Tuesday, July 6, 2010

VINTAGE CAR ILLUSTRATIONS

Gorgeous Vintage Car Illustrations : A trip down the memory lane


Owning a car is a necessity for many people, but for many others, possessing antique cars is a matter of pride and serves as a symbol of prestige. Many enthusiasts consider this collection as a hobby. But there are several others who collect as an investment option where once they buy it, its value increases and they can sell it after some time at a higher price than originally bought.

According to the Antique Automobile Club of America and several other organizations worldwide, an antique car can be defined as any car which is more than 25 years of age. Sometimes it is seen that some classic cars are misrepresented as antique cars. However antique cars are not profitable to use for everyday transportation, these antiques cars are much popular for leisure driving. Owning and collecting such rare and exquisite cars are considered as a passionate hobby by people all over the world.

A vintage car is commonly defined as a car built between the start of 1919 and the end of 1930. However, the end date has not been properly defined for this era of Vintage Cars. During the 50’s and 60’s a great deal of revolution and competition arose among the automobile manufacturers to create the most eye catching and yet fast cars to amaze the people and compel them to buy as newer model got released. The Vintage Cars in this part of the century are also termed as Antique Cars. In most parts of the US, it is also termed as Classic Cars.

During the early part of this era, cars became much more practical, convenient and comfortable. Several luxuries, which might seem a bit obsolete today, were an instant hit back in those days. Costumers were very eager to try new technologies and enhancements among various cars. Popular enhancements such as Car heating was introduced, as was the in-car radio. Eventually, Antifreeze made its way into existence, allowing water-cooled cars to be used year-round. Four-wheel braking from a common foot pedal was introduced, as was the use of hydraulically actuated brakes. Power steering was also an innovation of this era.

In this showcase, I have presented some of the finest classic cars ever to rule the road. Most of these are American as they were the pioneers in racing and production of great motor/sports cars. So, fasten your seat-belts and enjoy the ride!

1) 1954 Kaiser Manhattan

In 1945, Henry J. Kaiser and Joe Frazer formed the Kaiser-Frazer Corporation with the purpose of creating an economical, light-weight, and innovative vehicle. When Henry J. Kaiser began production of the Manhattan, his goal was to produce a safe vehicle. This was accented by the vehicles bumpers, low center of gravity, excellent field-of-view for the driver, and more.

The 1954-1955 Kaiser Manhattan was an astonishingly successful face-lift on the legendary designer Dutch Darrin’s 1951 version. The All-new sheet metal forward of the cowl featured a concave oval grille reminiscent of the Buick XP-300 show car and curvy front fenders with headlights and parking lights set in chrome-encircled teardrops, again borrowed from Buick. At the rear were large “Safety-Glow” taillights with illuminated lenses running atop the fenders, and the rear window was fully wrapped around.

1951  kaiser manhattan vintage car

Popular and captivating though it was, didn’t survive long and its production was ceased before the end of the model year. The design was salvaged, though, and built in Argentina as the Kaiser Carabela through the early 1960s — a tribute to an excellent design.

More information and pictures can be found here.

2) The Rolls Royce Phantom

This James Young Sedan has left-hand drive configuration and was originally built for sale in the United States. It is still equipped with the original power windows, footrests, reading lights and a power division window for passenger privacy.

As the successor to the coveted Silver Ghost, Rolls-Royce buyers had high expectations for the original Phantom. When it was brought to market in 1925, the Phantom had no problems living up to the high standards of its intended customers. It was an excellent car of unrivaled quality that continued the traditions of Rolls-Royce while introducing a name that would eventually carry the company into a new century.

Rolls  Royce Phantom

3) 1952 DeSoto Firedome

The DeSoto was a brand of automobile based in the United States, manufactured and marketed by the Chrysler Corporation from 1928 to 1961. The DeSoto Firedome was a full-size automobile produced by the Chrysler Corporation for its DeSoto brand vehicles from 1952 to 1959. In 1952, the FireDome became DeSoto’s answer to the demise of the large family cars powered by inline six cylinder engines. Under the hood of the six-passenger, four-door sedan was a powerful Hemi-Head V-eight engine producing 160 horsepower capable of propelling the FireDome to a top speed of around 100 mph. The 3700 pound vehicle could race from zero-to-sixty in 15.5 seconds.

1952  desoto vintage car

By the close of the 1960’s, DeSoto was struggling to find buyers for its automobiles. In an attempt to retain and acquire buyers, DeSoto offered the FireDome in twenty-six solid colors or 190 two-tone combinations.

The FireDome stayed in production until 1960. Production of all DeSoto’s came to an end on November 30th, 1960 after 32 years in production.

4) 1956 Ford Thunder Bird

The Thunderbird (“T-Bird“), is an automobile manufactured by the Ford Motor Company in the United States over eleven model generations from 1955 through 2005. When introduced, it created the market niche eventually known as the personal luxury car.

Evoking the mythological creature of Indigenous peoples of North America, the Thunderbird entered production for the 1955 model year as a sporty two-seat convertible. Unlike the Chevrolet Corvette, it was not marketed as a sports car. Rather, Ford created a new market segment, the Personal Car to position it. More information and pictures can be found here.

ford  thunderbird illustration

1964 Ford Thunderbird

A Thunderbird-loving public warmed to this 1964 redesign and a spectacular interior that was as noteworthy as the sharp-edged sheet metal. The jet-inspired instrument panel and slim-line front bucket seats enticed drivers to ‘take off.’ Of course, the rear focal point of this dramatic interior was the wraparound rear seating area.

