HistoryBuff

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About HistoryBuff

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  • Birthday 09/19/1954

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    Long time history buff; have researched books, now working on TV show about LeMans in '50s & '60s

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  1. Here s some pictures. Looks like it had a folding metal hardtop unlike the two seater Tbird which had a folding cloth top and a removable hardtop
  2. I noticed Linc. is having opera doors again as an option, so I started looking for other great ideas they could revive and found this two seater concept car which looks a lot like the production two seater Thunderbird. :I was wondering if the car was sold when Ford had a sale of former dream cars, some of which looked photographable but didn't have working drive trains. Here's some publicity pablum The Lincoln Mark X (ten in Roman numerals) from the 2004 Detroit Motor Show is a true American Luxury cruiser with a power retractable glass hard top.The minimalist exterior of the Mark X is no-nonsense and businesslike. The focus of the exterior is the imposing chrome grille, which incorporates the 'C' shaped headlights flowing into two chrome strips running the length of the car along its shoulders.The right combination of contrasting colors and textured materials presents a modern and luxurious interior. Mark X's Lime Sorbet coloured interior is complemented with White Corian accents, polished aluminum, dark chrome, natural grain leather seating, plush sheepskin flooring and tailored tone-on-tone stitching throughout. The instrument panel integrates a softly illuminated, jewel-like instrument cluster that combines analog with digital technology.Chief designer of the Mark X, Marek Riechman says of the car - "The focus with Mark X was on pure, integrated design. Our holistic exterior and interior design approach instantly shows its rewards…"
  3. I have one on order. but love to hear if you agree iwththe portrayal or feel they left anything out.? I think themore Ilook at Motorama cars the more of a genius I think he was. Here's the publisher's description Fins Harley Earl, the Rise of General Motors, and the Glory Days of Detroit by William Knoedelseder On Sale: 09/18/2018 $29.99 Spend $49 and get FREE shipping on HC.com Format: Hardcover E-book Digital Audiobook Unabridged Trade PB Quantity: ADD TO CART Amazon Barnes & Noble Books-A-Million IndieBound ABOUT PRODUCT DETAILS PRAISE The New York Times bestselling author of Bitter Brew chronicles the birth and rise to greatness of the American auto industry through the remarkable life of Harley Earl, an eccentric six-foot-five, stuttering visionary who dropped out of college and went on to invent the profession of automobile styling, thereby revolutionized the way cars were made, marketed, and even imagined. Harleys Earl’s story qualifies as a bona fide American family saga. It began in the Michigan pine forest in the years after the Civil War, traveled across the Great Plains on the wooden wheels of a covered wagon, and eventually settled in a dirt road village named Hollywood, California, where young Harley took the skills he learned working in his father’s carriage shop and applied them to designing sleek, racy-looking automobile bodies for the fast crowd in the burgeoning silent movie business. As the 1920s roared with the sound of mass manufacturing, Harley returned to Michigan, where, at GM’s invitation, he introduced art into the rigid mechanics of auto-making. Over the next thirty years, he functioned as a kind of combination Steve Jobs and Tom Ford of his time, redefining the form and function of the country’s premier product. His impact was profound. When he retired as GM’s VP of Styling in 1958, Detroit reigned as the manufacturing capitol of the world and General Motors ranked as the most successful company in the history of business. Knoedelseder tells the story in ways both large and small, weaving the history of the company with the history of Detroit and the Earl family as Fins examines the effect of the automobile on America’s economy, culture, and national psyche. - Read Less
  4. Are Design Renderings Fine Art? Well, this can of worms was opened when the respected Detroit Institute of Arts announced they will be doing a retrospective on car design in 2020. Included will be some real cars (not room for more than ten) and some design renderings, maybe as few as 35. Which will mean that design renderings originally one at automakers' behest, will be in an art museum. Which to me automatically makes them "fine art." I have a little battle going with a man who is in a society of automotive fine artists who says drawings made on the way to a final product are not "fine art." He uses the example of drawings of a chair which he says are not art when the final goal is to get the chair designed. As an admirer of the Eames chair, I protest because I think as the chair is beautiful, so must be the original conception drawings that led to it. I can see a furniture designer wanting to put those drawings on his wall as a monument to Charles and Ray Eames. I come to this subject as a historian (18 car histories under my belt) I admire certain car designers