Did you know?? During the 1950s many cars were styled with pointy bumper ends or inserts known as “Dagmars” The term Dagmar was slang for a popular 1950s TV actress and personality named Dagmar. She was famous for her busty appearance and pronounced cleavage. To be sure a fantasy of many a young man in the 1950s. These “Dagmars” were the idea of GM stylist Harley Earl to mimick speed in motion. But the topedo shape mimicked another type of torpedo. The 1957 Eldorado had large black tips that people at the time called “pasties” The real Dagmar enjoyed a career in TV and Broadway and died in 2001 at her home in West Virgina at the age of 79. I wonder if she knew her “torpedos” graced the bumpers of millions of cars..Breaking News!!!..Due to the popularity of retro and trying to revive the glory days of style GM is said to be bringing out a “Pamela Anderson” type bumper next year.
Tag Archive: Harley Earl
This car maker was founded in 1903. This model made its debut in 1936. In 1935 this car maker decided due to many updates on its 1936 models it would re-name the entire line of vehicles. This models name came about when an engineer spent time in England. He came up with the name when tested cars that would do over 100mph..
Its elegant style was penned by famed designer Harley Earl. Its name would be know as this makers full size sporty models from 1936-1958. The layout of the first generation cars were simple. mount your most powerful “straight eight” engine to a shorter wheelbase but with luxury appointments. The shorter wheelbase and powerful engine was good for over 100mph top speed..
Its smooth running straight eight engine measured 320 cubic inches. Horsepower was 165. Some applications could be purchased with dual carbs. Unlike other straight eights of the day this was not a flathead like rival Packard. The valve in head design was advanced for its day.The engine was robust and reliable. Sporting ten main bearings and pump type oil pressure system..
All this power and luxury gave this 1936 model the nickname “The Bankers Hotrod”. Not a great nickname during Depression Era America. The first series was made between 1936-1942. World War II would halt production. It would return in 1954-1958 as a sporty full size model. Sadly it would return in other years. The worst being a front wheel wheez box between 1978-1981..with an emissions ladden four cylinder lump under the hood.. The true glory days of this bankers hotrod would never be re-captured. What Auto is This??
Lets face facts..GM from the early 1950′s till the late 1960′s had the automotive world in the palm of their hands. With concept cars styled by GM’s God of style Harley Earl the Motorama shows of the 50′s showcased and wrote the book on future automotive design. The pictured automobile was one of the first of a long line of GM Motorama concept cars.First shown in 1951 this futuristic concept would give hints of GM’s design future. It was rumored that GM spent over $1,000,000 to build its aluminum bodied wonder on wheels. In todays money that would be “ten million” As with alot of Harley Earl’s designs this swoopy beauty was inspired by aircraft of the day. Earls vision was to evoke “flight in motion”.In keeping with its look into the future the car had some very exotic mechanical items.Most cars of the day had 6 volt electrical systems this car used 12 volts.The frame used rubber oil filled mounts to aid in a smooth ride. The hand built V8 engine was ”fuel injected” with an external oil cooler.All of this was mounted to a 3 speed automatic tranmission. Other features included body mounted hydraulic jacks that would raise the car to change a flat. A rain activated sensor would raise the convertible top so the cockpit inspired interior would not get wet. The large tail fins would inspire design throughout the 1950′s.This showcase of wonder would be Harley Earl’s personal ride for almost a decade. What Auto is This??
This would be the last new body style for this car maker before World War II..But they would re-use it after WWII till 1949.The CEO of this inovative car company wanted to have a low price model to compete with Chevy and Ford. Forging into the low price field would prove to be a good idea but would never have as much sales success as its cross town rivals.Unlike the offerings from GM,Ford and Chrysler this frugal hulk was produced with unitized or uni-body contruction. A first in the low price field. in the USA.Uni-body construction was considered stronger and lighter than traditional body on frame construction but was never used due to high construction costs and Detroit car makers refusing to change to new and radical ideas This company was known for building high quality mid priced cars and its large car was a style and trend leader. Not to be done in the low price field its interiors were considered more plush and uptown then other offereing in the low price segment. For your money you got alot of car. Four body types were available. A sporty two door convertible.A stoggy four door sedan and a two door coupe. You could also get a two door fastback that would inspire GM’s Harley Earl to create a similar design for GM.Oddly no official station wagons were ever offered but a few factory were repoted to of been built.One carry over was the “flathead” six cylinder engine. Rated at 115 horsepower it was no drag racer but proved to be frugal and reliable. After WWII this automaker would make some of the USA’s more interesting cars but would eventualy become part of the automotive quagmire known as AMC. What Auto is This??
The answer to 05/17/2011′s What Auto is This?? Quiz is the 1951 GM Le Sabre.Created by GM’s in house design studio that was headed by Harley Earl the Le Sabre would showcase the future of GM cars through the 1950′s. The name “La Sabre” would be used by Buick for some of its most inspired chrome ladden sleds of the 50′s. So sure of the Le Sabre’s fuel injected engine Harley Earl made it his personal ride for almost a decade. The 1951 Le Sabre would be part of GM’s roving Motorama car shows of the 1950′s. The Motorama would showcase future auto and lifestyle designs.To see GM’s look into the future check out this 1954 Motorama video. Ahhh GM what did you do to yourself ?? What a shame.
This was the first offering from this historic car maker following WWII. Its proven transmission was introduced in 1940 but would gain true fame as the transmission of choice for the US Army tanks.Founded in 1897 this maker would go on to produced some of the USA’s most memorable vehicles.In its 107 year history it would produce 35.2 million vehicles. Following WWII the models would have two number designation.
You could get two engines. A 238 cubic inch flathead 6 cylinder rated at 100 horsepower in the lower priced models. In the upper class models a 257 cubic inch flathead 8 rated at 120 horsepower. Not known as a performance car this makers image would change dramatically in 1949 when they introduced a “high compression” V8 for mid price cars. That engine and car would be the first true star of early NASCAR. The engine would be the choice of Hotrodders for over a dacade.
The Harley Earl styled bodies were available in many types and wheelbase lengths. You could opt for any number of two door or four door “Grand-pa Mobile” sedans. One swoopy choice was the “Aero” body with a semi fastback that could be purchased in either two or four door models. Rounding off the choices was a very rare Station Wagon and a Convertible with optional power/hydraulic top.This first choice after WWII were in fact warmed over pre-war cars. What Auto is This??
Ok gang this should be an easy one..but this time we need year,make and model. This year was the last for the pre WWII body types that were carried over in 1946. This maker was a best seller for years. These classic bodies were penned by Harley Earl in 1940 but the basic shape would carry on for years. The makers ad slogan was ”The Dollar Grin” slang for its large almost smiling grille. The upper class model would feature nice touches such as Broadcloth interiors and wood stenciled dashboards. The convertible would get leather seating.
Many body types could be ordered. Two and four door sedans. A two door coupe. The very rare wood bodied station wagon. The “Aero” was a fastback styled coupe with triple bar chrome going down each fender. Toping off the line was the convertible with optional power hydraulic top. You could opt for many options including the not standard Radio and Heater. Other options included very neat fender skirts, outside sunvisor, wheel trim rings or dozes of other chrome your world up add ons.
The only engine choice was a OHV six cylinder that basic design was around since 1929. It featured hard to machine “Babbit Engine Bearings” and Splash type oiling system. Horsepower was a blazing 90. The only transmission of choice was a three speed manual with a column shifter. The shifter used the very trouble prone “Vacuum Shifter” good when warmed up but needed the arms of Arnold Schwarzenegger when cold. This would be the last year for the Vacuum Shift as well as the foot starter pedal. What Auto is This??