1964  Ford thunderbird

This generation of Thunderbird was produced from 1964 through 1966. The model line included the hardtop, as shown, the Landau hardtop with an exclusive vinyl top and a convertible.

5) 1958 Ford Fairlane

The Ford Fairlane was an automobile model sold between 1955 and 1971 by the Ford Motor Company in North America. The name was taken from Henry Ford’s estate, Fair Lane, near Dearborn, Michigan.

The 1958 model year was filled with extravagant and flamboyant designs with large tailfins and lots of chrome. The Fairlane 500 range was part of the Fairlane series and adorned with trim options and chrome.

1958  ford fairlane

At the 2005 Auto Show circuit, Ford revealed a new concept car with the Fairlane nameplate. The “people-mover” Fairlane crossover utility vehicle concept featured three-row seating for six passengers, and previewed the chromed three bar horizontal grill design, which currently appears on the 2006 Ford Fusion sedan and 2007 Ford Edge crossover utility vehicle.

6) 1958 Oldsmobile 88

Introduced in 1949, the full-size Oldsmobile 88 was produced until 1999 and became the top-selling line for twenty-four years. Named to complement the already existing 76 and 98 series, the 88 was considered to be the grandaddy of musclecars of the 1960s.

The Rocket 88 vaulted Oldsmobile from a somewhat staid, conservative car to a performer that became the one to beat on the NASCAR circuits. It won six of the nine NASCAR late-model division races and eventually was eclipsed by the low-slung, powerful Hudson Hornet, but it was still the first real “King of NASCAR.

This led to increased sales to the public. There was a pent up demand for new cars in the fast-expanding post World War II economy, and the 88 appealed to many ex-military personnel who were young and had operated powerful military equipment.

1958  oldsmobile 88

Starting with the trunk-lid emblem of the 1950 model, Oldsmobile would adopt the rocket as its logo, and the 88 name would remain in the Olds lineup until the late 1990s, almost until the end of Oldsmobile itself.

1959 Oldsmobile 98 Convertible

The 1959 Oldsmobile line had been completely restyled which marked the second time in as many years. This was done to keep pace with the very popular 1957 Chrysler models. The 1959 Oldsmobile grew in length and weight. They had a semi-unitized body and frame from the cowl to the rear. The Series 98 was Oldsmobile’s flagship car and was offered in four body styles including the two and four-door Holiday hardtop models, a two-door convertible, and a pillared four-door sedan.

1959  oldsmobile 98

By 1971 the Ninety-Eight’s appearance had grown similar to the Oldsmobile 88. There were large tailfins in the rear that changed in size from year to year. In 1977 the 98 again received a design overhaul. It became smaller and lighter. In 1980 it received minor aesthetic modifications.

In 1991 the Ninety-Eight again was redesigned, this time becoming even shorter. It was discontinued in 1996.

7) 1959 Chevrolet Impala

The Chevrolet Impala is a full-size automobile built by the Chevrolet division of General Motors. The Impala, named after the southern African antelope, is most readily distinguished by having three sets of taillights featured for many years. The rear end had wings resembling a seagull and under the wings the taillights appeared to be cat eyes.

The Impala became the best-selling automobile in the United States when full size models dominated the market and competed against the Ford Galaxie 500 and the Plymouth Fury. From 1958 until 1965, it was Chevrolet’s most expensive passenger model.

1959  chevrolet impala

Successful or not, the Impala was beginning to lose its direction in 1960. But hopeful enthusiasts were rewarded for their patience a year later when the 1961 Impala SS was introduced, bringing a brand new performance icon to Chevrolet. The Impala would go on to become the bestselling full-size car of all time. (pictures)

1961 Chevrolet Impala Bubble top

The 1960 Impala was a letdown for driving enthusiasts. Some of the distinct styling features were deleted, as was the availability of fuel injection. The Impala had taken a step away from its performance roots. It continued to sell incredibly well, though. In 1959, the Impala was already the bestselling Chevrolet. In 1960, it became America’s bestselling car of any manufacturer.

8 ) 1956 Buick Riviera

The Riviera name first entered the Buick line in 1949 as the designation for the new two-door pillar-less hardtop, which was described in advertising as “stunningly smart.” The Roadmaster Riviera constituted the first mass production use of this body style, which was to become extremely popular over the next 30 years. From 1946 through 1957 they were the most elegant and prestigious automobiles that Buick sold.

9) 1957 Cadillac Fleetwood

or 1957, the most expensive vehicles in Cadillac’s model lineup were the Series 75 Fleetwoods, starting at a hefty base price of $7350. They had voluptuous styling and lurid chrome appointments, and equipped with genuine engineering creativity.

The Fleetwood Metal Body Company had a history that dated back to 1905 when they were formed in Fleetwood, Pennsylvania. During their early years, some of their best customers were Packard, Pierce-Arrow and Cadillac. Lawrence Fisher, head of GM’s Fisher Body Company and later president of Cadillac was pleased with Fleetwood’s coach-building work and felt the union between the two companies was appropriate. The company was purchased by Cadillac in 1925 and the sales and design offices were moved to Detroit. Additional plants were built in Pennsylvania for body production and Fleetwood continued to accept body-requests from non-GM companies.

