Some of these models were certainly well ahead of their time. Would be nice to have one of these today, wouldn't it?
1931 Cadillac V-16 Dual Cowl Phaeton by Pinin Farina
1932 Chevrolet Confederate Series BA Cabriolet
"Keep Your Eye On Chevrolet," were the words appearing on 25,000 posters plastered on billboards across the country in November of 1931. Chevrolet had first introduced the six cylinder engine in the 1929 model year. Now that Ford and Chrysler were both making plans for increasing the cylinder count of their engines Chevrolet realized it would have to move quickly to retain its leading position. Significant styling and engineering changes were made to the car for 1932. The engine now boasted 60 hp at 3000 RPM and an easy 70 mph. New body styling included the door type hood louvers, cowl ventilators, raked windshield and a built-in radiator screen grill. Overall the car was significantly sturdier and more comfortable leading the St. Louis Post-Dispatch to state: "Chevrolet six likes hardly any feature found on costly cars." The public agreed keeping Chevy first in sales.
1932 DeLahaye Roadster by Figoni et Falaschi
When in 1951, New York's Museum of Modern Art presented its historic exhibition "Ten Great Automobiles," the inclusion of a late thirties coupe by Figoni et Falaschi was clearly mandatory. In both their open and closed body designs of the last half of that decade this great house of French coach-building conferred upon mere cold sheet metal an organic form, the flowing, luxurious grace, and harmony of which had never been seen before. As Ovidio Falaschi recalled, "We really were veritable couturiers of automotive coach-work -- dressing and undressing a chassis one, two, three times, and even more, before arriving at the definitive line that we wanted to give to a specific chassis-coachwork ensemble." As the Labourdette skiff-bodied phaetons had been diadems of the Teens and Twenties, the voluptuous Figoni et Falaschi line gave rise to a school of automobile body design which profoundly marked its epoch.
1934 LaSalle Rumble Seat Convertible
The 1934 LaSalle was an automobile that almost wasn't. The Depression had taken a heavy toll on Cadillac and its companion LaSalle. With a shrinking market for luxury cars, GM management was planning to cancel the LaSalle line in 1933. When Harley Earl persuaded them to look over his drawings for the 1934 line, LaSalle was granted a reprieve. The styling triumph achieved by Earl's Art and Color section was a fitting reward. Body lines were completely new, modern, and dramatic. All traces of the old "classic" styling vanished under Earl's supervision, replaced by smooth, clean, almost austere body planes. Even the spare tire disappeared, concealed in the fastback truck, though fenderwell spares were available. Despite its new look, sales did not follow -- perhaps the Depression was still on the public's mind. Only 7,128 1938 LaSalles were built. Six years later the marque would be gone forever.
Nov 21, 2009