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Hooniverse Asks- What’s the Jet Age’s Most Evocative Production Car?

Robert Emslie January 7, 2013 Hooniverse Asks




With over a century under its belt, the auto industry has marched through many an expressive era. The earliest cars evoked the memory of their nag-drawn predecessors, even so far as being anointed horseless carriages. Some eras – like the ’30s and ’80s have expressed societal proclivities for streamlined shapes, made real in metal with the appearance of worn bars of soap. 

However, no era expressed in automotive design has been more noteworthy than the post-war jet age. Predominantly the mid ’50s to early ’60s, car design of this era attempted to replicate the speed-defining shapes and imagery of the emerging jet aircraft that at the time were the most prominent examples of progress and innovation. Motor show cars took this to the extreme, featuring every aspect of then-modern aircraft design, from bubble canopies to stabilizing fins and even turbine engines. Production cars never took the look quite so far.

Fins, jet exhaust tail lamps, and chrome in the shape of contrails did still adorned many of the industry’s products of this time – mostly from American manufacturers, but also trickling across the oceans to that of a number of import brands. The question for today is what car is the greatest exemplar of the jet age? Which car looks most like that era’s aircraft, or has the most emblematic features that have been translated from aircraft to road craft? What in your mind is the Jet Age’s most evocative production car?

Image: [remarkablecars]

Currently there are "48 comments" on this Article:

  1. Kris_01 says:

    Someone's gonna say '59 Caddy without a doub, and it'll be game overt. But before we go there, let me humbly suggest a '59 Dodge?

    <img src="http://www.smcars.net/forums/attachments/dodge/60535d1180974597-dodge-custom-royal-lancer-hardtop-1959-1959-dodge-custom-royal-lancer-20fvl.jpg"&gt;

  2. citroen67 says:

    Most evocative? Surely up for debate. But…by far MY personal fav from that era!

    <img src="http://lyndawilloughby.com/sitebuilder/images/1959_Cadillac_with_flames_edited-898×375.jpg&quot; width="600">

  3. Vavon says:

    Born from planes; Saab 92

    <img src="http://www.blogcdn.com/www.autoblog.com/media/2010/02/ursaab.jpg&quot; width="600/">

  4. $kaycog says:

    I like this 1958 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser with continental kit. Jet age, indeed.

    <img src="http://www.screanews.us/SamSites/JpgCarFins/1958_Mercury_Turnpike_Cruiser.jpg"width="500"/&gt;

  5. OA5599 says:

    Though you can talk about the jet age without using the word "Muntz", you can't without using "Jet".

    <img src="http://www.cartype.com/pics/2827/full/muntz_jet_ad_52.jpg&quot; width=500>

  6. scroggzilla says:

    You can't get more 'jet age' than a Supersonic

    <img src="http://www.coachbuild.com/gallery/d/15361-2/Ghia_Supersonic_Fiat_8V_1953_black_01.jpg"&gt;

    Ghia Supersonic Fiat 8V…..also available with Aston Martin, Alfa Romeo or Jaguar running gear

  7. TurboBrick says:

    1961-1963 "Bullet Bird" Ford Thunderbird. The greenhouse could be a little more streamlined but that tail section makes it look like it could just launch into space at any time.

    <img src="http://www.nashnut.com/kiss12-61bird2.jpg&quot; WIDTH="500">

  8. PilotMan says:

    <img src=http://www.collectioncar.com/files/3307-101324565178-10.jpg">

    I'll go with either the 56 or 57 Eldorado Biarritz, the integrated exhaust pipes are awesome.

  9. Irishzombieman says:

    Rephrased slightly, what car was most jet-like?

    There is only one answer to that question. The most jet-like car was the the jet-powered Chrysler Turbine Car .

    Ran on anything that burns. The president of Mexico ran one on tequila. Fifty five were built, so it sorta makes the "production" requirement.

    <img src="http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_images/2/4829/4581/24572290001_large.jpg&quot; width="400/">

    • Tanshanomi says:

      That's really pushing the definition of "production car" a bit, don't you think?

      • Irishzombieman says:

        It is.

        But 55 is definitely beyond prototype. It'd be a relatively high number for a high-end Ferrari–total 250 GTO production was only 39.

        • OA5599 says:

          They weren't intended for sale to the public, though. Not prototype, not production, but experimental.

  10. PotbellyJoe says:

    <img src="http://images.forum-auto.com/mesimages/867468/12521-1960-dodge-polara-2.jpg&quot; width=500>
    1960 Dodge Polaras always catch my eye at shows. For good and bad reasons. The coupe is unique, but the wagon… Well. Fins on the side even with the long roof? Why the hell not.
    <img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8036/7920710394_f6b453bca2_b.jpg&quot; width=500>

  11. Tanshanomi says:

    <img src="http://www.elitismstyle.com/blogazine/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/1958-DeSoto-Firedome-4-Door-Sportsman.jpg&quot; width=512>
    There are more well- known and iconic models from the era, but I don't think anything puts all the jet age styling cues together so pitch- perfectly as the '58 DeSoto.

  12. Vavon says:

    Obviously the right answer is de jet-powered Rover Jet 1!

    <img src="http://www.autodrome.fr/rover_t1-jet1.jpg"&gt;

  13. Devin says:

    For my serious answer, there's something about the inboard fins that looks more jet-like than other fins.

    <img src="http://www.plan59.com/images/JPGs/cadillac_1958_eldorado_biarritz_01.jpg&quot; width="500">

    According to Robert Cumberford, the look is actually inspired by a potato.

  14. Messerschitt KR200 some say it had the canopy of a real plane.
    <img src="http://gomotors.net/pics/Messerschmitt/messerschmitt-kr200-01.jpg"&gt;

  15. BrianTheHoon says:

    Since all my favorites are covered, I'll show some love for the two-wheeled jet-age whips: the 1957-Aermacchi-Chimera!

    <img src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-odpxuhrlQZ8/TtQlPky3KjI/AAAAAAAADbg/H-J8tW2_p0U/s1600/H88-1957-Aermacchi-Chimera.jpg"&gt;

  16. Mad_Hungarian says:

    I'm gonna say the '58 Pontiac, because what other car had a jet (or rocket, if you prefer) engine and contrails rendered in chrome along the sides: <img src="http://www.nashnut.com/archives/58pon2.jpg">Well, one other one I suppose, the '60 Chevy Impala, but not nearly as exuberantly as on the Pontiac:<img src="http://latemodelmustang.autotraderclassics.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/1960_chevrolet_impala_red.jpg"&gt;

    • Tiller188 says:

      The Pontiac also has the advantage of having little chrome pieces that look like (to my eyes, anyway) shock diamonds in the wake of its trim rocket. That's just awesome.

  17. '76Mini says:

    Simple; All of them.


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