CAR CONNECTIONS

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I'm going to start this off in shop talk; because these musings will encompass a lot of other cars outside of these forums - but will render a continuing thread that will stay with 71-73 Mustangs. 

My name is Al Clark - I was born on the wrong side of the Atlantic because the good lord, either thought my love for American Auto excellence will be strengthened by my inability to readily touch it, or he just wanted to punish me for something I did in a previous life... either way I'm stuck... and just so grateful to the intardnet to allow me to make friends by connecting like this.  

Just so as you are fully aware as to how backward we are; I'm the ONLY limey Brit in England who understands, loves and has driven (At Texas Motor Speedway with Team Texas) Nascar. Plus one of the precious few here privileged enough to be able to grab from the USA, some juicy cars of distinction and move them on to new customers...the precious few with a pulse.  

What joy you guys have created. 442 Olds, 58 and 66 Impala's, GTO's Trans Am's, T'Birds, Vette's, Charger, Challengers, Roadrunners and Dusters...and of course the lovely Mustangs... so let's start ...here's Part 1. 

 Car Connections.  PART 1.

I hope you guys will enjoy these. There will be some amusing anecdotes and alternative ways of looking at auto history.

Let’s face facts. There have been some fairly galactically ugly, loathsome and shit machines served up to us buying publics through the past six decades

Some that the designer/stylists, I’m certain would wish to disassociate themselves from.  Perhaps because they; after the subsequent hangover, realised they were high as a kite on Absinthe or drugs when they put pen to paper. That’s why 1970’s wallpaper and other furnishings looked the way they did. All the designers were high on LSD.

Take that desperate drug lord John DeLorean for example. Before the ludicrous 1970’s with tie-dye, long hair, Watergate and platform shoes, he styled for GM’s Pontiacs and came up with some real icons back in the 60’s. He’s also known as father of the Muscle Car…( I love GTO’s)… Yet some years later after perhaps overdosing on something stronger than Absinthe, he’s sadly remembered for the gargantuan catastrophe that in the movie Back to The Future, took his stainless steel creation twelve minutes to reach 88 Miles Per Hour…. Now I know why it was prefixed the “DMC 12”.

By the way the 1970’s for those of you, who don’t know, was the decade when all good taste and style took a long vacation. For those of you who DO KNOW, and if dare look at the photographs of your parents wearing “A” line flares with pockets in the knees, you, like me, will be calling the police.

Back to it then…

Do you like cars because of MPG, styling, how many seats, how practical, how much Walmart you can stuff into the middle of it, how many people you can fit inside?

NO? … I also don’t have the chromosomes to seek out a car justified only on MPG, or the strand of DNA to have me ache over how many people I can fit inside – especially when we all know 99% of its distressed life will only have one occupant in it anyway.

So…let me take you through a small tour by measuring cars by stylists instead.

Anyone here heard of Michelotti, Agnelli, Gandini, Barris, Scaglietti, Giugiaro, Earl, Tjaarda, Schinoda, Schinella, Oros, Clark, Dellara, Exner, Towns, Najjar … and so many more?

If we are to begin the journey toward 71-73 Mustangs we MUST, first off introduce Harley Earl before we can go any further.

I know what some of you will say.. “but Al you idiot… Harley Earl??? …wasn't he a designer for GM? … how in the name of blue transvestite f**k did he connect with Ford?”  ::thumb::



He didn't directly; however, we will commit capital automotive offenses if we leave him out, because there is one very special reason he connects directly by style. Let’s not forget that he spearheaded many concepts and innovations such as;  central door locking, push button starting, electric tops; a lot of functionality we take for granted today was being pioneered way back in the 1940’s.

Is the measure of true genius this? “He who changes his entire industry forever”.  Hence Harley was considered the “Da Vinci of Detroit”.

Here’s a creative connection… Harley Earl was born in Los Angeles in 1893 just as the America was pioneering the world, by changing from Steam to Gasoline.

Harley was the first to remove running boards, the first to model in 1:1 scale in clay – this gave birth to the “concept car” for live exhibitions and car shows and inspired hundreds of young, up and coming stylist/designers.

