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February 26, 2016 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Zoom. Fin. Flow.

Requires a driver or a pilot?

Answered with a grin.

1936 Stout Scarab. A sleek silver Art Deco van. NO permissions granted. ALl rights reserved Copyrighted.

In 1936, William Bushnell Stout put on a happy face. Notice the scarab in the center?©

Eat your heart out, hippies.

This beetle-shaped car has your flower-powered VW Van beat.

Art Deco era vehicles were not just for the ultra thin Jet Set. Families were offered aviation styling and aerodynamic rides, too.

 side view of 1936 silver Stout Scarab. ALL rights reserved. NO permissions granted. Copyrighted

Sleek and streamlined, the Stout Scarab sports a rear engine. Proud owners bragged it was a living room on wheels with moveable seats, folding table, and a backseat that folded into a couch.©

1936 Art Deco Stout Scarab. ALL rights reserved. Copyrighte. NO permissions granted

Designed to carry lots of passengers comfortably, less than 10 Scarabs were produced. Note the windshield panes come to a point in the center. Flash Gordon might mistake the Scarab for a space ship.©

Just for giggles, imagine this vehicle pulling an Airstream trailer behind it. It would be like a silver caterpillar caravan.

By now you are probably thinking the Scarab could be the ancestor of the VW Van and all the minivan mania.

Considering that, what do you make of this one?

 1938 Art Deco vehicle. Red Tanta T97. ALL rights reserved. NO permissions granted. Copyrighted

Does this bug you? A 1938 Tanta T97 designed in Czechoslovakia by Hans Ledwinka.©

rear view of 1938 Tantra T97

The streamlined teardrop shape was borrowed with permission from Zeppelin designer Paul Jaray. Appearing long before fin fright from the movie “Jaws”, this dorsal fin could be considered the first “fast-back”. The futuristic four door model was the smallest car produced by Tatra. Parts of this design were stolen and later appeared in the VW Beetle.©

Tatra wasn’t the only design that featured integrated fenders to improve aerodynamic form.

Chrysler Thunderbolt. ALL rights reserved. NO permissions granted. Copyrighted

Smooth ride promised by this sleek Chrysler Thunderbolt. Looks fast even standing still.©

Side view of Chrysler Thunderbolt showing wrap around chrome. ALL rights reserved. NO permissions granted. Copyrighted.

Wrap around ribbon of chrome was part of the design. Dreamily cloud-like with white sidewalls. All that’s needed is a flight crew.©

Life artfully done.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

Related post: “Cruise worthy. Auto go.

MFAH Sculpted in Steel exhibit of Art Deco cars. ALL rights reserved. Copyrighted. NO permissions granted

MFAH “Sculpted in Steel” exhibit of Art Deco era vehicles ©




  1. easyweimaraner / Feb 26 2016 6:40 am

    I want such a living room on wheels… even when I would need a new garage… it’s an artpiece :o)


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Feb 26 2016 6:59 am

      I’ve been told these vehicles were never so smooth and shiny in their original “real” life. But as surviving seniors representing an era, they are bound to feel pride at being so appreciated. Dreamy cool rides. I thought, paws down, you’d be the perfect owner for that one! Thanks for chasing the cars!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Paul / Feb 26 2016 6:46 am

    Beautiful engineering Phil. Thanks for showing us.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Feb 26 2016 8:14 am

      Do you think there’s any possibility if the things around people were elegant and beautiful instead of rough, hard, and jarring that it would impact people’s behavior positively and influence how the interacted with each other? Have to wonder.
      You’d be intrigued by close-up looks and all the historical context info the museum has recorded for each vehicle (a couple of free wheelers yet to be posted). Appreciate your drive by comment!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Paul / Feb 26 2016 8:17 am

        It does actually make a positive difference.The trick is that the beauty cannot be out of reach for the viewers. For instance when NYC cleaned up their subway cars and took off all the graffiti and polished them – the incidence of graffiti and violence in the subway both dropped off significantly.


        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Feb 26 2016 9:07 am

          Why are things so simple, so difficult? Environment counts. We think the Houston Museum of Fine Arts is doing a good job opening doors for free on some days, and offering interesting exhibits to pull people in…and maybe they will look at the other offerings, too. There’s food trucks beside the sculpture gardens, kids fun programs, music events, vintage films, and cool people having chats/informal lecture-presentations. The art world has done much harm by isolating art and making it seem apart from the ordinary world. Not to mention schools stopped offering art. What idiots.
          Interesting story about NYC. Thanks for parking that here!

