Thursday, June 7, 2012

A little nostalgia in this week's Thursday Drive-By

We’re taking a look back in time for this week’s Thursday Drive-By. We’re looking at automotive styling from the past. We’re looking at shopping malls of the past. We’re looking at magazines from the past. We’re looking at Ferraris of the past. And we’re looking at roadside signage from the past.

One thing you’ve got to love about the Internet is that no matter how old or obscure the subject matter is; no matter how much you thought certain things only existed in your memories; somewhere, someone has pictures and information that they are willing to share. You wouldn’t think something like the Web would be the quintessential source for all things nostalgic, but in some ways, it really is.

Take a look at all the cool car-related stuff in the links below.

You’ve got to love the glamour and romance of automotive styling departments in the 1950s. I’m sure it was much more difficult and cutthroat in real life than it seems in retrospect, but it sure does seem cool. These guys were able to come up with fins, chrome, emblems, colors, textures, whatever, and they did it just for the sake of appearance. They weren’t worried about safety or trying to blend in with your neighbors or any of that. People wanted flashy, bold designs, and the designers back then delivered. The Jalopy Journal scanned a Ford styling brochure from the late 1950s for us to check out. It is just too cool, and actually makes me want to peruse eBay to locate one of my own. But until then, I’ll just enjoy the one at this link.

Pleasant Family Shopping is a really entertaining blog that talks about old shopping malls and other vintage retail stores. I’m picking this story about the Dixie Square Mall in Harvey, Ill. Because it was the site of the car chase in the Blues Brothers movie, but there are plenty of other things to look at there. The site is full of lots of great photos and historic facts about places all over the country. Although it isn’t just about cars, shopping malls and grocery stores certainly never would have existed without them, and you can find all kinds of neat cars in the parking lot photos throughout the site. Plus it brings back lots of memories, and it’s fun to look back on the architecture and some of the old stores and products they had for sale. It’s just an interesting place to kill some time. Do that by clicking this link.

Hemmings Classic Car is a good magazine about original style vintage American cars. I really look forward to getting it every month. Now in a previous life, this magazine was called Special Interest Autos. I’m pretty sure my dad started subscribing to it before I was born, so I never remember a time when it wasn’t around. Special Interest Autos wasn’t quite as slick as Hemmings Classic Car, but it had sort of an old-timey charm that I always found comforting. In this post on the Hemmings Blog, they have scanned an entire feature from the old Special Interest Autos on the 1941 Lincoln Continental. I like the car OK, but it mostly brought back memories of the magazine. At any rate, you can check it out at this link.

Yesterday I reported on the Italian Car Show at Zona Rosa, and mentioned that there were no Ferraris present. To make up for that, I offer this link to Ferrari Magazine, where they are highlighting a number of Ferrari convertibles throughout the company’s history. It’s an interesting article, and talks about a number of famous prancing horse drop-tops. It does have some pictures, but they’re kind of mediocre. Plus there are some little typos and things in the story. That’s the kind of slop you get here. I’m surprised the Ferrari Magazine folks tolerate it. Nevertheless, just clicking this link elevates your stature in society, and there are some interesting little stories and things to learn here. The story can be found here.

If you’re studying old car culture, it’s hard to avoid the classic neon commercial signs that lined America’s highways. Though not as prevalent as they used to be, there are still some out there, as evidenced by this Etsy photo account. I don’t know much about this, but it looks like you can purchase these pictures if you are so inclined. Whether you want to try that or not is up to you, but I got a kick out of just browsing the pictures. Some of them really are beautiful, and they do a great job of capturing the style and feel of the early ‘50s and on up through the 1970s. And anyway, who doesn’t like “Air Conditioning” and “COLOR TV?” The link is here.


  1. I always appreciate the Thursday links, but you really helped me out this time. I looked at the 'Pleasant Family Shopping link - cool. Then I looked over at the contents and saw an entry for Tulsa. Being originally from Tulsa, I looked over there, naturally. To what did my wondering eyes gaze upon but a bunch of photos from the old Woolco Auto Center in the [then new] Southroads Mall. That, is in and of itself cool enough, but in those photos was a picture of an accessory I loved as a kid, but no one else seems to remember. To wit , the aftermarket headrest. Every picture I drew as a kid shows that round extension perched above the drivers seat. [I always wanted a 55 Chevy with those and a metalflake steering wheel...] Now, thanks to Hover Motor Company, I have photographic proof for those who doubt!
    Thanx again!

  2. Hi Craig!

    Thanks for including a link to my Retro Roadside Photography shop on Etsy. I've spent quite a bit of time searching for and photographing the old signs featured. All of my prints are for sale for those who are interested and I'm constantly adding new images.