Graphics. Beware…

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We are often warned on the television about graphic depictions of violence. The same goes for the cinema – they have that classification thing at the start of the movie. I go for the ones that say “G” and so far I have not been disappointed.

But what of the graphics at the car show? Should we be warned? Does there need to be a sign warning us that it is NSFA…not safe for adults?

As with all questions of art, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. In the case of some of these beauties we would also recommend Murine and an a soft cotton pad….

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All You Ever Need To Know About Style

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Here, children, is the greatest lesson that General Motors ever delivered on the subject of automotive styling. It is the closest that they ever came to selling a custom car straight out of their dealerships. In four images you can see why the Buick Riviera of the middle 60’s was what it was all about.

I took little notice of the marque in Canada because when it was fresh, we were out in the woods and away from the people who would have driven them. Oh, we were Buick owners ourselves once, but had fallen on hard times and were driving a ’57 Chevrolet 4-door for about 7 years.

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Well, my eyes were opened when I came to Perth in ’64 and saw what motor vehicles in Australia looked like. After the initial shock of the EH Holden and the Morris Minor had worn off and I could sit up and take nourishment, a family friend arrived in town with a gold-coloured 1964 Buick Riviera. It had been converted to RHD at who knows what cost, and was driven around the streets of Midland by the wife of the family. As they lived the next street over in Greenmount, my Mum and I hitched rides down to town frequently.

The effect of that Riviera in Midland was electric. I once scored a ride to Governor Stirling High School in it and the value of stepping out of it and waving the diver off was incalculable. I did top it once with a Triumph Spitfire but that is another story.

Okay – THIS Buick Riviera was seen at the Victorian Hot Rod Show this year. For the life of me I cannot think why it was not inside on show display instead of just out in the side visitor’s lot. Perhaps the owner delivers pizzas in ti for Dominos and couldn’t spare the three days on display…Whatever, it was worth going to the show for.

As far as the extensive customising needed to make it into the fabulous shape you see, I suspect that the owner has:

a. Thrown away the boot badges.

b. Lowered the thing on bags and new rollers.

c. Repainted it. And a lovely paint job it is too. No-one can complain about not seeing it on the road. They probably see it in Queensland as a glow on the southern horizon…

d. Filled it up with petrol and cleaned the pizza boxes out of the back seat. And drove to the show.

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And that is it – all the style and grace that you see was built into it new. I can’t swear about the interior. That wild yellow and velour is likely a refurb, but perhaps not. The walnut inserts for the doors are real, and the rest of it is fabulous. A killer in bright weather, though as the dash reflects up into the windscreen. You can always put a bar towel on it…

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All the effort, restyling, leading, shaving, frenching, chopping, nosing, decking, and footling around that custom builders have done over the decades is unnecessary on the ’64 Riviera. It is truly a show machine out of the box. I can only hope that there are more of them in Australia to show up…surely the gold RHD Riv must still be somewhere, if only for the sake of my nostalgia.

 

One Of These Cars Is Not Like The Others

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And you can Sesame Street along with me as I play the game.

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No-one in Australia drives a 50’s Chevrolet Corvette by accident. It is not the sort of vehicle that you pick up from the panel beaters as a courtesy car while your Hyundai is in getting a plastic bumper replaced. I have tried baiting my local panel beaters with any number of bumpers but all I get is a directions to the bus stop.

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I don’t think that anyone got to drive one out of the Holden dealer’s showroom here in the 50’s, either. They may have been imported by the rich and entitled then, but most have been brought here recently by the rich and entitled. Or at least by the rich and enthusiastic – because you have to be an enthusiast to contemplate either maintaining one as LHD or ( gasp ) paying a fortune to have someone invent a dashboard to convert it to RHD.

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Okay, that’s your clue and you can go straight to the answer. But as you say “Aha” consider looking at the clues that you see on the other cars. Of course you can see instantly that the ’57 Corvette has the 2 headlights instead of the 4 of the ’58 and ’59 model. And the white ’58 stands out from the red ’58…

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But the red ’58 can bear some careful scrutiny. Can you see what is interesting about this car? Look closely.

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Remember, no-one drives a red ’58 Corvette by accident…

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The Next One Over On The Model Car Sunday

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Every entrant into a contest has to take the chance that they might be an also-ran. In the case of artistic works they might be the canvas that is hung around the corner from the broom closet – in the case of models they might be the ones next door to the Big Production.

The result is that while they might not suffer ignominy, they never really achieve notice, either. Thus the model cars you see in this post. They featured in the last Super Model Car Sunday but may not have gotten the attention they deserved. You just needed to look at them in the proper light…

A. Here are two smaller model cars – Heading and this one – they look like 1/4 mile dirt track sprint cars, but they are not made to the common 1:24 scale – these are closer to 1:32 scale.

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The parts of the cars that would be chromed plastic in a 1:24 or 1:25 kit from a major manufacturer are not – they are silver-painted plastic. The tyres look like they are plastic halves glued together. The style is sort of Chunky Monkey. What could they be?