          Liked by 1 person

        • Paul / Feb 26 2016 11:57 am

          We actually studied that in B-school and I have personally seen it work.. I was transportation manager for a large retailer and I also managed their shipping dept. I had about 90 direct reports – of which 15 were dock workers and the rest were drivers. My office was in the warehouse where I could literally see the loading dock (my choice). Anyway, our health and safety committee (I was secretary) identified the warehouse floors as an issue. They were concrete but the warehouse had been built on leda clay and the slabs were tilting.the warehouse was huge – about 400,000 sq ft (around 2/3 of miie from one corner to the kitty corner). We had 65 pieces of equipment working picking in the warehouse and their weight was hard on the floors. We got permission to have the floors leveled and all the cracks and divots repaired with a special epoxy (the levelling was done by injecting a polyurethane foam under the floors through holes they drilled in the low areas). this worked extremely well. In fact it worked so well, that we convinced the manager to set up a cleaning and sealing program that rotated around the warehouse doing a section every week. We already had a big ride-on floor cleaner and we had it rebuilt and upgraded. We assigned a very special guy to run this program – I truly think he had serious mental issues but lordy he loved those floors and he cleaned and maintained and defended his floors with his life. Get caught abusing his floors and no matter your rank – you were getting a lecture (he could do this because we did profit sharing and the owners had made it clear that we were all responsible for profits – even if it meant questioning or criticising up to and including the owner.)

          Anyway, you could eat off the warehouse floors – they sparkled, a tough job to make concrete look that way. When we did this our sick days dropped by 50% and so did our warehouse equipment maintenance. It was surreal but it happened.

          Liked by 1 person

        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Feb 26 2016 12:45 pm

          Confirmation from the real world. Amazing story. I’ve seen floors maintained like that – even though a “common” material, they looked gorgeous and elegant. Takes a determined craftsman to maintain that. Pride and care. Proof it ALL makes a difference. Thanks for trucking that on over to share

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Larissa Thomson / Feb 26 2016 7:39 am

    Absolutely gorgeous! Likewise for the pictures / cars on your post the other day. Thank you so much for sharing these and their fascinating histories!


  4. D. Wallace Peach / Feb 26 2016 8:58 am

    Well, I do have to say these are a little strange compared to the last batch 🙂 What wonderful creativity, though, and I love the idea that they were actually produced and can be viewed today. The Scarab pulling and Airstream would be a great combo!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Feb 26 2016 9:10 am

      The cars sort of grouped themselves, didn’t they? More “I Love Lucy” than Garbo. We need more smiles on the roads. Thanks for steering a comment this way. Have a great weekend!

      Liked by 2 people

      • D. Wallace Peach / Feb 26 2016 9:14 am

        Yes, definitely more “I Love Lucy” than Garbo. Great analogy!


  5. Kate Crimmins / Feb 26 2016 9:38 am

    Pretty cool!

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Feb 26 2016 10:23 am

      I’d have to have a new wardrobe if we had one…and unchipped nail polish. Bet there wasn’t much eating in the cars allowed? Thanks for the smooth comment

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Ally Bean / Feb 26 2016 10:10 am

    We’re in the throes of buying a new car and I can guarantee you none of the new cars look anywhere as swanky as these vehicles. Such a different time it was.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Feb 26 2016 10:21 am

      One thing about modern cars, you don’t feel like you have to be dressed up with fancy clothes, hats, and gloves just to ride in them – flip flips work. Not envying you with car dealers (shiver). Thanks for shifting gears to leave a message


  7. betterphotos4you / Feb 26 2016 12:40 pm

    The REAL Metal cars, Love that period in History, things were built to Last in this throw away world now


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Feb 26 2016 12:47 pm

      Once people took care to make sure things lasted – and they did. Wonder if people have become so used to one-use-throw-and-replace that the attitude is carrying over to interactions with people. Habits are easy to establish and difficult to break.Thanks for parking an astute observation


  8. shoreacres / Feb 26 2016 4:19 pm

    All you have to do to confirm Paul’s point about the importance of the environment is stop by a local Kroger’s or Randall’s, and then make a swing through the Arlan’s over on Nasa Parkway. I’ve started grocery shopping there because it’s so clean it’s slightly embarassing. I always feel the need to come home and do a little cleaning here. But it does make a difference — and I think it affects the attitudes of the employees toward customers, too.

    (Unrelated, but Btw: I presume you’ve seen the notice about the I-45 closure at Bay Area.)

    As for the cars, I prefer the previous batch, but I certainly thought about an Airsteam as soon as I saw the Scarab. It wouldn’t look too bad with a teardrop trailer, either. Fun times, that’s for sure.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Feb 26 2016 5:39 pm

      Funny, your observations about those 2 stores are part of the reasons I have stopped going there. Arlan’s is really nice: store, products, and people. Wish it was closer – traffic that direction is a big deterrent to me. (Like that over-underpass flip thing is going to be of much help at Baybrook area…once again another weekend to stay put.)
      Garbo beats the “I Love Lucy” models. I forgot about the teardrop trailers – might need to drive that direction for some post. Interested in the company secret espionage that VW pulled off for their bugs – quite a story there.
      Thanks for shifting gears to park a comment


  9. Cynthia Reyes / Feb 29 2016 2:24 pm

    What remarkable vehicles!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 1 2016 8:23 am

      So far from today’s daily drivers. From an era thrilled with modern flight and machinery, sleek and elegant ruled then. Now is it that people are in such a hurry, that grace and style have little? A slight return might be well welcomed. Thanks for rolling in with a comment

      Liked by 1 person

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