1961 Plymouth

Police cruiser - 2009

This classic was built at the end of an era of unusual excess in automobile design — the period of flamboyant fins, rocketship tail lights, and copious chrome. This had been a police cruiser, and was restored in that manner with one of the dual headlights converted to a red flasher.

Even in this earlier time, cars had become such an integral part of our cultural persona that we signaled our status, beliefs and view of ourselves by the cars we drove. The extreme design elements of the late 50′s and early 60′s surely said something about who we thought we were and where we thought we were headed.

Tail end (of the era) - 2009

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8 Comments on “1961 Plymouth

  1. Great color and almost abstract design. Stunning! And yes, I can visualize a much larger version. When I go to car shows, I can’t help thinking of them as large sculptures symbolic of another time. If these cars express who we thought we were then, what can be said of the modern car? When I do paintings that include cars, I am always surprised at the lack of color and design. They are all black, grey or beige. I am surprised when I see a red or blue.

  2. Thanks, Catherine! They are large sculptures, including the ones taday. But very good question… what do the current designs, so bland and alike, say about us now? The flamboyant design is gone, replaced with a focus on sleekness, power, and gadgets. The cupholder war has escalated to a war of talking dashboard touchscreens.

  3. They are both really stunning images…I’m especially taken with the starkness(?), simplicity (?) of the second…not sure what to call it. It’s a good lesson for painting! :)

  4. Thanks so much, Karen! The eye/mind has a way of filtering out the unnecessary detail and focusing on the subject of interest. That is one challenge for art, regardless of the medium.

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