Going to car shows is sometimes an exercise in patience – waiting until the car you want to photograph is free of strolling gawkers or until a glacier whizzes by…either one…and sometimes an exercise in tasteful criticism. Not that you are allowed to voice it – even the worst cars are there because someone thinks they are the best cars, and gentlemanly behaviour prohibits you from suggesting otherwise. But it is rare that I can go to a show and see a car that I would like to drive.
It’s not that I am mega ambitious – I drive a little green Suzuki Swift all day, and am perfectly satisfied with it. I can look at exotic vehicles all day and not raise a sweat or anything else. But occasionally I do get the wannas. This Dodge has excited the feeling.
It is a simple pre-war coupe with a rumble seat. Still in LHD form. As stock as they come, if you disregard the metallic blue paint finish. The interior has all the characteristics of the era – deco dash instruments, painted finish, and long gearstick. I see an air conditioner there, which bespeaks a larger engine, perhaps. But the whole suggests the best sort of daily driver.
I was also charmed and enlightened to see the handle on the rear part of he cabin. Now I finally know how they secured the rumble seat in a closed position. A daunting place to ride but I’ll bet there would still be takers wherever you went.
Again – if they made them look like this now, we would buy them in a second.
This is quite frankly the most glorious find on the 2016 Victorian Hot Rod Show. Parked on the outer circle on a sunny afternoon.
The shape is reminiscent of so many other cars – Porsche, Mercury, Tatra, etc. without giving way to some of the funny little quirks that they can have. You are looking at 40’s styling, of course, and it looks to be 1948 – 1949 – or 1950. The original vehicle is so close to a custom to start with that the decision to lose the rear bumper and round the pan goes almost without saying. Mind you, if the rear bumper had been given the same body-colour treatment as the front one, it could have stayed on.
You will also have noted the body-colour headlight rims that leave the massive streamline plus upright chrome grille to carry the front alone. As this is such an unusual car, the builder has wisely elected to allow the grille styling that Packard did to stand alone. Vintage car enthusiasts will recognise the Packard shoulders to the vertical grille carried into a streamline.
I am still trying to research the tail light shape and to see what relation it has to the shapes of the day. Some internet pictures show originals with small flat oblong lenses as well, though in some cases they are surrounded by more chrome. This set is probably more visible than the original style.
The interior is a concerto rather than a symphony. There is nothing overstated – it is minimalism in a luxury car. I should have looked upon a wood dash in there as a monstrosity – fortunately the designer had more style than that. The upholstery says luxury without raising its voice.
And the choice of colour is at once bold, refreshing, and historically plausible. I have found a similar two-tone style on the net in fawn and warm brown so this two-tone is perfect. And not a skull, eyeball, or smoking woodpecker decal to be seen – a blessed relief sometimes.
The last picture is sad. Sad for the owner who will part with this beauty – sad for me because I don’t have that kind of car money. But I am so glad I got to see it.