1957  Cadillac Fleetwood

10) 1954 Buick Century

The 1955 Buick Century was one of Harley Earl’s personal favorite designs. Buick’s ad campaign pointed out that the car was ‘At the Forefront of Fashion – Thrill of the year,’ and was it ever. With a sweeping side body line, strong face, and jet-age tail, it had embodied everything that made the Mid-50’s GMs the pinnacle of American car design.

Like muscle cars of the mid- to late- 1960s, the 1954 Buick Century was built on the smallest Buick platform available for the year, but powered by the division’s largest engine. This combination of light weight and high horsepower was appreciated by law enforcement agencies, many of whom used them for patrolling freeways and turnpikes where they were well suited for high speed pursuits.

1954  Buick CenturyIn 2005 the all new Buick LaCrosse replaced both the Buick Century and the Regal. For 2005 to mark the end of era, and a name with a rich history, a limited run of Centuries with special trim were produced. On October 25th, 2004, the final Buick Century rolled off the assembly line. (pictures)

11) 1955 Nash Ambassador

Ambassador was the model name applied to the senior line of Nash automobiles from 1932 until 1957. From 1958 until the end of the 1974 model year, the Ambassador was the product of American Motors Corporation (AMC), which continued to use the Ambassador model name on its top-of-the-line models.

The Nash Ambassador received its last complete restyle in 1952 that carried over into 1954 almost unchanged.Nash models fielded for 1956-1957 were heavily re-styled in the rear, and offered in a variety of two-and three-tone color schemes. The 1957 models were the first cars to come equipped with “quad” headlights as standard equipment.

1955  Nash Ambassador

The final Nash Ambassador rolled off the Kenosha, Wisconsin production line in the summer of 1957. Nevertheless, the Ambassador – as a top of the line model name – would continue to exist under Rambler and AMC brands through 1974.

12) 1959 Edsel Ranger

The 1959 model was Edsel’s attempt to recover from the failure to reach sales goals of 1958. The distinctive grille design was retained, but expensive, trouble prone features such as the push-button transmission control were dropped.

The Edsel made its official debut on September 4th 1957 in showrooms spanning the country. Craftful and expensive marketing pre-empted this launch, as the extensive advertising kept everyone whispering and wondering about this mysterious new vehicle.

1959  Edsel Ranger

Keeping potential consumers on the edge of their seats with their tactful and slightly subliminal advertising, ads had begun running months earlier that simply featured a hood ornament or a covered car carrier, with the simple text ‘The Edsel is Coming’.

Edsel Ranger models are considered to be quite collectible to this day, due to the low production volumes during its three years of existence. The 1960 Ranger convertible has been frequently conterfeited over the years.

13) 1965 Ford Mustang

The Ford Mustang was introduced mid-year in 1964. Its introduction would redefine a segment of the automobile industry that had languished at the bottom of the automotive food chain for years in the eye of the domestic car buyer – the compact car segment.

ford  mustang

Formerly, this had been limited to just a few models such as the Pontiac Tempest, Plymouth Valiant, Studebaker Lark, and the Ford Falcon. While many cars introduced prior to 1964 may have been a pony car, none set the standard for the segment as did the new Ford Mustang. Lee Iacocca’s vision set new records that still exist today.

1967 Mustang GT500M

The late 1960s was an all-out horsepower war by most American marques. GM had their Camaro, Chrysler their Hemi-powered cars, and Ford with the potent GT500. The GT350R versions were true race-bred machines while the GT500 had many power features, big engines, and comfortable interiors.

1967  Mustang GT500

The GT500 was first put into production in 1966 and carried a sticker price of $4,195. They were instantly popular, outselling the 289-powered engines nearly 2-to-1. These were the final Mustangs to be built by Shelby-American, as all future models were constructed by Ford, with some input from Shelby. (pictures)

1968 Mustang GT 390

In 1968, a convertible option was added to the Shelby line-up, the GT 390 Bullitt. 1968 also marked the year that Ford took over production of the Shelby vehicles with operations moving to Livonia, Michigan.

The styling modifications for 1968 were minor. The front of the vehicle was restyled resulting in an aggressive appearance. The headlights switched back to the single seven-inch unit configuration with Lucas fog lamps positioned inside the grill. The hood was once again a fiberglass unit with repositioned scoops and air-extraction louvers.

14) 1960 Chrysler New Yorker

The Chrysler New Yorker was a premium automobile built by the Chrysler Corporation from 1939 to 1996, serving for several years as the brand’s flagship model. The Chrysler New Yorker has faced amazing success and popularity in the four decades it has remained in the auto industry.

The New Yorker name helped define the Chrysler brand as a maker of upscale models priced and equipped above mainstream brands like Ford, Chevrolet/Pontiac, and Dodge/Plymouth, but below full luxury brands like Cadillac and Packard. During the New Yorker’s tenure, it competed against models from Buick, Oldsmobile, Lincoln, and Mercury.

1960  Chrysler New Yorker

Until its discontinuation in 1996, the only competition that the New Yorker faced was the Chrysler Imperial, which outranked the New Yorker in size and price.

Redesigned with a squared-off body, the New Yorker continued to be one of Chrysler’s best-selling models. It continued to keep the original V8 engine, and offered a model that featured rear wheel drive. The Fifth Avenue Edition also featured a two-tone being finish which further accentuated the leather trim interior, exclusive opera windowns that opened along with the rear doors, and a landau vinyl roof.