I’m betting Aurora kits from the 60’s. Might be wrong, but if it is not kits, it is parts. I recognise the look – I used to build them myself when better kits were not available. I never really realised how good they actually were. I think if they have included chrome parts and rubber tyres we would have lapped them up.

B. The Kit With Chrome But No Headlights. These kits were generally sold in the second-line stores in Canada – stores out in the bush towns or in places that did not have enough trade to stock AMT, Monogram, or Revell. The sort of kit that might have sat in a five and dime store in Drayton Valley or Wetaskwin for years before it moved. The sort of kit that was made in Hong Kong before that was a good thing.

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In this case it is a Studebaker Lark – another gauge of the unimportance of the kit – no-one in the big makers would have thought to provide this sort of pedestrian model…and if they did acquire a cold for it they would have added trees full of junk customising parts and a crass decal sheet in an effort to turn a profit.

Well, fortunately, Western Australia has a lot of country towns with second-grade stores and if you are lucky you can come across this sort of kit. Disregard the chrome headlights – if you are keen you can drill them out and put in clear lenses.Ditto the stop lights. Also disregard the fact that the basic kit is very, very plain. Celebrate it for the fact that is IS a Studebaker and you have found one and no-one else that you know probably ever will. Build away.

C. The Chevy with its top on sideways…Well, not everything can go completely right. You might get the metallic blue paint on safely and you might get the trim painted neatly, but if someone puts your model out on the display table and doesn’t realise that the top is separate from the body…or worse – actually cracks it off themselves – you can end up with the Frank Sinatra Look. Hat skewed to one side.

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The moral is to glue the thing on with something that has a little sway and give. I recommend the Canadian Weldbond PVA glue as likely to grip but not obtrude.

D. Help me out here. I suspect it is a Nash, but past that I am flailing. Is it a kit? Is it a toy car from Woolworths? Is it a resin casting? Who thought of the green? Did it have chrome on it once? Is it something that the owner bought at a pop-up junk stall in the centre of the local shopping mall? I’ve gotten some no-name minor-player diecasts there and been very grateful for them. If they are cheap enough you can experiment and butcher them with no qualms.

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Okay. No-one get mad if I have singled out your pride and joy. They are ALL unique and valuable models…and you have them and no-one else does. Even if you were overlooked at the SMCS, I noticed you and applaud your efforts. Surprise me more next year, please.

Cultural Inappropriation

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Or ” How to be politically correct so that everyone sees you doing it…”

The question of cultural appropriation is a hot topic right now amongst people who have not got any other topics in the oven. In some cases the intellectual Aga is turned up to gas mark 9 and smoke is billowing out of the doors. The odd thing is that the people cooking up the controversy are not turning off the fuel supply, smothering the flames, or opening up the social window to let the smell out. In fact I think they are loving it…

I have probably not encountered enough of these arguments to say that I have seen all the parties involved – I avoid a lot of television and motion pictures because of a religious belief that watching them will make me feel sad. But I do see ideas as they pass in review on the internet and I suspect that the complainants in this case are people who want to complain. And that if they were not complaining about someone wearing an Indian…oops, sorry, Red Indian…oops, sorry…North American Indian…oops, sorry…North American aboriginal…oops, sorry…First nation…

O0ps be damned. I can’t keep up with the Newspeak. A feather war-bonnet. A Hissaboo hat.

Well, if anyone other than Sitting Bull is seen to wear one, there is an almighty kerfuffle that cultural appropriation is taking place. I was going to say that the complainers will complain like the haters will hate, and the basis upon which they grizzle is highly skewed. None of them make a fuss when the cultures that are being appropriated appropriate culture from the cultures that are supposedly appropriating. Or in other words there is no culturally sensitive tit for emotionally supportive tat.

Mind you, there seems to be a great deal of tat for tat. The magnificent, noble, and put upon natives – whether they are Sioux or Suomi – are going off to Big W and Walmart and buying the worst of the ugly no-fashion garments invented by cosmopolitan culture and wearing that. And should be as roundly condemned for their lack of taste as the urban customers.  If they would like us to step out of the buckskins and beads we can, but they should also be encouraged to doff the hoodies and Ed Roth tee shirts.

There may also be an underlying feeling amongst people in some ethnic groups that they are ever so much better culturally than other ethnic groups and no melding can take place. They then squawk if they are not allowed to meld elsewhere as they see fit. They cite democracy in one direction but practise hypocrisy in another.

I personally believe we should wear what we like, like what we wear, and look upon others with tolerance. With the exception of 92% of cheap tee shirts sold at hot rod shows, Nazi regalia, and things that tourists wear, nearly everything else is fine. If a garment fits badly it is a greater punishment to those inside it than those outside it, and the distress can be terminated at the end of the day with a pair of scissors or a lawn mower. No clothing or colour or fabric is exclusive or inimical to any one group of people. If the cap fits…and it is cold and you are getting bald…wear it.

I know a number of other people who look even better than I do who think the same. They dress well and they draw their idea of style from many places and many peoples. And they do great honour to those places and peoples.

Heading image: Jane The Model in a dress from Rajasthan. The parasols are from there as well. She owns twenty of them and is looking for buyers. If you ever had an ambition to be Mary Poppins, contact me and I’ll email you her number.