throughout history and a lot of them, part of my admiration is based on their renderings of cars to come. Say for instance, Virgil Exner Sr.’s drawings of the Stutz Blackhawk. Beautiful drawings and beautiful car! In fact, I daresay that some designers got the contract to go ahead and do a production model, or even a one off, rbased on their drawings. So what they created in a few hours or days spawned a great design that we can drive around. Now with Detroit designers, time was that they were not allowed to take work home with them. One I knew who did was Larry Shinoda, who did the Mako Shark and early drawings for the Stingray production car. He used elaborate schemes to smuggle them out. Sometimes car companies went broke and they threw everything in the dumpster! (and the only reason we have some drawings of what they created was because of a dumpster diver!) There have been occasions when car designers drawings have been displayed to concours d’elegance, but only one here or there. I remember being entranced decades ago at the Greenfield Village Car Show by a Wayne Kady drawing of a car with a long long hood, some sort of modern Cadillac with 1930’s Deusy proportions. THE DETROIT INSTITUTE OF ART REVERSES POLICY The Detroit Institute of Art, thought to be one of the preeminent art museums in the US for many decades refused to consider car renderings as art. Period. And this is a town with probably 3000 to 5000 car designers. Now they are changing their mind—reportedly a new team there has decided that .Golly, the automobile could be considered an art form. Now if you want to get picky about definitions, “fine art’ is pretty vague as to what qualifies for that appellation, but I’ll wade into the battle, paintbrush in hand. I will admit that car designs done by some artist employed by an automaker or coachbuilder are done for a commercial purpose –i.e. to fit within a certain window. For instance let’s say a tiremaker was involved and so the car has to feature their whoopy do tire, so the illustrator, who might have already had the design laid out in his head, or rough drafts, has to “bend” the drawing or change it from his original conception so the tires look good. Or let’s say the design VP says “And make sure we can still use the tooling for the doors from the X model,” so again the artist is bending to commercial uses. So since we , looking at old design drawings now, aren’t aware of the hidden restrictions laid on the artist, we as an audience could conceivably deny them the description of “fine art” because the art world who have us believe fine art is done for aesthetics only, "pure" art as opposed to commercial art. But I say even commercial art can be fine art after the passage of time when its aesthetic values are more important than the original commercial uses. THIS IS YOUR REAL JOB…RIGHT? When queried, someone on the curation staff at the DIA told me that hey will only have 35 renderings and that they will span the time span from the early days of car renderings to the modern day when they are mostly done by computer. They also stated the drawings are privately owned. And none of them are for sale. I can see when one brings up the subject of ownership, it gets touchy. Because car companies do not want their designers doing fine art while on the job--they want them to put in maximum effort at work, solving the problem of the day, week or month ("Fred, give me five taillight treatments or that whatsiz...). I don't know what their attitude is toward after hours--but I don't imagine they would be too happy with an artist who puts all their effort into fine art at night that they plan to sell at a car show or gallery. For one thing there's the worry the artist might inadvertently give away the automaker's newest design trend, tip them off and competitors can beat them to the market with the idea. Another reason automakers hold their stores of old renderings sacred is you never know when you are going to go back to an old design, (“Say, Joe, can you go back to the ‘60s file and see how we did that Mustang Station wagon?”) and you as the boss wouldn’t want to go to the file drawer and see drawings that you remembered being there for decades gone. Your company paid for them! They are the intellectual property of that company just like 20th Century Fox has thousands of scripts they commissioned and which are a-molderin’ in a file but no one can take one out and sell it or produce it without buying it from 20th. Now I have met designers that handed out drawings of cars they designed. Among them Camilo Pardo of Ford and Ken Okuyama, one time of Pininfarina. In the first case I think Ford had selected Pardo to be a figurehead and approved of it. I don't know what Pininfarina thought but the fact is after designing three production cars there and one prototype , he was out. Generally I think it would make automakers nervous if the execs go to events and see designers in their employ handing out drawings. In both cases above, it was at the intro of a car and blessed by the automaker. AN AMNESTY BASED ON PETE BROCK We are only talking about a finite class of objects here because sadly most automakers are going over to computer generated design renderings. Which means there won't be the fine art-styled work on paper