15) 1959 Pontiac Bonneville Vista Sedan

In a year of many flamboyant designs, one of 1959’s biggest hits was the dramatically restyled Pontiac. The iconic Pontiac split grille design, ‘Wide-Track stance and legendary 389 V-8 were all introduced in 1959. Motor Trend Magazine awarded this trendsetting Pontiac its ‘Car of the Year’ trophy.

It was introduced as a limited production performance convertible during the 1957 model year. The Bonneville and its platform partner, the Grand Ville, are some of the largest Pontiacs ever built; in station wagon body styles they reached just over 19 feet long, and were also some of the heaviest produced cars at the time.

1959  Pontiac Bonneville

On February 8, 2005, GM announced that the Bonneville would be dropped from Pontiac’s lineup for 2006. The high-end Pontiac Grand Prix GXP trim replaced the Bonneville. For many years, the vehicle fondly called the ‘Bonne’, the Pontiac Bonneville has showcased a mix of luxury, performance with the aid of a supercharged 3.8 liter engine. (pictures)

16) 1955 Pontiac 870 Catalina

Pontiac redesigned the Catalina for 1955. It offered sporty styling and a fresh 287.2 cubic inch V8 engine. Sixty-two factory options and accessories were available for the Custom Catalina hardtop during the 1955 model year. This car has 51 items, including a dashboard compass, an illuminated Indian head hood ornament, a tissue dispenser and a ladies purse holder. This Pontiac had appeared on numerous magazine covers and was featured in an episode of the television series, ‘My Classic Car.’

1955  Pontiac Catalina

After the 1981 model year, the Catalina was discontinued. Also discontinued was the more luxurious Bonneville as Pontiac was attempting to abandon the full-sized car market as part of GM’s continued downsizing program. The ‘82 Bonneville was introduced as a mid-size car. In 1981 the Catalina nameplate production ended after over 3.8 million Catalina’s were sold since its introduction in 1959.

17) 1957 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser

The Mercury Turnpike Cruiser was the flagship model of the Mercury Division of the Ford Motor Company that was produced from 1957 to 1958. It was a bold car that went against the public’s opinion that Mercury only produced conservative cars. They came in either two or four door hard top configuration. Matching their style was their list of standard equipment, which was virtually every power item available. The interior was filled with push buttons.

Mercury  Turnpike

This car was introduced in late 1957 and designed specifically to be the official pace car for the 1957 Indianapolis 500. Original price was $4,103 and only 1,265 were made with each having the Continental tire kit and many were painted Sunglitter Yellow like the original pace car. With 3,148 franchise dealers, Mercury only produced one for every two-and-one-half dealers.

18) 1953 Cadillac Eldorado

After observing its golden anniversary in 1952, Cadillac issued a flashy limited-edition convertible, the 1953 Series 62 Eldorado. It boasted features like custom interior, special cut-down ‘Panoramic’ wraparound windshield, a sporty ‘notched’ beltline, and a metal lid instead of canvas boot to cover the lowered top.

1953  Cadillac Eldorado

Production of the car was so labor intensive, that even at a hefty price, it was believed to be unprofitable. It was virtually hand built in Warren Michigan.

19) 1949 Hudson Commodore

In 1948, Hudson, one of the few independent automakers remaining in the late 1940’s, introduced its post-war models featuring some of the hottest new ideas. A new Super Six engine purred under the hood, a hood was now attached to an all-new idea in auto construction.

The ‘unit-body’ Hudson’s had the lowest center of gravity of any American production car, achieved by suspending the floor pan from the bottom of the chassis frame. The resulting car had a lower profile than its competition and was dubbed the ’step-down,’ since one stepped down into them when entering rather than up.

hudson  commodoreWith the lower center of gravity helping hug the road and the straight Six engine propelling the car along, Hudson outpaced many of its competitors in 1948 and 1949. An updated version of the new engine became well known on NASCAR circuit with the Hudson Hornet was introduced in 1951 and went on to many victories.

20) Jaguar XJ Spider

The 1978 Jaguar XJ Spider was bodied by the famous coachbuilder Pinin Farina and produced for the London Motor Show. It had taken only five months to complete. Due to financial reasons the XJ Spider never went into production.

jaguar  spider

Though Jaguar was encouraged to market their own version of this vehicle, they never did. Re-engineered in 1991 with a substantial face-life, the vehicle was renamed the XJS. The new vehicles incorporated body styling updates, the adoption of the AJ6 4.0 litre engine rather than the 3.6 litre version and a totally redesigned interior.

21) 1974 Ford Capri

The Ford Capri is remembered for the classic advertising slogan “The car you always promised yourself”. A North American advertising campaign featured a shorter line: “Capri: The Sexy European”.

1974  Ford Capri 2The Capri II was introduced in February 1974. After 1.2 million cars sold, and with the 1973 oil crisis, Ford chose to make the new car more suited to everyday driving with a shorter bonnet, larger cabin and the adoption of a hatchback rear door. By the standards of the day, the Capri II was a very well evolved vehicle with very few reliability issues.

22) 1964 Plymouth Fury

The Plymouth Fury was introduced in 1956 and continued in production as a model and/or series until 1989. Plymouth had been using the name Fury as the high-performance version of its standard vehicle and in 1956 made its own model designation. The initial desire of the Fury was to highlight the abilities of the Plymouth division and to create a stunning automobile that would capture the attention of consumers and bring that crowd into their showrooms.

