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The Chrysler Stable of the 1930s

Austin and Morris Travelogs from 1933

The art deco period—from the 1920s to the 1940s—is known for blending modern decorative arts with industrial design and is today synonymous with luxury and glamour.

The automobile, a rapidly evolving mechanical child of the 20th century, thus became the perfect metal canvas upon which to express the popular art deco style. While today manufacturers often strive for economy and efficiency, this was a period when innovation and elegance reigned supreme. Influenced by an international art movement, automakers embraced the sleek, new streamlined forms and aircraft-inspired materials to create memorable automobiles that still thrill all who see them. With bold, sensuous shapes; handcrafted details; and luxurious finishes, the 14 automobiles and three motorcycles in the exhibition provide stunning examples of car design … with artistic flair. Source :

1930 -

1931 -

1932 -

1933 - Silver Arrow

Image sourced from - PreWarCars

Image sourced from - SM Cars

From PreWarCars :

1933 - Art Deco styling. Art Deco influenced the design of buildings, furniture, jewellery, fashion, movie theatres, trains, ocean liners, everyday objects such as radios and vacuum cleaners, and cars!! A more sleek form of the style, called Streamline Moderne, appeared in the 1930’s.

The Chicago World’s Fair presented one of the most intriguing and desirable pre-war cars, the 1933 Pierce-Arrow Silver Arrow concept car, the ultimate example of Streamline Moderne. With a design that was far ahead of its time, unexpectedly progressive for a brand like Pierce Arrow and introduced a year before other streamlined cars like the Chrysler Airflow and Tatra T77, it was the talk of the town. Sotheby’s describes it “the car that inaugurated the streamlined automotive age.” With its sleek design with integrated fenders, its innovative technique and its powerful V12 engine, it surpassed in attention other automobile masterpieces that were also introduced during the World’s Fair, like the one-off Duesenberg Model SJ Torpedo Sedan, Packard’s advanced V-12-powered Sport Sedan and Cadillac’s Aero-Dynamic Coupe with 16 cylinders.

Designer of the 1933 Pierce-Arrow Silver Arrow was Phillip O. Wright. In 1931, during a unwanted delay because his car had been stolen, he met in Chicago Roy Faulkner, who was at that time president of the Cord Corporation. Together they created the elegant Cord L-29 Speedster. When Roy Faulkner became Vice-President of Pierce-Arrow he asked Phil Wright to join him. Wright, aged 26, then designed the Silver Arrow, a car that was developed with Studebaker in South Bend, together with a streamlined car for Studebaker, the 1934 Land Cruiser, that was also presented during the Chicago World’s Fair.

Only five were built, of which three are still existing. Nr. 3 has been sold in December 2015 by RM Sotheby’s for $3,740,000. Read more here

1934 - Jean Harlow & her Cadillac

Jean Harlow and 1934 Cadillac

1935 - Hispano Suiza K6 Cabriolet

Hispano Suiza 1935

Is this the 'It Car' of 1935? - Image courtesy of Bonhams

The choice of European Royalty, Indian Maharajahs, Hollywood film stars and industrial tycoons, the legendary Hispano-Suiza marque was superbly engineered and unashamedly imitated by some of the world's leading car manufacturers. The K6 model was the spiritual successor to the legendary H6, which had been the world's most advanced automobile at the time of its introduction in 1919 and for many years thereafter. The H6 was cataloged until 1933, by which time 2,158 chassis of all types had been completed.

In 1931, the smaller Ballot-based HS26 Junior was introduced, only to be superseded in 1934 by the lovely K6. The K6 shared many mechanical and chassis components with its otherworldly sibling, the incredible 9.5 liter twelve-cylinder Hispano-Suiza J12 model. In this way, the K6 Normal chassis rode on the same 342 cm wheelbase as the J12 Court, and the gearbox, brakes, steering and suspension were identical. Indeed, for historians, it has been a constant source of confusion over the years to tell a K6 from a J12 without a chassis number to aid identification.

The K6 was a superior long distance touring chassis for owners who did not desire the size and complexity of a J12, but wanted the same high quality, superior standard of excellence, beautiful road manners and unquestioned prestige of driving a Hispano-Suiza. K6 production is believed to have been a mere 204 chassis, all fitted with individually coach built bodies, painstakingly constructed by the very finest carrossiers in France and abroad. Source and to read more : Bonhams

1936 - Mercedes-Benz 540 K Special Cabriolet by Sindelfingen

1936 Mercedes Benz 540 K

Image source :

1936 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Special Cabriolet by Sindelfingen 5,401 cc overhead-valve inline eight-cylinder engine with accelerator-actuated Roots supercharger, twin-updraft pressurized carburetors, four-speed manual transmission, independent wishbone and coil-spring front suspension, independent swing-arm rear suspension with trailing arms, double coil springs, and lever-action shocks, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 128 in. A fully unique commission from Sindelfingen Styling cues inspired by the Autobahnkurier. Built for American aristocrat William A.M. Burden Jr.