anymore. But there are hundreds of thousands of these drawings at automakers though some routinely had a cleaning out of the files, and sometimes designers were invited to go and take out their favorites. It was some of those that are being loaned to the Museum. I say let's eliminate any ambiguity in ownership. If designers have drawings at home, they and their families should be able to go and let the automaker copy them for their files and take back the original. Or automakers who want to clear their files should photograph everything and allow designers or their families to claim the originals in a "grace period." . A new understanding has to be made so the art world can show more design renderings. One venue I can see as a legit reason is at fund raisers, having designers submit art for sale in a silent auction benefitting charity and then the artist, upon a sale, might be able to write off the sold price off his income tax….(better check with Uncle Sam on this…) When I saw Pete Brock at the Art Center Classic show, I approached him about this. I remember seeing his drawing of the Cobra Daytona coupe for Shelby that he has used periodically to promote his talent. I posed the same question in this headline to him and he said he thought it was fine art, and that he himself went to automakers and got permission to use the art he did for them over 50 years ago, having them scan what he had, and so there is no problem. I suggest The Brock Approach be the model, that all designers who have art at home should be able to go to a central place, get it photographed and then they are free to keep the originals. This could even apply to deceased designers, their families could get the works scanned and keep/ and/or sell the originals. What kind of value are we talking about? I am talking potentially thousands. I haven't seen the complete list of selling prices the Italian auction house did of Bertone Carrozzeria drawings but I can imagine a Miura owner paying a [pretty price for an original Gandini sketch of the Miura. I mean after all, it's the man himself who was envisioning the car that hadn't yet been built. What greater tribute could you give the designer than to put that drawing on your wall? I say liberate the design renderings! What say you?
  5. This article is reprinted with my permission, I'm the author. I haven't heard anything about any theories of how the car plumb disappeared. It's not easy to rebody it , what body would fit over it, maybe a '53 Corvette but that body would have been hard to get ocmplete in '53? ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ THE MYSTERY OF THE MISSING 1953 CADILLAC LE MANS CONCEPT published JULY 16, 2013 Email A million-dollar show car vanished from Oklahoma. Why aren't the police right on it? Because the “crime,” if it was in fact a crime, happened half a century ago. The car was a Cadillac Le Mans, a two-seat concept, one of four made. They were built at the behest of 6' 6” Harley Earl, the towering showman who was General Motors' first VP in charge of design. Raised in Los Angeles, Earl had come from a tradition of custom car building. In fact, he grew up working in his father's business, which customized cars for show biz folk like Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle. The GM management noticed his efforts and hired him to come to Detroit in 1927 and spice up their cars. This really hurt Ford Motor Co. because Henry was still espousing his “any color as long as it's black” philosophy while Harley laid on the bright colors and chrome (his unit was originally called the “Art and Color Section”). It was Earl who started the Motorama shows, Broadway-type unveilings of concept cars -- then called “dream cars” -- accompanied by beautiful show girls. These shows kicked off at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York then went on tour across the country. Special cars were conceived for these shows, the idea being something like “we'll run this one up the flagpole and see who salutes.” Some concept cars did make it to production. The '53 Corvette, for instance, went from being a Motorama show car to a production vehicle that same year with the first 300 hand-built in Flint, Mich. One of the Cadillac Le Mans concepts was modified by General Motors stylists, receiving quad headlamps and sleek fins.PHOTO BY CONCEPTCARZ.COM But the missing show car last spotted in Oklahoma was not a proto-Corvette, though it also made its appearance in 1953 and also wore a fiberglass body: It is a Cadillac Le Mans concept car, one of just four made. Earl wasn't just borrowing the name of a famous automobile race -- the 24 Hours of Le Mans -- and sticking it on a marque that had no connection to motorsport. Sportsman millionaire Briggs Cunningham had, in fact, run Cadillacs at Le Mans in 1950. So, GM had every right to crow that fact in a concept car's name (unlike the Le Mans name GM would tack on to a Pontiac Tempest a decade or so later). The Cadillac Le Mans was a success as a styling study, with cues appearing across the Cadillac lineup throughout the 1950s. One car even received a refresh, reemerging from GM's styling division sporting quad headlamps and sleeker fins. But they never directly led to two-seat Cadillac production vehicles, so they were of little use to GM