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February 24, 2016 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Cruise worthy. Auto go.

Proof some mirages do exist. Dreams touched.

Sleek bronze roadster.1937 Delahaye 135 Roadster by French coach builders Figoni and Falaschi. All rights reserved. Copyrighted. NO permissions granted

Like an ocean wave. Delahaye 135 Roadster by French coach builders Figoni and Falaschi for 1937 Paris Auto Show. All aluminum body, red leather interior by Hermes. Plenty of horsepower with a disappearing front windshield. Sleek fluid chrome details were signature. You’d have to shell out some for that one.©

bronze art deco era roadster. front view. ALL rights reserved. Copyrighted. NO permissions granted

Appropriately tagged “Sculpted in Steel” the classic grace and luxury of Art Deco vehicles draws admirers even today.

ca Silver Art Deco era car. Hispano-SuizaH6B Dubonnet"Xenia" coupe

Flight worthy: Hispano-SuizaH6B Dubonnet”Xenia” coupe. Birkgit’s auto and aircraft engineering company had a reputation for not only mechanical durability, but also speed, performance, and luxury. Designer Jean Andreau, who designed avant-guard streamlined aircraft and cars, worked with Parisian coachbuilder Jacques Saoutchik to build this one to look resemble an airplane with even the interior mimicking an airplane’s cockpit.  ©

Silver At Deco "Zenia". HMFA exhibit.

Nothing like a pretty face. “Xenia” coupe. Named after the designer’s late wife.©

Rear view of Xenia Art Deco car. ALL rights reserved. Copyrighted. NO permissions granted

Eat your heart out, Batman.©

Multiple reasons why these innovative dramatic cars would have no chance of hitting the road today:

  • First, no broads.  Not talking about women. No plus sizes of any sort to warm these snug leather seats. Did people try on cars like we try on shoes? Can insurance companies deny claims for weight loss treatments in order to fit into a classy car? Hobbies are healthy, right?
car. MFAH exhibit of Art Deco Cars. 1934 Edsel Fords Model 40 Special Speedster. ALl rights reserved. No permissions granted Copyrighted

This racy one’s mine. Now if you’ll just distract the guards. 1934 Edsel Fords Model 40 Special Speedster. Designed by styling chief E.T. “Bob”  Gregorie with Ford Aircraft Division fabricators. One of a kind made for Edsel B. Ford.©

  • Not your slap together quick-build vending machine cars. No “pick one from the pictures and it will be here next week.” Each of these classics were hand-made. Good, no, great things came to those who waited.
  •  Marketing departments would go nuts or disappear. Forget driving in crowds of eager buyers. Why advertise? Limited editions command high prices, so do the finest of materials. The problem would be scale of production. During this era of auto design, runs of car models were often limited to one to ten cars in total. Although exclusive designs still appeal to those who can afford them, customized existing models and cosmetics satisfy. Not the same.
Green Art Deco sedan with chrome accents and grille. ALL rights reserved. NO permissions granted. Copyrighted

The neighbors would be green with envy over this Chrysler Imperial Model C2 Airflow Coupe in your driveway.©

  • Chrome in its’ place. These cars were sleek, streamlined, with a good deal of influence from the aviation and industry. (Before NASA was even dreamed of.) Aerodynamics was as important as shiny. Grilles, headlamps, hood ornaments were part of the original cars’ concepts and designs, not aftermarket stick-ons to fancy up a dull vehicle ’cause that’s all you can afford.
  • Then there’s the freeways – which are anything but living up to their name. Endless lanes of crawling along, bumper car games, and the jerks (meaning “stop and go” as well as the drivers…) Repair costs on these sleek beauties would be sky high even if detailed oriented craftsmen could be found. Fine work takes forever complete. Not for fast paced consumers today. Don’t even get started on road rage possibilities.
Car. Art Deco era. Talbot-Lago T150C-SS Teardrop Coupe. ALL rights reserved. Copyrighted. NO permissions granted.

Ready to sweep you off your feet. Talbot-Lago T150 C-SS Teardrop Coupe.©

view of front grill and red fenders of Art Deco Coupe. ALL rights reserved. Copyrighted

Another pretty face. Sparkle, Baby. Bush on the cheeks or ruby-red nail polish is always classic.©

  • Regulations might keep them parked. These vehicles are heavy weights, but built for speed. There weren’t any crumple zones, headrests, airbags, or seat belts. Not for wimps or the overly protective.
Black Art Deco era car with a coffin nose. ALL rights reserved. NO permissions granted. Copyrighted. MFAH exhibit

Gleaming beauty. This hood shape is often called a “coffin nose” by gear heads.  Just coincidence, I’m sure.©

  • Comfort zone limits. Seriously. People had to actually crank windows up and down or push them open at the bottom. Primitive. Exhausting.
Art Deco era Bugatti. ALl rights reserved. NO permissions granted. Copyrighted.

