NZ Classic Driver
GLAMOUR ROAD: COLOR, FASHION, STYLE AND THE MID-CENTURY AUTOMOBILE
Jeff Stork & Tom Dolle ISBN 978 0 7643 6390 0 Reviewer’s own copy
Focusing on American cars of the 1950s and 1960s, this beautifully produced hardback contains a fascinating combination of automobiles, architecture, fashion and social change. The illustrations are almost all drawn from re-mastered contemporary advertising, much of it from the days when illustrations rather than photographs was the medium used.
All the US manufacturers are featured, from Kaiser and Studebaker to the Big Three. The earlier material often placed the new cars in a domestic setting, combining them with ranch style houses and the latest homewares as examples of the whole aspirational post-war ‘lifestyle’. How the manufacturers and their advertising agents treated women motorists, provides some fascinating contrasts: by 1952 Lincoln ads showed women behind the wheel while companies such as Cadillac tended to show them as glamorous accessories until the early 1960s.
Much of the advertising material used deserves the term ‘work of art’! There are campaigns photographed on assembly lines (Imperial) or on sand dunes (Lincoln). GM’s ‘damsels of design’ – women recruited to focus on interior designs – get a chapter. The impact of the likes of Mustang and Corvair is covered; there are incredible colour schemes (for upholstery as well as paint), glamorous models and male film stars abound, clever gadgets and driver aids come and go, the youth market becomes a focus when baby boomers reach driving age - but through it all, the cars are the stars!
Running to 256 large pages, this book truly is a visual treat as well as a really interesting read for anyone who believes, as I do, that there was something very special about that period of time in the world of automobiles!
$136 | Review by Mark Holman