Now-a-days, owning a car means having a weight on your conscience, means contributing towards global warming, urban traffic jams and the oil crisis. Having two cars, even if their indispensable for a family's daily life, is nearly considered a crime! To sooth our collective feelings of guilt, the car industry presents us with a wide range of 'green', eco-friendly vehicles - shy-looking cars, that resemble amebas on wheels. With the exception of concept cars and top-of-the-line sports cars, the automobile has certainly lost its status.
But there was a time when owning a car was a luxury. It meant being a part of the american dream. New models held themselves like a trophy, massive, sparkly in its vibrant colours and chrome plates, in its leather seats and fuel devouring engines. At the time, oil was cheap, the roads were wide, the traffic jams scarce and pollution was nothing but a dot in the horizon. The automibile had, at that point, a perfectly positive connotation.
Advertisements at the time - late 1950s - displayed colourful drawings of the latest models, straight out of the big brand's assembly lines. The artists did their utmost and their drawings boosted car sales. American brands were arguably the leading brands and the prettiest illustrations came from Ford, Buick, Oldsmobile or from Chevrolet, Detroit's giants.
Surrounding these cars, stereotyped, smartly-dressed people in care-free poses led happy lives while travelling, working or simply having fun. There was no mention of poverty, racial conflict or war in these drawings; it was all about leisure and success, joy in living. Smoking was normal and a status symbol, not a life-threatening addiction and there were no signs of senator McCarthy's 'Red Scare'. You could say it was a perfect society and the automobile was its most widespread symbol.
Let us dream and keep these drawings worthy of a collector. Let's admire them, not only for their beauty, but also as a symbol of a time when everything seemed more pleasant and the future seemed bright. A little while later the dream was over. Nostalgia.
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