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A Wonderful Afternoon at the Auto Show

1937 LaSalle Speedster... This beautiful piece of automotive history was built for Clark Gable as a gift from his wife, Carole Lombard. It was even more beautiful in person.


This weekend I spent a delightful Sunday with my Dad in West Palm Beach.  We started by enjoying some pasta and Pinot Grigio at IL Bellagio by the CityPlace fountain.  Then we strolled around a fantastic classic car show and then we topped it off with ice cream cones and lots of people-watching (including a couple that brought their pot-bellied pigs!)  It was one of those 78 degree Florida days that make me so grateful to live here.  The car show prompted the get-together because my dad is a bit of a car aficionado junkie.  From across a room he can give you the make, model and year without blinking an eye. Up close he can tell if it it’s all original down to the each component of the engine (and cursed them when they had “tricked it out”.) Loads of info filed in his permanent memory bank along with fond memories of his teens and young adulthood.  It was fun to go along for the ride.


A recent renovation (Carleton Varney) of a classic interior (Dorothy Draper) from the same era. You can see lots of similarity with the car above in the color combinations, curves and glamour.


This show featured everything from the 1920′s up to the present but the cars that he and I always enjoy are the 40′s through the 60′s.  He talked a lot about the details and features, plus the upgrades the manufacturers made each year.  And they were pretty significant.  We’re not talking about a bigger cup holder for your Starbucks double latte, it’s more like radical changes to the body and chrome details that said a lot about the styles of that era.  Now it just seems that they tweak the headlights or wheels and call it a new model. He pointed to a 1965 pink Thunderbird and commented on how it was sleeker than previous years and this was mimicked in the suits men wore back then…straight legs and thin ties (dare I say, a la Ryan Seacrest?).    Cars were once a true indicator of the times and you’d see this mirrored in fashion and interiors.  I picked out a couple of examples and it wasn’t that hard to find some proof.


A neat photo from the 1965 LA Times. Shows us the sleekness in fashion and cars all in one shot.


The shape of this 1954 Chrysler Imperial was an indictor of new technology that produced curved designs with a lot less man-power.


Car meets kitchen.


We also talked about the cost of cars (ranging from about $2,000-$5,000) and the payment plans.   Leases didn’t exist and you were expected to put up a decent down payment and the loan was usually paid off in a couple of years.  If we were able to pay a car off that quickly these days, I think we’d feel more ownership of the car, take more pride in it and really feel the need to choose something that truly matches our style and personality.  Feel free to share you thoughts on classic cars you’ve owned or just loved from afar.  I hope there will always be people who are willing to share their beautifully shined gems so we can “ooh”, “aah” and reminisce.

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