once their time as Motorama dream cars came to an end. Now Earl knew all these movie stars, and there weren't any emissions or safety equipment laws back then, so he could, and did, give or sell the ex-Motorama show cars to celebrities after their show biz days were over. One of the Cadillac Le Mans cars went to Harry Karl, a shoe magnate who gifted it to his wife, a statuesque blonde named Marie “The Body” MacDonald. Another was sold to a big Cadillac dealer in Beverly Hills who could have been customer of the Earl business back in the days of customizing for movie stars. The Cadillac Le Mans concept never made it to production, but its styling cues inspired Cadillac's lineup for years after its debut.PHOTO BY CADILLAC About that Oklahoma connection. One of the Cadillac Le Mans show cars was one of the stars of the Oil Progress Exhibition at the Oklahoma City airport in 1953, along with two other Motorama show cars: the Wildcat I and the Starfire. Then the Cadillac went on exhibit at Greenhouse-Moore Cadillac Chevrolet for two days during the first week of November. After Nov. 8 the car disappeared. Some say it went to Tulsa but the trail is cold -- real cold. One report says that Floyd Akers, a Cadillac dealer in the Washington, D.C. area bought it, raising the hopes of Cadillac history fans. But that report was scotched when it was discovered that he had bought one of the other Le Mans show cars. We first began trying to uncover the car's fate with an eye toward including it in his book “Incredible Barn Finds Vol. 2,” figuring that the car is worth between $400,000 and $2 million -- never mind that it might have to be completely restored when and if it is found. That's partially because the Le Mans is a stunning car, and partially because privately owned prototypes are very special things. Once the Harley Earl era ended, GM tightened up considerably when it came to selling concept cars and prototypes -- especially after the passage of emissions and safety regulations laws which made it illegal to sell cars that did not meet the standards of that model year. Despite those prohibitions, in the collector car world owning a prototype is a special honor. Every year half a dozen or so seem to slip out of the grasp of automakers and into private hands. At auction, they sometimes go for several million -- like the 1954 Oldsmobile F-88 (another ex-Motorama show car). The founder of a cable channel wanted to make it the star of his own car museum, and he paid over $3 million for the privilege. But back to the missing Le Mans. Innumerable questions remain: did GM ever report the car stolen? Did another statuesque blonde end up with the car? Is it still on the roads of Oklahoma, hiding under a nondescript car body? Maybe it remains a barn find waiting to happen… We hope these questions are enough to spawn a search… -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- If you read this far, I have a couple of theories: 1.)the partner in the firm might have had a lot less money than Mr. Greenlease and had a hand in the kidnapping, as $600K was paid out. But destroying that theory is that the kidnapper himself told police he heard about the wealthy Greenlease family while in jail and he spent a ;lot of the loot while on the run, though significant portions were missing. 2.) The only thing that further points toward the partner is his suicide in '54. I am not here to besmirch the partner's reputation, but there's no such thing as coincidence, and that's three things happening in one place in short order. Read more: https://autoweek.com/article/car-life/mystery-missing-1953-cadillac-le-mans-concept#ixzz5a3NdfNKk
  6. Here's the pictures. On the one with the stars, the stars seem randomly applied, on a real military jacket wouldn't they be in a neat row? Also on the back of the jacket there is a painting of a black panther atop the flag and the big number "43" was that a military unit? The ad says it is hand painted. And it is in the women's department! Another jacket from RLR Ranch had that yellow patch shaped like a shield with a diagonal black line and horse head (7th Cavalry?) I'm just interested in opinions on the popularity of distressed-or-old looking brand new clothing
  7. I get a laugh out of Ralph Lauren's Double R ranch line of leather jackets, particuarly the ones that look like old flight jackets. Somehow they look worn a hell on the outside but have new looking liners and wrist elastic. They have old military unit patches here and there and one style has faded white stars, similar to the single star seen on cargo planes in the Korean war. Some ads say "Hamlin", is that a type of leather? Anyway these cost something like $990 to $1400! I think the market is young peole who haven't put in much hard labor but want a jacket that looks like it's been worn for decades by hard working man. I am trying to make one mself. I bought some old jackets but don't know where to buy marque patches--like Ferrari. Also I am putting a painting of an old car on the back, that printed on a t-shirt and then cut out. Several shoemakers passed on sewing it--t-shirt material too soft. Anyway I'll post a picture of the result, but post pictures of RLR's jacket(s) first. In a way this ties in with barn find cars, looks like barn find jackets....