The styling was typical of the era with the most notable feature being the tail-fins which grew in size during the 1959 model year. It was a popular favorite with many police forces because of its reliability and performance.

Plymouth FuryThe Fury line was dropped in 1979 but a year later, in 1980, Plymouth revitalized the Gran Fury name. It shared a platform and similar body design to the Chrysler Newport and Dodge St. Regis, and was available only as a four-door sedan. Sales were never strong and the Fury name was once again abandoned in 1981.

A smaller version was introduced in 1982 and stayed in production until 1989. Minor aesthetic and mechanical changes were applied during this time, but it basically stayed unchanged.

23) 1933 Ford Cabriolet

Ford’s “flathead” V-8 engine had debuted in ‘32, shoving aside the popular four-cylinder Model A and reaching past Chevrolet’s six-cylinder cars. Designers directed by Edsel Ford, Henry’s only son — tucked that V-8 into a more stylish machine, with a jauntily slanted grille and windshield. Sharp corners were rounded, and the hood mated with the windshield. Wheels shrunk to 17-inch size for a lower stance. Streamlining was in vogue, and Ford determinedly followed the trend.

1933  Ford CabrioletEngineers redesigned the Ford’s frame and injected an extra 10 horsepower into the V-8, for a total of 75. Hot rodders later grew to love that flathead engine, praised for its power by none other than bank-robber John Dillinger. (more info)

24) 1969 Dodge Charger

The Dodge Charger was produced from 1966 through 1978, 1983 through 1987, and again beginning in 2006. Since its inception, the impressive performance and stylish bodies made the Charger an instant success. During its introductory year, 37,344 examples were produced.

The new Charger had what is refered to as “coke bottle” styling. The front fenders and rear quarter panels are what gives the Charger the “coke bottle” styling, because they resemble the curves of a coke bottle. The full length tail lights were removed and replace by “Corvette-like” tail lights. Dual scoops were added to the doors and hood to compliment the redesigned Charger.

1969  dodge charger

dodge  charger

Following the adage that ‘racing improves the breed,’ motorsports competition has long been part of the Dodge heritage. From engineering labs in Auburn Hills, Mich., to shop floors in Charlotte, N.C., Dodge, its teams and its dealers live the philosophy it takes to be successful in the ultra-competitive world of racing.

25) 1957 Chevy Bel Air

In 1950, Chevrolet came up with a revolutionary style that would set a pattern for decades. The style was the Bel Air Hardtop, which was a convertible with a non-detachable solid roof. Models like this had been around since the 1920s, including early Chevrolets, with no degree of success. But the newly revised idea, sweeping the GM line from Chevrolet to Cadillac, had finally found its era.

In 1953 Chevrolet renamed its series and the Bel Air name was applied to the premium model range. The Chevrolet Bel Air was a very dramatic and bold vehicle with many recognizable features such as the rocket-inspired twin spear ornaments inset on the hood, and the chrome outlined rear tailfins.

1957  Chevy Bel Air

The 1957 Chevy is the car everybody knows. Maybe it’s the fins. Maybe it’s because – in the Sixties – every high school kid wanted one. Ford actually outsold Chevrolet in 1957, but the ‘57 Chevy has been called ‘the most popular used car in history.’ That’s staying power.

26) 1972 Ford pinto

Unfortunately suffering the reputation of being a cheap economy car, the Pinto has still made its way into the popular culture.
Introduced in 1971 as competition for the new import and domestic subcompacts, the Pinto was meant to be so simple a vehicle that Ford could produce this vehicle with little time and money.

Manufactured by the Ford Motor Company, the Ford Pinto was introduced in 1971. The twin of the Pinto was the Mercury Bobcat that was introduced in Canada in 1974, and in 1975 to the U.S. The Chevrolet Vega and AMC Gremlin were also introduced at the same time. The most successful of the U.S. designs, the Pinto was the base model for the newly designed Mustang II.

1972  Ford PintoThe Pinto faced competition with the Toyota Corolla, Datsun B210 and several other smaller Japanese vehicles. The Pinto was a poor rival when compared to these more dependable, durable vehicles.

27) 1950 Chrysler Royal Stallion

The Chrysler Royal was an automobile produced by the Chrysler division of the Chrysler Corporation between 1937 to 1942 and 1946 to 1950. The Royal represented the entry-level Chrysler during its production,[1] making it the most affordable Chrysler model. The Royal was replaced at the end of 1950 model year by the Chrysler Windsor.

chrysler royal stallion

The Chrysler Royal name was revived by Chrysler Australia in 1957 for a locally produced model based on the 1953 Plymouth. The name was also applied as a trim level of the Chrysler Newport from 1970-72. It would not be reused.

28) 1962 Corvette roadster

The Chevrolet Corvette is an American sports car by the Chevrolet division of General Motors. The first model was designed by Harley Earl and introduced in 1953. Myron Scott is credited for naming the car after the corvette, a small, maneuverable warship. It has been produced in six generations in coupe, convertible, t-top coupe, and targa coupe body styles.

