Sunday, May 3, 2009

Chrysler Personalities

With all the talk lately about the bankruptcy of the Chrysler Corporation, Jeanette and I decided to take our sketchbooks yesterday to the Rhinebeck Car Show to look at Dodge, Plymouth, and Chrysler.

We sat next to each other on folding chairs. Jeanette got out her ballpoint pen and watercolors and sketched the 1961 Dodge Lancer and the 1958 Plymouth Fury, slightly exaggerating to bring out their personalities.

I liked her idea, so I tried to graft the cars onto the bodies of people walking by. I jotted down fragments from conversations that I overheard.

In 1958 America seemed to be caught between memories of war, fears of nuclear devastation, and dreams of space, and that zeitgeist is written on the cars’ faces.

Maybe Chrysler will bounce back to life like a ‘toon car. Let’s hope so. Maybe the key to the success of the company is putting a little more personality into the car designs.

More on this blog about automotive zeitgeist and car names.

12 comments:

Stapleton Kearns said...

Jim;
I think you are so right about style. .I think some clever marketing guy at one of these car companies will suggest a return to style out of desperation,"what if we made em look really cool"
Today people spend $50,000 dollars on a high end car and it looks like an electric razor.
......................Stape

Jen Z said...

Hear hear, Stapleton... I miss the old timers too, and lament the turn towards modern minimalism (in art/architecture too) -bringing back fins on the new cars could be a great way to boost the industry. An economical roadster... would be a lovely idea.
I love the hat and the conversation snippet idea. I'll have to remember that the next time I'm out doodling.

Jean Spitzer said...

It's the problem with much modern car design. Aerodynamic seems to translate into interchangeable.

Steve said...

When I was seven years old, my family had a yellow 1957 Pymouth Fury station wagon. Push-button automatic transmission! And a third rear seat that faced backwards! My brother and I sat, seatbeltless, watching the road we'd covered. We might have worked in our Jon Gnagy sketchbooks...

Shawn Escott said...

HEHE! Very funny! I used to think cars had personality when I was younger. I suppose they really do.

r8r said...

That '58 Fury is talking out her tailpipe...

Su Haitao said...

You work for me too deep impression!
I like your dinosaur, they are like alive, excellent!! grand master!

jeff f said...

How many here can remember cars such as the Studebaker, Hudson, Nash, Rambler or any American Motors car which was bought up by Chrysler. The Morgan, Triumph, MG, or the Stanly Steamer to name a few.

I like the way the cars from the 30' 40' and 50's look as well, but those things were death traps compared to how they design a car today.

That 58 Fury probably had a MPG of about 10 miles per gallon in the city and 15 on the highway.

It's to bad that Chrysler is filling for bankruptcy but one only has to look at the British car industry and how it's government, siting that Britain should save it's auto industry (sound familiar) failed in keeping it going.

By the time they did they squandered millions upon millions of the tax payers money and they still failed.

Sorry for being so pragmatic.

Robin Neudorfer said...

I remember at ACCD a fellow student getting ridiculed to the max about putting some fun back into his designs.
I am sure the creatives are having some "what if" conversations and the CEO's are stashing the retirement funds.

Andrew Wales said...

I like seeing Jeanette's drawings and paintings. She has a nice style.

Casey Klahn said...

In 1958, the penny had the wreath obverse (for the last time) and a cent was a far greater proportion of the value of the car!

Funny post - not so funny current events. Keep the humor coming, though.

Beetle said...

A bit of retro in the new designs. Great idea. I've always preferred drawing pre 1960 cars. Perhaps Chrysler will put you on the design team.
Love the cars-as-faces idea. They do look like faces, only these days they're bland faces of modern corporate executives.