Well known, respected, and one of a kind The Burden family made its original fortune in horseshoes, reportedly shoeing the entire Union Army during the Civil War. For obvious reasons, the bottom eventually fell out of the horseshoe business, but William A.M. Burden Sr. and his brother, James, both preserved the family’s good standing by marrying Vanderbilts. Over the years, the Burden carriage house was home to an ever-changing range of the finest cars that money could buy. Bespoke commissions from all the great coachbuilders flowed through the family office for Bill Burden’s approval: pencil drawings of suggestions from Waterhouse, blueprints from Brewster for the latest Rolls-Royce, and original designs by Gordon Buehrig to tempt the prospective Duesenberg owner. Burden did, indeed, buy a Duesenberg, as well as a Hispano-Suiza J12 and a fully one-off, black-on-black Speedster that had been dreamed up with Harry Miller and combined front-wheel-drive and a Miller-built V-16. In 1936, planning on travels in Europe, Burden went to Mercedes-Benz for a 540 K, and as with his other cars, standard bodywork for the car was simply out of the question. Reportedly, his request was for a design influenced by the factory’s great racing cars of the era. By the time it evolved into metal, Sindelfingen’s commission, number 219611, had become the Special Cabriolet shown here. After being delivered to Paris in August 1936, the Burden 540 K in its final form bore little resemblance to the contemporary W125. Instead, the influence of the car’s owner and the Miller-Burden Speedster is apparent in the separate fenders, its lack of running boards, and the monochromatic black-on-black color scheme, as well as the blackwall tires and very little exposed bright metal trim. French design influences also crept in, with a wonderfully sloped and flared grille, which channels period Delahayes, and curvaceous fender lines drawn to a teardrop taper, which were nearly identical to those found on the famed Autobahnkurier Coupes. Even the usual 540 K hood louvers took on a gentle roundness. The car borrowed the idea of a spare inset and flush with the rear deck from the 540 K Special Roadster, keeping the wheel out of sight except from a direct rear view. Yet, with plans for “grand touring” in Bill Burden’s mind, provisions were made to mount a second wheel on top of the first, as is shown in some period photographs of the car. Burden’s European touring in the car was cut short by the advent of World War II, and when he returned to the United States, his 540 K came with him. Source : Robert Myrick Photography

1937 - Cadillac Fleetwood Series 70 Sport Coupe

Cadillac 1937

Image source -

The 1937 Cadillac Series 70 rested on a 131 inch wheelbase, the same size as the 1936 model, along with the same body styles (Touring Sedan, Convertible Sedan, Sport Coupe, and Convertible Coupe). All the Series 70 bodies were Vee windshield examples by Fleetwood. They had a narrower radiator shield with the new louver-style 'Convex Vee' grill. The headlights were positioned on the radiator shell and the front fenders had a crease along the center line. The engine was an L-head, 346 cubic-inch unit offering 135 horsepower - the same as the 1936 model year. They had a three-speed selective gearbox with synchromesh and hydraulic brakes on four wheels. The bodies were the same as the prior year except they had drip molding located along the bottom of the front pillar and continued up and over the doors and the rear quarter windows. Most of the bodies featured a built-in trunk and the wheel disc were given a hub cap. For Cadillac, the Series 70 and 75 (combined) proved to be one of the more popular models for the company, generating 4,232 examples produced. The only model that saw higher production was the Series 60 with 7,003 units sold. Just 478 examples of the Series 85 were produced and just 50 examples of the Series 37-90 (sixteen cylinder) were sold. Source :

1938 - Delahaye 135 MS Pourtout

1938 Delahaye

Image source : myntransportblog

The Delahaye 135 MS was launched in 1938 as a special high-end version (MS stands for Modifie Speciale) of the 135 from 1935. The 135 MS has a 125 horsepower, 3.5-liter, 6-cylinder engine and could reach a top speed of 100 mph. Many famous coachbuilders such as Saoutchik, Chapron, Letourneur et Marchand and Pourtout made beautiful bodywork for the 135 MS chassis.

This aerodynamic coupe by Carrosserie Pourtout was inspired by Georges Paulin's prewar designs. Paulin worked for Marcel Pourtout in his Carrosserie in Rueil-Malmaison in the suburbs of Paris, and had many special designs attributed to his name, including the 1938 Embiricos Bentley and the 1934 Peugeot Eclipse with a retractable steel cabriolet roof, a construction he patented. This Delahaye 135 MS Coupe is probably one of his last designs since, when Paris was occupied in 1940, Paulin joined the British Secret Service to fight the Nazi regime, but tragically was arrested and executed.

This aerodynamic Delahaye 135 MS coupe by Claude Pourtout was built for the Paris Auto Salon in 1946. The Salon was the first motor show after the war and this Delahaye was the feature car on the Pourtout stand. It was inspired by the works of Georges Paulin who had worked with Claude Pourtout at his Carrosserie in Paris before the war and had designed many wonderful cars including the 1938 Embiricos Bentley and the 1934 Peugeot 'Eclipse' with a retractable steel cabriolet roof, a construction which he patented. Emile Delahaye was born in Tours, France in 1843. He studied engineering in Angers, France. In 1869 he began work with his engineering degree in applied arts and crafts. Source : conceptcarz

1939 -

Hood / Bonnet Ornaments

The Silver Arrow Archer

Detail of hood for Silver Arrow Archer

The Silver Arrow Archer

With thanks to Concept Cars for the image of the Archer

& Having Fun

Girls in a Boot

Girls in Boot

1926 - Vogue Fashion

Vogue Cover 1926

1926 Geneva Motor Show

1926 Geneva Motor Show

1932 Beach Belle on a Motor Cycle

Wolf Motorcycles 1932 Ad

Walking the Dog - The Distinguished Hupmobile 8

Distinguished Hupmobile

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Page refreshed : 15th November 2017 (G)