These cars are often referred to as the “solid-axle” models since the independent rear suspension did not debut until the 1963 Sting Ray. 300 hand-built polo white Corvettes were produced for the 1953 model year, making it the rarest and one of the most sought after of all Corvettes.

corvette roadster1962 was the last year for the wrap around windshield, solid rear axle, and convertible-only body style. The trunk lid and exposed headlights did not reappear for many decades. A C7 Corvette will debut in 2010 calendar year, according to several issues of Motor Trend magazine. (pics)

29) 1971 Plymouth Cuda

The Plymouth Barracuda was the first pony car, debuting two weeks before the Ford Mustang. It was quickly eclipsed by the Mustang and the Camaro/Firebird due, but would make a name for itself in 1970 when it was available with an engine its competition could only dream of, the Hemi.

Initially a coupe version of the Valiant rushed to market to beat the outcoming Mustang, Plymouth finally got the performance angle right for 1970. The Barracuda was moved over to the E-body platform, which it shared with the new Dodge Challenger. The Barracuda rode on a two inch shorter wheelbase than the similar Dodge Challenger, even though its overall body dimensions were the same.

The Plymouth Barracuda continued into 1971 with minor styling changes, including a segmented grille with twin headlamps, dummy front fender vents, and segmented tail lamps. A full range of engines were available and the top performance models were called ‘Cudas.

Plymouth CudeSadly, tightening emission constrains further strangled the life out of the Barracuda. 1974 was the last year for the true Barracudas, which continued with just the 318 and 360 engines. The Barracuda would never return again as a true performance vehicle.

30) 1928 Mercedes Benz SSK

The Mercedes-Benz SSK is a roadster built by German automobile manufacturer Mercedes-Benz between 1928 and 1932. Its name is an acronym of Super Sport Kurz, with the last word being the German for “short”, a reference to the fact that the car was based on the earlier Mercedes-Benz S, but with 19 inches chopped from the chassis to make the car lighter and more agile for racing.

It was the last car designed for the company by the engineer Ferdinand Porsche, before he left to pursue the foundation of his own company. The SSK’s extreme performance—with a top speed of up to 120 miles per hour (190 km/h), it was the fastest car of its day—and numerous competitive successes made it one of the most highly regarded sports cars of its era. The S/SS/SSK line was one of the nominees in the penultimate round of voting for the Car of the Century award in 1999, as chosen by a panel of 132 motoring journalists and a public internet vote.

Mercedes SSKBy drilling holes in the chassis, the weight of the vehicle was decreased even further, although weakened the frame causing many to break. The engine became more powerful, now producing 300 horsepower. It was successfully campaigned in 1931 but a year later was unable to challenge modern vehicles like the Alfa Romeo 8C 2300.

31) 1952 Buick Roadmaster

1953 was the final year Buick offered wood on its Estate Wagons. This 1952 Buick Series 70 Roadmaster Estate Wagon was the most expensive and rarest of all the Roadmaster built in 1952. It came with a price that of $3977 and only 359 customers were willing to give them a home.

The car began a rolling tribute to the design inspirations of General Motors that had transpired in the prior years. The roof was removed in favor of a sloping, padded limousine-styled unit which gave the rear passenger compartment blind quarter roof and rounded window panes. All windows that could be opened and closed, including the center divider window, were given hydraulic power operation. This design had been used on GM Concept Cars.

1952  Buick roadmasterFrom 1936 through 1948 the Roadmaster appeared in coupe, sedan, convertible and station wagon bodystyles. A hardtop coupe was added in 1949 and dubbed the Riviera.

The Roadmaster named reappeared in 1991 and continued in production until 1996. It served as a replacement for the Electra model line and offered as an Estate Wagon. A sedan was introduced in 1992.

32) 1960 Morgan Plus 4

The Morgan Motor Company is a British motor car manufacturer. The company was founded in 1909 by Henry Frederick Stanley Morgan, generally known as “HFS” and was run by him until he died, aged 77, in 1959. Peter Morgan, son of H.F.S., ran the company until a few years before his death in 2003. The company is currently run by Charles Morgan, the son of Peter Morgan.

1960  Morgan

The Morgan 4/4 has stood the test of time. The light and sturdy frame matched with some impressive power plants have made the vehicle practical, cost competitive, and fun to drive.

33) 1971 Chevrolet Camaro

The Chevrolet Camaro was introduced in 1967 as a compact car specifically built to provide competition for the highly popular Ford Mustang. This pony car was built atop of the same F-Body platform as the Pontiac Firebird, which had a similar production lifespan of 1967 through 2002. During the preproduction stages of the Chevrolet Camaro, General Motors codenamed the vehicle ‘Panther’. The name ‘Camaro’ was decided upon before production began. The word ‘Camaro’ in French is slang for ‘friend’ but in pony-car slang, the name means ‘Mustang killer’.

chevy  camaroOn August 27th, 2002 production ceased. The Camaro had accomplished its goal, to provide competition for the Ford Mustang and other compact, low-priced, sports cars. Outfitted with large, Corvette engines, matted to effective gearboxes and given great suspension and brakes, the Camaro was truly a performance machine that was capable and fun to drive.

It was fairly practical with room for more than two passengers. It was economical with sticker-prices in the range that many could afford. The production of the Camaro has ceased, but its future has not yet been written. Expect to see this legendary vehicle on the roadways in the near future.

34) Lotus 49B

The late 1950s and early 1960s was a revolutionary time for many Formula racing series, as the benefits of mid-engine placement were utilized and cars made the drastic switch. This simple change of moving the engine from in front of the driver to behind, had a profound effect on performance and drastically changed the way the mechanical components operated.