Also in a way he connected with all cars, even today. His work opened minds and paved the way for a lot of cars by eroding all the design barriers. It’s through his seminal work by inspiring, encouraging and coaching a new breed of penmanship we have Corvettes, Riviera’s, Chargers, Challengers…and of course Mustangs.

Next up is Gale Halderman who at the time was at college just as the great Earl styled the 1953 Sweep-spear models of Buicks and Joe Oros did his apprenticeship under Earl before moving on to Ford.

So Yes !… even that dumb assed diesel filled VW, BMW  or Audi on your driveway today has something in its form and function that Harley Earl began all those years ago. But that’s not the connection or that of the other stylists he forged.

There’s something else he did for us… he gave us the fastback in passenger cars. ::thumb:: ...thanks Mr. Earl



.

Part 2 … to follow

 
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detritusmaximus

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You know, it's kind of like looking into a mirror, one that shows the opposite. I was raised here in the Midwest, but developed a distaste for many 'American' things. never cared for Camaros or country music or massive amounts of cheese. At some point in my upbringing I developed a liking for things European and eventually the pacific rim. As I mentioned Camaros (and Firebirds) don't do it for me, especially after' 70 1/2. 71-72 Torinos had good styling, but how long and wide can you make a sporty car? I had Hot Wheels as a kid, but Matchbox had some really neat things...the Capri, GT40, Pantera, Maserati Marzal, Ferrari Dino, etc. As I explored, I found so many other interesting things that did not involve the obligatory "Can you swap in a small block Chivvy?". The Mini, Reliant Scimitar, MG's, Triumph TR4 thru 8, JENSEN!, even the Rover p5B (coupe, please, and yes, I realize it's the old Buick 215 in it). For me the two British icons that grabbed me were the Aston Martin and TVR. At the time I discovered Aston a driver DB V8 could be had for about $10k, although the DB4GT Zagato is my all time favorite. The early TVRs are really cool, a bit stubby, and they don't have to have the HiPO 289. I used to watch Space 1999 and it ignited a interest in real 60's/70's Mod design...Italian Futurism just looked way cooler than big plush brown early-American themed knotty pine couches with sailing boats and orange shag carpet. So I was all set for the Lotus Esprit, Fiat x/19, Lancia Scorpion and Stratos (!).

My dad had a Cars and Parts subscription which I read everyone of them and for awhile I would poke thru Hot Rod, but after seeing all the garishly painted t-buckets and vans and Pintos and eventually one Camaro or TransAm after another, it was a huge breath of fresh air to discover Classic and Sportscar. Such an entirely different perspective on cars and design.

As far as design is concerned, the european and Asian attempts to mimic American style tended to be more successful than the American efforts to copy European flair.

Plus, you guys had roadracing. You even turned while racing. Both ways. More than four times!

 
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keiths71

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I love old american cars, I even love cars that I used to hate Pontiac / Olds bubble tops , 60's mopars etc. My dad started me restoring cars when I was a little kid, He took me to lime rock and watkins glen for the trans am races. We lived near Connecticut Dragway in the 60's and 70's. So at 16 in 1976 I got a Boss 302, I put 70 something thousand miles on it, sold it around 1990 towards buying a house.(dumb) .So now I'm 59 but I think I'm 30. So my super cool wife of 30 years Kathleen (who is a skilled craftswoman in her own right) have decided that I am going to leave my job as a tech rep. for a paint co. 16yrs. and buy/ sell and work on old cars along with her business that she has on ebay

I've collected a bunch of vintage stereo equipment and can't wait to set it up in our garage that we are building now. So we'll see what happens. I'm working pn my 71 right now and hope to finish it in the next couple months. Last week I sat in Christine from the movie and the mad max falcon, that was pretty cool. No country music allowed! So hopefully we have that car connection

 

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Hey Keith,

Sounds like you've got the perfect life all ready to go! You sold you Boss the same year I bought my 70 fastback (nothing special except that it was nearly rust free and had manual drum brakes!...even so, I regret selling it a year later).