Ready to bug out in this classy Bugatti? We’ll made do without the back up cameras.©

Side view of Bugatti in the MFAH exhibit. ALL rights reserved. No permissions granted. Copyrighted

Of course the paparazzi will follow, but you can outrun them.©

The years between the 1920s-1930s produced some of the most elegant, creative auto designs ever.

Glamor, grace, and innovation.

Machine inspired. Artistically desired.

The Museum of Fine Arts Houston is featuring some of the best in their latest exhibit, “Sculpted in Steel: Art Deco Automobiles and Motorcycles 1929-1940.”

Art Deco styling influenced everything from fashion, fine arts, architecture and autos.

Proof world doesn’t have to be ugly and stark to function.

All a matter of choice and desire.

(The word “desire” somehow seems most appropriate for these cars.)

Wait until you see the really wild designs. Next time, the unusual ones. HA!

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

Grill and front view of orange Art Deco exhibit vehicle. ALL rights reserved. Copyrighted. No permissions granted.

Some Hollywood glam. Just seems to have petticoats and a Pin-up Girl attitude. 1930 Cord L-29 Cabriolet©

Car. side view of orange Art Deco exhibit vehicle . ALL rights reserved. Copyrighted. NO permissions granted

This car should cause a few ripples. Probably turned heads. Once owned by Frank Lloyd Wright. What a great car for prom.©

 

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32 Comments

  1. easyweimaraner / Feb 24 2016 6:02 am

    I’m not a wimp and I would like to drive it :o) but that they have no power steering, right?

    Like

  2. carolewyer / Feb 24 2016 6:05 am

    Wow! I loved this post and all those fabulous cars. I showed it to old Grumpy and he even managed a smile.

    Like

  3. The Hook / Feb 24 2016 6:30 am

    One speed bump would wreck these things!
    Fun Fact: The bellmen were just looking at pics of vintage cars like these models yesterday.
    Great minds and all that, right?

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Feb 24 2016 9:49 am

      The Universe works in strange and mysterious ways. Not designed for speed bumps or potholes, but touring in one of these takes it to a whole different realm….Wanna bet some travelers had the same attitudes as today, though? Suits, hats and gloves can cover up just so much. But most people then did try to have a sane “public face” and not “bring shame to the family name”? Thanks for stopping by to drop off a comment

      Like

  4. Paul / Feb 24 2016 6:46 am

    Love these beautiful designs. There was a local company – The Guild – who just spent 5 years reconstructing a 1934 Bugatti Aerolithe from the ground up using original materials and pictures only. None of the four originally built have survived. They used the original metal , magnesium, for the construction and it is so hard to work with that the metal supplier said they could not build a car from it. There is about 100 degree band that can be used for welding – above that and it burst into flames, below that and the weld did not take. It was done for and sold to a Saudi prince and is currently on display in Saudi Arabia. here is the story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EU-yHC_2Z8Y

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Feb 24 2016 10:04 am

      Reconstructing those classics would be quite a feat. It was an era of so much “new”: materials, aviation mania, and a search for high styled glamour. Thanks for the link and the story. (Really heavy!)

      Like

  5. Kate Crimmins / Feb 24 2016 8:45 am

    You caught me at no back up camera! I’m a wuss. Locally we have an auto museum too. I haven’t been there but it’s a favorite of my husband.

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Feb 24 2016 11:13 am

      The museum of fine arts has quite an Art Deco collection, but is doing unique exhibits to appeal to people who normally wouldn’t visit. Have to admit featuring cars as sculpture is creative. I think they are planning to have live music of the era, too. (That would make it just about a perfect experience) It was interesting to see the reactions from attendees of various ages from ancient smilers in wheel chairs to the very young who haven’t seen such whispers of glamour that used to be seen in ordinary life. After this, guess I’ll be dragged to various car museums without too much protest. Thanks for adding a backup comment

      Liked by 1 person

  6. JunkChuck / Feb 24 2016 9:27 am

    I’ll take the Delahaye.

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Feb 24 2016 11:16 am

      Even more impressive was the 1937 Competition Delahaye coupe version. It was such a high gloss black and had so many admirers, I was never able to get a good picture of it. As if it knew it was too remarkable to capture. Thanks for driving over a comment

      Like

  7. D. Wallace Peach / Feb 24 2016 9:45 am

    Spectacular. Those are beauties (and I’m not even a car aficionado). I’d deal with cranking up the window if one of those landed in my driveway. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Feb 24 2016 11:19 am

      Even the tiniest details were elegant. Some of the windows and doors were hinged with airplane fittings. I didn;t realize aviation enthusiasm permeated so much of design of everything at the time Cool indeed. Thanks for driving in with a comment

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Carrie Rubin / Feb 24 2016 10:01 am

    A car show that might even interest me. And that’s saying a lot.