Every now and again elements combine and the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Colin Chapman’s design genius combined with Cosworth Engineering’s Ford V8 engine and one of the greatest F1 race cars was born. The Lotus 49 chassis when fitted with the delayed Ford Cosworth DFV 3 Litre V8 took the F1 world by storm, winning its first GP in South Africa in 1968 with the late Jim Clark at the wheel. The engine was strong enough to become part of the chassis, carrying the rear suspension without the need for any sub-frame, a first in F1 design, and saving weight in the process. There were teething problems with the engine but the potential was obvious.

lotus  49b

The 49 became the first GP car to have aerofoil wings fitted to improve its grip and through its 2 year competitive lifespan saw various developments. The car illustrated here is a replica of the South African GP winner and is one of the last times Lotus raced in their team colours of British Racing Green and yellow. Another first for the car was when it appeared painted in the red cream and gold colours of a cigarette company, Gold Leaf, marking the start of substantial sponsorship in F1.

The Lotus 49 first raced in 1968 and its last race was in 1970. In that time it won 12 races and contributed to 2 Driver’s Championships and 2 Constructor’s Championships.

35) 1936 Mercedes Benz 500K

The Mercedes 500K is a sports car built by Mercedes-Benz between 1934 and 1936, and first exhibited at the 1934 Berlin Motor Show. It carried the factory designation W29. Distinguished from the 500 sedan by the “K” in its name which denoted the kompressor (supercharger) only fitted to the sports cars, it succeeded the Mercedes-Benz 380 which had been introduced only the previous year, using a larger, more powerful engine and more opulent coachwork to meet customers’ demands for greater luxury and performance.

Mercedes 500KThe 500K’s were beautiful, elegant, and exclusive models often outfitted with voluptuous coachwork and sold to wealthy clientele. Today, the cars remain highly prized for their heritage and scarcity. When the car collection of Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone was auctioned in October 2007 it included five pre-war Mercedes, and his 500K Special Cabriolet fetched almost £700,000 (US$1.45 million).

36) 1962 Porsche Le Mans

‘Luck is where preparation meets opportunity.’ That may be clear nowhere better than with the Porsche 956 – winner of LeMans in its first appearance – with its derivatives the 962 and 962C, arguably the most successful single series of endurance racing cars ever built with more than 120 victories over a 13-year span.

Porsche created the 956 during the early 1980s for FIA Group C competition. The design and components of the vehicle would further evolve over the years and become known as the 962. The 956 project was lead by a very determined and experienced project manager named Norbert Singer, who had his sights set on winning the 24 Hours of LeMans race. With Derek Bell and Jacky Ixckx, the factory team drivers, the cars easily dominated the season and won the championship for the team.

porsche  956The body was very modern, aerodynamic, and elegant. Extensive use of exotic materials, and ground effects were employed that included a venturi positioned between the front wheels, rear wing, and rear venturi. The chassis was comprised of a very rigid monocoque comprised of aluminum and a composite body.

The Porsche 956 and 962 were very dominate vehicles which lasted for nearly ten years. From 1985 through 1987 they won the IMSA GTP. They were World Sportscar Champions from 1982 through 1986 and are considered the most successful prototype race car in the history of motor sports. During the early 1990s, Jochen Dauger was able to get the 962 reclassified as a GT1 road-legal car. They were raced at the 1994 24 Hours of LeMans and captured its final overall victory.

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RAY CHARLES: LOOKING BACK

As his 80th birthday approaches, a look at the life and legacy of the late Ray Charles.


"I just do what I do." That's what Ray Charles told Billboard in June 2002 when asked to assess his role in music history. Of course, Charles' self-effacing response belies a groundbreaking career and a legacy that endures today, as fans look toward celebrating what would have been the legendary artist's 80th birthday Sept. 23. Looking back at Charles' storied career, what comes to mind is the phrase "musical genius." In Charles' case, that's no hype.


Rare & Unseen Ray Charles Photos | Charles on the Charts

80th Birthday Year Events | Charles Charity


In 1954, the artist's melding of gospel and blues yielded the pioneering hit "I've Got a Woman"-and forged an indelible imprint on R&B, rock and pop. His earthy, soulful voice graced a steady stream of classics after "Woman," including "Drown in My Own Tears," "What'd I Say," "Hit the Road Jack," "Unchain My Heart," "I Can't Stop Loving You" and "Georgia on My Mind."

Video below: Ray Charles performs "Hit The Road Jack" in São Paulo, Brazil on September 22, 1963.


Video below: Ray Charles performs "Then I'll Be Home" in Montreux, Switzerland on July 19, 1997.


Just as at home on the Hammond B-3 organ as he was on the piano, he also landed at the top of Billboard's R&B, pop, country and jazz charts-and even the dance chart, collaborating with childhood friend Quincy Jones and Chaka Khan on "I'll Be Good to You."

His final recording, 2004's "Genius Loves Company," made history when it won eight Grammy Awards, including album and record of the year for his pairing with Norah Jones on "Here We Go Again."

But what many may not know is that the inimitable Charles was also a genius when it came to the business side of music. In the early '60s he negotiated a rare feat after leaving Atlantic Records to sign with ABC-Paramount: ownership of his own master recordings. He also established his own labels. Tangerine (his favorite fruit) came first, which later evolved into CrossOver Records.