I've driven a 75 Falcon XB John Goss. In some ways it was kind of like the 72 Mustang Sprint with a blue white color scheme. It was going to be an Interceptor replica until my friend found out how rare the John Goss was. Some cars you own, some own you.

Before anyone gets upset, it's not that I consider country music bad, I just don't like it. That's just my opinion. However, other peoples opinions are that my opinion doesn't matter. And almost nobody likes my music, I'd be worried if they did.

 

detritusmaximus

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Al, I may be missing something, but how is it Earl gave us the fastback? I seem to recall the Bugatti Atlantic coupe and a few others going by names like Streamliner and Aerodynamica from the 30's, possibly 20's that fit the criteria that I would presume to define a fastback.

 
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Al, I may be missing something, but how is it Earl gave us the fastback? I seem to recall the Bugatti Atlantic coupe and a few others going by names like Streamliner and Aerodynamica from the 30's, possibly 20's that fit the criteria that I would presume to define a fastback.
Hi Detritus

I tried to chose my words carefully in the article, keeping in context and paying tribute to the guys behind the style of the day. -- We're talking about the people, decisions taken, stylists and events leading up to 71-73. I could go further back ...but that would turn this into a long historical piece-- 

I decided to begin at Earl as he was an American, in Detroit, a striding colossus in the passenger car industry and trained Joe Oros. 

I think these guys were amazing. And when I look back through the books, it gets me thinking... did they know what impact, what excitement, what history they were making?

Did Halderman know what chain of events he was going to kick off in 1962?  :chin:

You could put it this way .. In this era, Earl dabbled with using Fastbacks in American passenger cars, changing what were back then boxes on wheels into astonishing shapes and burying the traditional design barriers; Halderman and his colleagues turned it into a massive commercial success that still resonates today.

Also I think of this...If it wern't for them - we wouldn't be here in these forums.  :jawdrop:

 
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 Car Connections.  PART2.

In my love for automotive body styling, I have examined the lives and passions of many designers. How they reinvented themselves to be more appealing and more relevant than the years before. It must be a difficult job for those in passenger car domestic market. How do you predict the next trend in public thinking to come up with the next big hit?

Put yourself in their shoes. What would you go for today? Design the next speedster based on a Miura? Or the next practical hatch based on a Post office mail sorting centre?

Back in the day fuel was 32c a gallon – for us impoverished cavemen in the UK, that’s 7cents per litre

A gallon of milk was 95 cents FFS

In 1971 when your car was being filled at 45c per gallon or 9 cents per litre

To make you lot aware in the USA – we are currently being humped in the ass with £1.22 per litre – or £5.53 per gallon of clear stuff (Vodka is cheaper) – that’s $7.20 to you Nascar loving, baseball hitting, gun toting, Wendy’s and Jack in the box visiting guys.

Halderman and the Corporate Advanced Studio

Here in this building is where the car you drive today was styled and opened these forums.



Not all at once of course – they went through a few phases first. Tried a few things out.



and



I wonder if you guys would be so enthusiastic if you had this...mind you, that's a nice concept. 



Or this.



Gale Halderman is your man for the chief reason the body is styled the way it is

He was a Dayton art institute graduate recruited to Ford Dearborn sometime in 1954. Initially assigned to Lincoln Mercury in 1955 Mystere concept car Falcon 61 Thunderbird. You can easily see the Harley Earl influence in this.



The Mystere

During Iaccoca's reign, Halderman was promoted to Design manager just at the right moment . The timing was like clockwork. Perfect just as Joe Oros approached him in 1962 to begin work on … guess what?… to, in competition with other design studios, come up with a Sporty Personal Ford car .. The story goes that five sketches were done by Halderman on his kitchen table over a weekend. Monday morning at their 8am meeting Joe Oros and Dave Ash (another ford team leader)– Joe points at one of them and says “That’s the one were going to build” 

I believe this was one of the drawings back in 62



It went to clay – this was to eventually include design elements by Dave Ash, Pete Clark and Joe Oros, This became the legendary 1964 Pony car that set the world ablaze. Well when I say the world … let’s face it …whilst America drove Mustangs, chargers and Riviera’s …we were still in boxy, underpowered, underdeveloped 1000cc oil dripping mush with less power than an electric pencil sharpener – some still with running boards. 