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Feb 24 2016 11:26 am

      The Fine Arts Museum’s presentation and selection certainly makes this an impressive exhibit. Gear head husband says these car may look better now than when they were new and on the streets. Collectors have perfected that show car finish. The cars really are sculpture…not like the practical travel boxes we use today. Thanks steering a comment this way

      Liked by 2 people

  9. shoreacres / Feb 24 2016 10:14 am

    Keels and Wheels, eat your heart out! There are some nice cars at the Lakewood show, but nothing like this.I’m not even much of a fan of fancy cars, but these are something else. And restoration is as far from repair as Velveeta is from a nice Asiago. I know a fellow who did one boat restoration, and it took three years and more money than you or I have. It’s pure art — and these cars show it.

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Feb 24 2016 11:33 am

      Sculpture and pure art indeed. Era of true elegance. It was as much fun watching the older crowd viewing and telling stories about “back when…” as seeing the cars themselves. Historical and social contexts always adds a lot. Return trip already planned. Thanks for steering over this way

      Like

  10. Ally Bean / Feb 24 2016 11:58 am

    You had me at “red leather interior by Hermes.” Ooh-la-la! I wonder if this exhibit will go on the road and find its way up north. Looks divine.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Feb 24 2016 12:11 pm

      The fine artisan craftsmanship is incredible. Not one tiny detail of Walmart quality.
      I understand Nashville started developing a classic vehicle as exhibit like this but the concept never went anywhere. I can’t imagine this one not traveling elsewhere. It’s simply to die for. Thanks for packing in a comment

      Liked by 1 person

  11. colonialist / Feb 24 2016 2:58 pm

    Some pretty little toys, with impressive lines. For my personal tastes, however, nothing quite compared with the classic Jaguars. Even the Daimler I graduated to before I miniaturised wasn’t quite in the same class.

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Feb 24 2016 4:51 pm

      The vintage ( as in “not the ones in production now”) jags are pretty elegant. Great choice for a ride. Thanks for rolling in with a comment

      Like

      • colonialist / Feb 25 2016 8:21 am

        My favourite was my XJ6 manual with overdrive. Purring contentedly while going like the wind, and with classic good looks.

        Like

  12. marthaschaefer / Feb 25 2016 6:23 am

    Nothing to compare today. We all drive boring little boxes. No personality. I’m with Colonialist when it comes to the classic Jaguars. Until the demise of the S-Type they had class and presence. Now they just look like a Toyota…not your grandfather’s Jag indeed!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. aFrankAngle / Feb 25 2016 6:46 am

    Wow … now that’s quite the collection. You also triggered the thought of concept cars. Remember the cars of the future from when you were in elementary school? … well, most of them missed the mark. 😉

    Like

  14. Catherine Hamrick / Feb 25 2016 9:43 am

    What a cool transportation exhibit. Your captions really set off the images! Thanks for sharing.

    Like

  15. roughwighting / Feb 25 2016 1:51 pm

    These were built for ‘show,’ not for action, yes? But ahhh, the beauty.

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Feb 26 2016 6:45 am

      Actually these vehicle were on the streets and used as daily drivers. Quite sturdy and some had more power than today’s cars. Some in the exhibit even raced back then. Definitely beautiful from an era when even small details and buildings had such style. The emergence of airplanes and flight, and all the new machines influenced so many designs. A different feeling about objects used daily in today’s use once and throw away society. Did the beauty and grace rub off on their owners and those who saw?…If so maybe we should shift gears and consider design more. (That’s always the clash of philosophies) Thanks for parking a comment!

      Liked by 1 person

      • roughwighting / Feb 26 2016 6:48 pm

        Well, I didn’t know that! Yes, I think beauty and grace and elegance can rub off on the user, for sure. Perhaps elegance can drive a person to be in top form. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  16. jmmcdowell / Mar 5 2016 1:53 pm

    Those are some classic beauties! One reason I still enjoy watching the old PBS versions of Agatha Christie’s “Poirot” is to see the craftsmanship that went into everything from cars to furniture at the time. And, hey, even I remember crank windows! 🙂

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 9 2016 8:14 am

      Real charmers – you can just imagine the people that were around/encountered these. Observing the detail is a reason I like finely produced period shows. You can read about it, but seeing the items adds so much. Wonder if kids now would find crank windows fun? We did. (Ah, the power of a window seat…). Thanks for rolling a comment to this driveway.

      Like

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