Monday, November 26, 2007

Cars Detroit Forgot To Build, 1950-1960

Bruce McCall's 2001 book The Last Dream-o-Rama is a brilliant, hilarious example of postmodern paleo-futurism (an obnoxiously academic term I came up with to describe co-opting past visions of the future).

With a subtitle of "The Cars Detroit Forgot to Build, 1950-1960" this book is pure parody. Although, side-by-side with the sincere concept drawings of Driving Through Futures Past, one would be hard-pressed to tell the parody from the real thing.

The illustration above is called the "HobbyPop RoadShop from 1958" which proclaims that Mom better drive smoother upstairs because, "Dad's trying to build a birdhouse downstairs!" More excerpts from the book appear below.

El Scandinavia Mk XXX, 1956
"The Look of Today, Tomorrow!" was Matterhorn Motors' promotional theme for 1956, and semanticists, at least those with both the time and inclination, still bicker over its precise meaning: a promise, or an IOU?

Opening night of Matterhorn Motors' Futurific Tomorrowrama Cavalcade of Chrome, Detroit, October 1954. Public hysteria topped Orson Welles's 1938 radio broadcast of War of the Worlds before Matterhorn announced that none of the dream cars on display would be produced for sale.

Bossmobile Gal Friday Execustreak, 1958
Bulgemobile Corp. decided to give the busy Fifties executive the break he needed with its premier dream car for the '58 season. Enter the fabulous Bossmobile, where the high-salaried corporate big shot could sit back, digest his three-martini lunch, and dictate memos or gab to his golf pro on the portable Electrofone or just uncap the Johnny Walker in the lower right-hand desk drawer for a bracing nip or three before the Bossmobile deposited him at his split-level suburban home in time for cocktail hour.

See also:
Gyroscopic Rocket Car (1945)
GM's Three-Wheeled Runabout (1966)
Postmodern Paleo-Future
GM Car of the Future (1962)
Automobiles of the Future (1966)
Postmodern Paleo-Future Art


Rangachari Anand said...

Fantastic find! In this vein, let me also recommend Public Therpy Buses By Steven M Johnson. Also full of tongue in cheek futurology.

Anonymous said...

Really nice post. Where did you find it?

Anonymous said...

Cool illustrations, but really, what a nightmare!

Chris said...

Awesome! And they're just fanciful enough to be believable!

Unknown said...

We didn't forget to build them, we just kept them for ourselves.

Anonymous said...

It's un-American to miss the "Cavalcade of Chrome"!

Yeah, right.

Anonymous said...

"Dad is trying to saw his hand off, using a table saw in a moving vehicle!"

;^) Great find!

Anonymous said...

Dear Lord....the secretary answers phones, types, and files...and now she has to drive her boss around all day, while he just sits back there yapping away? Geez!

kozmcrae said...

Bossmobile Gal Friday Execustreak, 1958

"Miss Chambers, where's that Mega Corp. contract I signed yesterday that our entire company needs in order to survive?" "I left it on your desk this morning just before we got on the freeway."