One of the clay exhibits 

In 68 Halderman saw promotion again to eventually lead and oversee all aspects of the 1971, 72 and 73 generation of Mustangs, then scooping up other designers such as John Najjar which he did during the reign of Bunkie Knudsen and because the of Mustangs success and popularity Halderman has been dubbed the “Father of the Fastback” taking the original crown from H. Earl.



Ford released a wild horse that put other car companies in the rear view mirror, as they couldn’t keep pace with Ford sales numbers. 

I believe, in rounded numbers, in 1964 ½ to 1965 Ford shipped close to 560,000 Mustangs;  most into the American home market.  

Hang on a second …let’s just put that into context. I work in part of the automotive industry that gives the world another massively popular vehicle - Range Rovers. Some 75,000 Range Rovers were shipped last year...globally. WTF.  Mind you, Range Rovers take the styling cues from a warehouse in Birmingham and weigh 3 tonnes.    https://www.cjponyparts.com/resources/mustang-sales-throughout-years

1966 saw 607,000 new Mustangs 

67 = 472,000

68 = 317,000

69 = 300,000

70 = 198.000

OK… did  Bunkie Knudsen get out of bed one day, kick Halderman and Oros’s asses?

71 = 150,000

72 = 125,000

73 = 135,000

...still impressive  

I believe there is a museum set up in Gale Halderman's name somewhere in Ohio… I can’t seem to find where exactly.

Someone tried to do a rendering to see what a 71-73 might look like in clay 



 
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detritusmaximus

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I think the best designers set the trends. I don't think they try to predict what the masses want because the masses usually don't know what they want until they want it, but there is some sort of synergy. Focus groups and market researching shapes the final product, but the designers have to start with their own ideas. They start off wild and crazy, clean sheet or blue sky, and then the pragmatic considerations start to evolve the project.

Some things seem like a lightning strike, but frequently there is an evolution or gestation. Take the Fiero for example, it was a huge hit as a two seater midengined car at a time when K-Cars reigned supreme and Ford was thinking of a Mazda based Mustang. But the Fiero did not, in my opinion, develop in a vacuum.

A little conspiracy theory of mine.....

Shelby worked with Ford on the AC Cobra using the AC Ace designed by John Tojeiro. The history of the Ace involves using the 6 cylinder Bristol Cars engine (itself a part of the war booty...post war Bristols were basically a bashing together of various pre-war BMW engineering and designs carried off after the war. In a related vein, the East Germans did the same thing and produced a car called the EMW. Guess what it looked like?) and Tojeiros new styling.

Anway, Shelby gets Ford together with AC and before you can say chicken farmer, the Cobra was born. Much hoopla and money later, Shelby and Iacocca go their separate ways. Years late, Iacocca is at Chrysler and calls up his buddy Shelby to produce hot versions of the Omni/Horizon K-cars, the Shelby Charger and GLHS. Thru various other meandering connections, including the Pantera US distributors and interestingly enough, Chevrolet and Buick involvement, a car that was first shown to the public in 1973 and put to market with a Ford 3liter V6 in 1979 ends up in the hands of Shelby and eventually presented to Iacocca with a 2.2 turbo Chrysler motor. The car is rejected by Chrysler. A couple years later, the Fiero is brought to market. Although the Fiero project started in 1978, that was five years after the other car was first show. That other car was the AC 3000 ME, yep, the same AC Cars that provided the basis for the Cobra.

Who inspired who? Round and round we go.

The white car is the Fiero, the red car is the AC 3000 ME.

1200px-Fiero88.jpg 1981-ac-3000-me-1.jpg

Just think if Ford or Chrysler had developed the car for the US market and beaten GM by a couple years.

 
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detritusmaximus

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Yes, I would be just as enthusiastic, maybe more so, if I had the Milano, I mean look at it! Except for the purple, can do purple....

