Sunday, June 18, 2006

Cadillac Heaven

If you had said that the hood ornament shown was from a Cadillac, you were correct. Very few makes of automobile enjoyed leadership in styling as Cadillac did from the 1930s all the way through the 1960s. The lion's share of the credit belonged to one Harley J. Earl, who made his mark with General Motors first at the LaSalle division.

Before Mr. Earl, the major automobile producers offered cars engineered for low ownership cost, with little consideration given to style. Luxury cars had been an assemblage of coach, chassis and engine by custom shops. Earl's Art & Color Studios changed all of that, bringing highly styled luxury automobiles to greater numbers of owners than before.

Perhaps Earl's most famous contribution to postwar auto design was the evolution of the tail fin. Originally created to mimic the split tail of the P-38 Lightning, the fin, and several other design elements, eventually became so outrageous as to evoke sexual connotations. But look closely at the Cadillacs from this era. One feature blends into the next. Every style cue compliments every other. Take one away, and it affects the total look. They were truly total designs.

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2 astute observations :

  1. stuffle said...

    Very nice! Was this strictly a Cadillac show?

  2. richmanwisco said...

    not quite...was a meeting of the socal lasalle/cadillac club at the hotel i was staying in....seemed like a the lobby was a stunningly gorgeous 1939 series 90 v-16, but i didn't have my camera to snap it