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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Four Wheeled Icons

    We can't help but love the car. It's mystique is etched deep into American culture. From the deep and reverential awe we feel for "lost roads" and the path less traveled, to the loud and exploitative car chases in film, to the downright silly ( like driving two houses down in L.A. Story). The throaty roar of a V8 draining another oil well dry is a siren song. 

     We all have a car we love, whether it's the car we learned in, or the car we remember our parents driving, that carefully maintained machine dad waxed every weekend rain or shine. For me, there is a rusty spot in my heart which holds the memory of a 1963 Ford Fairlane station wagon with sagging rear leaf springs and an appalling thirst for gasoline. I gave her up when the frame cracked, but still dream her sometimes.

This isn't her, but is what she would have looked like restored, and fully horizontal
rather than angled by the bad leaf springs.
Oh, and mine never had the passenger side mirror

    In among all these dads cars and sentimental Chevy and Toyota commercials, there are a few that imprinted deep on me, for their significance in the media I like. Some you can't miss, some you might puzzle over.

          1966 gave us a horrific bit of camp, a modified Lincoln Futura with fins and these lines:

Robin: Atomic batteries to power. Turbines to speed.
Batman: Roger. Ready to move out.


there is a ton of Lore on this car, but I found this page Illuminating, particularly the initial cost of the car

In 1979, we got treated to a country beat and two good ole' boys in a 1969 orange dodge charger. Over 200 Dodge Chargers became considerably rarer over a series of crazy stunts and crazier plot twists in seven seasons of "The Dukes of Hazzard". With Narration and commentary by country legend Waylon Jennings, it's worth a second or third watch. Sort of like Little House with V8s

Someday the mountain might get 'em
but the law never will

1983 saw the release of ZZTop's Eliminator Album. This hot wheels car still conjures images of Bearded men, Scantily clad women and heavy guitar music. It should be noted that the hot wheels car with this Deco differs from the actual ZZTop custom by a year, and the Eliminator did not have the open side panels for the engine

Gimme all your Lovin

1983 also gave us another beautiful red classic car, but with a far more sinister bent behind it. The book was definitely more chilling than the movie, but the movie was scary enough, Christine was a 1958 Plymouth Fury which could kill, heal herself of damage, and take over her driver, driving him to the depths of obsession 

Ain't she Sweet???

After that. we were fortunate that 1984 gave us the cure for a supernatural car...a 1959 Cadillac Ambulance that carried the Ghostbusters to their work. Ecto-1 never drove on it's own, or pulled any major stunts, but it was distinctive, and Bad-ass.

Saving the day

1985 gave us an elderly scientist defying the flow of time and "doing it with Style". Doc Browns DeLorean skimmed from 1885 to 2015 , always managing, against incredible odds, to make the quantum leap back to where it started from

Promise me we'll be Back in Time
in 2005, Black was the new Black, and tank was the new Batmobile. Christopher Nolan gave us a grittier, "real world" Batman, and a mobile arsenal rather than a classic hot rod. The Tumbler is my second favorite of all the incarnations of the Batmobile. Low and menacing, semi-unearthly, and somehow "crouched".

Also in 2005, Classic came back, and it came back in black. Dean's "baby"with a trunk full of monster-killing weapons and two brothers, and the road so far. This model is so detailed you can see the Kansas license plate on the back, although it unfortunately lacks the spotlights mounted on the doorframes

The most important object in the universe

and as a bonus...

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