Milano-p1.jpg

 
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I love old american cars, I even love cars that I used to hate Pontiac / Olds bubble tops , 60's mopars etc. My dad started me restoring cars when I was a little kid, He took me to lime rock and watkins glen for the trans am races. We lived near Connecticut Dragway in the 60's and 70's. So at 16 in 1976 I got a Boss 302, I put 70 something thousand miles on it, sold it around 1990 towards buying a house.(dumb) .So now I'm 59 but I think I'm  30. So my super cool wife of 30 years Kathleen (who is a skilled craftswoman in her own right)  have decided that I am going to leave my job as a tech rep. for a paint co. 16yrs. and buy/ sell and work on old cars along with her business that she has on ebay

I've collected a bunch of vintage stereo equipment and can't wait to set it up in our garage that we are building now. So we'll see what happens. I'm working pn my 71 right now and hope to finish it in the next couple months. Last week I sat in Christine from the movie and the mad max falcon, that was pretty cool. No country music allowed! So hopefully we have that car connection
What year was your Boss? ... I've never had the opportunity to drive one ... how does it compare?

 

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1970, It was a 4:30 Drag Pack optioned car. After finding piston skirts in the oil pan (common boss 302 issue) I did the usual back then and rebuilt it with a cam from Bill Maier, Mallory rev pole dist. Hooker headers, different carbs over the years, and disconnected the rev limiter. With manual close ratio steering other than parking it was a blast to drive and was pretty fast at the time. A couple years later I bought a 69 cobra jet 4 speed also manual steering 4:30, with drum brakes

The Boss was much more fun to drive in my opinion. I can't my a fair comparison to the 71 as I haven't really driven it yet.

 
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1970, It was a 4:30 Drag Pack optioned car. After finding piston skirts in the oil pan (common boss 302 issue) I did the usual back then and rebuilt it with a cam from Bill Maier, Mallory rev pole dist. Hooker headers, different carbs over the years, and disconnected the rev limiter. With manual close ratio steering other than parking it was a blast to drive and was pretty fast at the time. A couple years later I bought a 69 cobra jet 4 speed also manual steering 4:30, with drum brakes

The Boss was much more fun to drive in my opinion. I can't my a fair comparison to the 71 as I haven't really driven it yet.
Keith my friend 

Then check out a guy called Larry Shinoda (Kiyoshi Shinoda) a Japanese American started work with Ford - left to do the Mako Shark and C3 Corvette's for GM, then when Bunkie Knudsen came to Ford - He brought Shinoda with him ... The Boss 302 1970 was Shinoda-san's design. 



I would love a 70's 302 as a pet. 

It's certainly amongst my top 10 cars to have.

 

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I fell in love with cars at a very early age - I distinctly remember when I was 3 or so, pointing out the neighbor's '67 Firebird after only seeing the taillights and trunk badge - it was white, and a bad-ass car (I can still picture the exact memory snap-shot to this day).  Fast-forward to my pre-teens where I'm becoming fairly skilled at drawing, and here I am cranking out cool car pictures (well, as cool as car pictures could be for 8-12 yr olds, anyway - although my buddies 'hated' me because I could draw cool cars that actually looked like cars, but then would always hit me up to draw them something cool).  I also fell in love with building models, and had more than 70 or 80 kits under my belt before I knew it (which all seemed to disappear after I joined the Air Force and moved away).

I love all cars... each one has something about them that makes them cool in their own right.  Most, more than others (there are a few turds out there, after all) - some, are significant stand-outs when it comes to performance, comfort, appearance, and overall 'coolness...' and those are the ones we collectively fall in love with.  Mustangs, Camaros, Firebirds, Trans Ams, Corvettes, Road Runners, Chargers, Challengers, Cudas, Javelins, AMXs, Torinos, Chevelles, Novas, El Caminos, to name a few of the muscle car persuasion that I grew up with and saw almost daily along with Jeeps, J-trucks, F-100s, Rangers, C-10s, Blazers, Broncos, Ram trucks, etc.  Then I snag my first copy of Road & Track in 1982 and was blown away by even more exposure to Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Alfas, Lancias, Lotus, Jaguars, Porsches, Z-cars, RX-7s, Supras, X1/9s, etc... where did all of this awesomeness come from?  After digging into my growing pile of R&T, Automobile, and Motor Trend magazines, I learned about Bertone, Pinninfarina, Giugiaro, Gandini, Scaglietti, Ferdinand Porsche, and others, and I had decided that I wanted in on coming up with cool car designs as a career.

