the widespread adoption of the closed body car by the late 1920s, automotive engineers next turned their attention to the suspension system.48 To the uninitiated, suspension system engineering involves very complex mechanics and geometry.49 One area of concern focused on shock absorbers or dampeners. In addition to mechanical and hydraulic improvements, air springs, or the insertion of an inflatable inner tube inside a coil spring, was one strategy developed during the 1920s and 1930s to improve ride. A second involved driver control of the shock absorber system, and in 1932 Packard pioneered a Delco-Remy unit in which a cable mounted on the dash vastly enhanced ride quality and handling.50 The most important innovation, however, was the introduction of independent front suspension.51 First used by Mercedes in 1932, independent front suspension was installed in Cadillac, Buick, Oldsmobile and Chrysler vehicles in 1934, with Ford only adopting this technology after WWII. Pre-war Pontiacs and Chevrolets employed a not nearly as effective Dubonnot design. The potential advantages of independent front suspension, however, were never fully realized, however.

            The closed body style was designed for all-weather driving, as previously mentioned, but it took several decades before climate control within the personal space of the automobile became efficient and widely introduced. Beginning around 1925, aftermarket manufacturers began to sell hot water type heaters for American automobiles.52 The problem of heating the car was more difficult than what one might initially think: proper controls and the mixing of heated air coming from a heat exchanger with ventilated fresh air did not take place until 1937, when Nash introduced its WeatherEye system. Variants of the Nash system were introduced by Buick in 1941 and Ford in 1947 (Magic Air).