A songwriter who penned nearly 200 songs, Charles also operated his own publishing companies, Tangerine Music and Racer Music. For these entities, Charles and longtime manager Joe Adams designed and built the RPM International office and studios on Washington Boulevard in Los Angeles. The Ray Charles Memorial Library will open in the building this fall.

Charles also found time to manage the careers of other acts, including Billy Preston and '70s R&B group the Friends of Distinction. And way before it was de rigueur for artists to do, Charles set up what became a foundation to help needy children with hearing disabilities and later on support education.


He was an amazing human being," says Jones, 77, who became friends with Charles when both were scrappy teenagers in Seattle. "A true innovator who revolutionized music and the business of music," he adds. "Growing up, we only had the radio; no Michael Jackson, Diddy or Oprah. So it was hard to imagine today's entrepreneurial world. But that didn't stop us. We spent a lot of time talking and dreaming about things that brothers had never done before."

"He really was a genius," says singer Solomon Burke, a former Atlantic labelmate. "He did things the way he wanted."

Charles was born Ray Charles Robinson Sept. 23, 1930, in Albany, Ga. As many learned through actor Jamie Foxx's Academy Award-winning portrayal in the 2004 film "Ray," Charles became blind by age 7 and orphaned at 15 while growing up in northwest Florida.

In eight years at a state school for the blind, the young Charles learned how to read and write music. Leaving Florida in 1947, he headed for Seattle ("Choosing the farthest place he could find from Florida," Jones says), where he notched his first hit two years later as a member of the Maxin Trio, "Confession Blues."

Even then, Charles was an enterprising individual. "He had his own apartment, record player, two pairs of pimp shoes, and here I am still living at home," Jones recalls with a laugh. "His mother trained him not to be blind: no cane, no dogs, no cup. His scuffed-up shoes... that was his guide and driving force. He was the most independent dude I ever saw in my life. Ray would get blind only when pretty girls came around."

Signing with Atlantic Records in 1952, Charles as a West Coast jazz and blues man recorded such songs as "It Should've Been Me" and label co-founder Ahmet Ertegun's composition, "Mess Around."

Then he connected in 1954 with "I've Got a Woman," which set off a chain reaction of more hits capitalizing on his bold gospel/blues fusion. But Charles was just getting started. In 1958, he performed at the Newport Jazz Festival, accompanied by a band that featured such jazz cats as saxophonists David "Fathead" Newman and Hank Crawford. Further bucking convention, he recorded "The Genius of Ray Charles," a 1959 release offering standards on one side (including "Come Rain or Come Shine") and big band numbers on the other, featuring members of Count Basie's orchestra and several arrangements by Jones.


Video below: Charles' 1966 Coke commercial, "So Tired."



Leaving Atlantic for ABC-Paramount, a fearless Charles recorded the seminal "Genius + Soul = Jazz" album in 1961. A year later, his earlier dabbling in country music grew serious with the release of the million-selling "Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music."

Complemented by lush strings and a harmony-rich choir, he scored with covers of Don Gibson's "I Can't Stop Loving You" and Ted Daffan's "Born to Lose"-and spent 14 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200.




For a black man to do this in 1962 was unheard of," says Tony Gumina, president of the Ray Charles Marketing Group, which handles the late artist's licensing affairs. "He was trying to sell records to people who didn't want to drink from the same water fountain as him. But this was one of his greatest creative and business moves: to not be categorized musically and cross over. Though he never worried about it, he was resigned to the fact that he might lose some core fans. But he thought he'd gain far more in the process."

Gumina was operating his own promotion company working with state lotteries when he met Charles in 1999. The two teamed up on a series of commercials for various state lotteries and also introduced a line of Ray Charles slot machines also accessible to the blind.

"Everything he did had a business acumen to it," says Gumina, who cites Charles' liaison with manager Adams as a pivotal turning point. Originally hired to be Charles' stage announcer, former radio DJ Adams segued into overseeing production of the singer's shows, lighting and wardrobe.

Together the pair designed and built Charles' L.A. business base, RPM International (Recording, Publishing and Management) studio. When he began recording there in 1965, the label rented the studio from him, so he made money on his recordings before they were even released.

To save money on travel expenses, Charles purchased an airplane to ferry his band around to gigs. A smaller plane was also acquired so that Charles could wing in to, say, New York to record a couple of songs before flying back out in time for a show.

"He understood the entertainment business enough to know that you may not be popular forever," Gumina says, "and you need to maximize your product. At the same time, he had as much fun as any rock star but without the sad money stories. There was a time to work and a time to play, and he knew the difference. He didn't have a bunch of homes or a large entourage. That's why he was able to save $50 million before he died."

Calling Charles an "incredibly smart man," Concord president John Burk says he learned a lot from the ailing singer while he was recording his final studio album, "Genius Loves Company."

Video below: Ray Charles performs "It Ain't Easy Being Green" in Trentnton, NJ on Nov. 7, 2002.


Going through "some sticky deal points, he was amazing," Burk recalls. "He had the whole agreement in his head. Without referencing any material, he knew all the terms we proposed and had the deal done for the album in two discussions."

Creatively, Burk says Charles was an artist dedicated to delivering "a true performance from the heart. Part of his creative legacy was his approach to singing. He opened the door to vocal improvisations, changing how people perceived you could sing a song. Many singers today are influenced by him and they don't even know it."


Rare & Unseen Ray Charles Photos | Charles on the Charts

80th Birthday Year Events | Charles Charity

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