One of my favorite scribbles from 1988-ish (I had just gotten a new set of Koh-I-Noor Tungsten-tipped technical pens, and was playing with stippling and cross-hatching - being somewhat color-blind, I hadn't gotten into markers or other color media very much):

Crossfire.jpg


I took every drafting class my high school offered, and even repeated a few just for the extra experience... all the while, honing my drawing and model-building skills.  I keep thinking that if I'd done better in math and maybe took a commercial art class or two, I might've had a shot at breaking into the automotive design field... all I had to do was show someone 'in the biz' all my cool drawings and I'll be the guy drawing cars that eventually wind up on the covers of exotic car magazines, right?  Yeah, my high school drafting teacher injected a little bit of reality into my thoughts, explaining how entry-level draftsmen wind up drawing detail pieces until they're established, which can and usually takes many years to happen.  So, as reality was setting in, I was more focused on architectural drafting, and had planned on getting into that field - something I could actually see myself doing as a career.  But how to pay for college?  Join the Air Force, they said... earn money for college, they said... only do your 4 years then get out and take advantage of the G.I. Bill and make your dreams come true after you get your college degree.  Yeah - life gets in the way, and here I am just talking about all the cool things I should be doing instead of looking foreward to retirement from FedGov Service in another 9 years.

Every car I've ever owned has been modified to some extent, whether for performance or aethetic purposes.  I enjoy making them 'better' (IMHO) and the feeling of accomplishment in doing so.  Most everybody I run across seem to agree that I've made improvements to what I've had, so I take that as being on the right track.  My biggest projects so far have been my '80 Jeep CJ-7, and '71 Mach 1.  All of the things I've done on my previous projects have come into play with the Mustang, and I've even picked up some new skills and experience in the process of restoring/restomodding it, since I had to do literally 'everything' to bring it back from the state I found it - which was worth every penny and hour I spent getting it done.

So, I suppose after all that, I stay 'connected' to the world of cars in something of a less 'devoted' manner, simply maintaining and improving my cars and getting back into model-building (since my wife has basically cut me off regarding taking on any more full-size car projects - that, and I have nowhere to actually park anything new).

 
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I fell in love with cars at a very early age -

Crossfire.jpg


 I might've had a shot at breaking into the automotive design field... 
So... Why wasn't the above the 90's Camaro instead of the asthmatic, wheezing pup they brought out... you mean, you had the design all along and didn't release it to market? baaah...  :p

 

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Thanks! I think...   :chin:

I actually don't see anything really 'Camaro' about that idea, except for maybe the wrap-around tail lights being a 'carry-over' from the late-'80s IROC-Z or something.  It's actually 'supposed' to be a mid-engine 2-seater with gull-wing doors that, yes, have removeable roof panels (like T-Tops).  I admit I was a huge fan of the '82 Firebird/Trans Ams when they came out, which is why the nose really reflects that look (along with the over-stated 'ground-effects'), but otherwise I think there's a little bit of just about everything I like(d) about various cars in there during that point in time.  I was also a big fan of Centerline Champ 500 rims, as well (thank you, Coyote X from "Hardcastle & McCormick" for that one).

:cool:

 

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Very nice Eric, I've always admired good car art, even those that were comedic, like in Ed Roth's rat fink art and CARtoons magazines. I was a very good draftsman, but have no artistic ability. Both of my sons are very artistic, must have got that from their mother.

 

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Don,

I'd forgotten about CARtoons. Long live Crass 'n' Bernie! Not CARtoons related, but do you remember Stroker McGurk?

I never got beyond okay sketches and simple engineering drawings, but I did have this as kid, the Hot Wheels Picture Maker drawing template set:

HotWheels PictureMaker.png

 
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