NZ Classic Driver

GLAMOUR ROAD: COLOR, FASHION, STYLE AND THE MID-CENTURY AUTOMOBILE

(Schiffer Publishing)

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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

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