  8. I am a historian. Certain cars stick in the back of my mind as I wonder what's happened to them. Among them is this Corvette. Several years ago I corresponded with someone who bought his '56 or '57 Corvette show car, double racing windscreens, white body , center blue stripe, stainless steel concave, but as I remember there was a dispute over who owned it. The first guy that bought it from GM let his son drive it and the kid smashed it bad. The second guy that bought it rebuilt the wreck and sent me tantalizing pictures of it somewhere restored but t wasn't showing it because there is still a dispute over who owns it. Has this been resolved? has the car shown up at any events all restored? I don't want to buy it I'm just a historian picking up an old old trail. Thanks for any news. if anybody wants to communicate privately off the record I am at Photojournalistpro2@gmail.com
  9. Back again,same subject, only four years later...am writing a story on this still missing car--I fear it was sent back to Warren, MI and destroyed, But for the story I need a color glossy picture (like a press release) front 3/4 and rear 3/4. I like the car in both blue and its later red. Hard to find is the red one when it had the top up. On this same forum, the moderator reported he once heard from a man who said he owned it but there was no follow-up so without a name or State it's hard to get on such a cold trail. Anybody who sends me a high res. image I can use (maybe a shot you took yourself) i can send a fine art print of the painting I intend to make for the story, the print sized 11" 17". I'll have an expiration date to that trade of Jan 1, 2019 because the story is running soon. Thanks Olds fans wallace wyss photojournalistpro2@gmail.com
  10. One of six two seaters commissioned by Harley Earl. First shown in Oklahoma at oil exposition in Tulsa then shipped to Moore-Greenlease Cadillac in Oklahoma City. Seems like a two seater Cad would stand out if stolen but it was never recovered. Does anybody else think this had something to do with the kidnapping of the son of one of the owners of the dealership or did I see one too many film noir movies back then?
  11. I SAW A PICTURE IN AN OLD Porsche 356 registry of Ferry Porsche delivering a four seater two door coupe to South Bend IN automaker Studebaker in '52. I think the black car was a stretch 356 maybe called the 530. Then another prototype was made, maybe called 540--that didn't look at all like a Porsche. That may have been front-engine. I think that second one came with Porsche's choice of air or watercooled engines. Did either of these prototypes survive Studebaker's demise? Was Raymond Loewy involved? Thanks for any opinions,
  12. I remember seeing pictures of the XP-700, a silver Corvette that Bill Mitchell had built on his own at first (painted red), when he was Harley Ear's protégé and then ol' Harley designated it a GM show car and it got a classic silver paint job, a bit more chrome and the double bubble roof. . Now I had been told by two people including Bill Mitchell that it was the basis for the Corvette Shark (later re-christened the Mako Shark I) show car but now I have seen a picture of the two cars side by side so that couldn't be true unless in the picture showing both cars one was a completely detailed clay model. Also I read in a Corvette forum somebody was at a big swap meet and saw a nose of the XP-700 for sale for a few thousand. Now I know there were replica XP-700 noses for sale but I have looked those up--they did not have the chrome and grille and all, so this makes me think the XP-700 was sold to a GM employee and later he cut the nose off and maybe brought it back to the '58 Corvette or whatever year it was Mitchell started with. Of course then he would have had to get rid of the ducktail tail.
  13. I was hoping when I heard about these that they would resemble the 356 (som4etimes described as the bathtub car) but no, they look preferectly ordinary, something like a VW sedan made decades later. There was one with an air cooled engine and one with a water cooled engine. Never read how much Porsche was paid for the prototypes or which side of the pond the design was done. Love to hear any rumors of if either survived, maybe one is in a Studebaker museum?
  14. I thought I had every 356 model pictured but when I came across the Porsche 530, a very ugly pugnacious looking 356 picture, I was thrown aback; like how could they conceive of something so ugly (actually it looks like a certain Saab) but I wanted to know if there's pictures of it in any magazine or book or a history of what it was built for (some other company?) It is easy to confuse it with the Studebaker prototype they built and which Studebaker tested but not the same car. This one, in the black and white photos, is a dark color and more or less follows the 356 lines, mostly less.
  15. The more I look at this car, which is on display at the Petersen Museum, the more modern I think the design is. Too bad Ghia sold a 4/5ths replica of the roof and trunk lid and fenders to VW for the Karmann Ghia. But the nose looks modern except for grille texture. I read that it was one advertised in Hemmings for $95,000 but that was in modern times, does anyone recall seeing it advertised decades ago in the '50s, '60's, 70's etc ? That would be when it was probably under $10,000. If you have the old ad please site date, publication and price. I also wonder who redesigned the nose? I can't see Chrysler re-doing it, weren't most of those dream cars just shown in their original style and that was it? Also is this another one where they tried to see it offshore so they wouldn't have to pay customs duty for what they paid to have the coachwork done in Italy. thanks for any clues,