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Link - by A. Abrams

"American Dream", as seen in the vintage ads

Long gone since the 80s (finished by gasoline prices and "imports" competition) these dinosaurs still hold power over public imagination and true car connoisseurs; their outrageous size and engine's unbridled power give off a statement of pure excess, and some wild optimism.

The world has moved on, but the vintage styling (transformed into a sort of "retro fantasy") is preserved by such sites as Plan 59 (former "Ephemera Now"). With their kind permission, we present the AMERICAN CAR of the 50s and 60s AD RETROSPECTIVE, a showcase for the American Dream of Happy Motoring (make sure to visit their site for loads more of great automobile ephemera).

We'll start with the visualization of a FUTURISTIC HIGHWAY, showing repair crews and driver-less lanes:

I promise to post more futuristic highway images later, some from science fiction pulp magazines - exciting visions of the world dominated by cars and built for cars, with people as an afterthought.

The mainstream car ads, however, painted more family-friendly picture, in many cases just as removed from reality, but speaking to the sensibilities of the era. It was not only an advertisement for a car, but also for the goodness of American Family and whole American Way of Life. No communist of 50s could see such pictures without the sinking realization that they have lost the Cold War.

The glamor of vintage car styling is most obvious when combined with the glamor of the 50s and 60s era beauties (an approach that is entirely missing from car advertisements today). Miss America would be expected to pose with the latest luxury car, making an unforgettable statement.

The standards of beauty has changed, together with the idea of what constitutes a perfect automobile. The "glitz" and glaring excess of American vintage cars would live on as an example of a dream, perhaps never to be fully realized.

Main image sources: Plan59.com, used by permission; Old Iron Online


- "Cars & Girls, Part Four: The Very Definition of Eye-Candy!"


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Category: Automobile, Vintage


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

"perhaps never to be fully realized" Yes. We were very lucky that it never realized. We would be in a pretty bad shape by now. LOL

Blogger Dax Ruckus said...

I love cars, and I love Plan 59. This has been one of my favorite posts of yours, ever. I have a '59 fairlane galaxie 500...you just cant beat the styling of the 50's and 60's! Thanks!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"their outrageous size and engine's unbridled power give off a statement of pure excess"

True, but many of today's automobiles rival their weight and easily exceed their power. Modern mid-luxury sport sedans are quicker, faster, handle immeasurably better, and are scads safer than their counterparts of yore. We're truly living in a new Golden Age of the Automobile!

Blogger RK Auto said...

I really wish that the days of those kinds of cars could come back. Who knows, maybe one day when they find something better than oil to fuel cars.

Blogger Dave Yaros said...

FOR THE CLASSIC CAR BUFF: Get your fill every month by reading a free, online, no ad, newsletter covering all aspects of the old car hobby; Collector Car Chronicles found online at -


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