Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Dissect A Dash: The 1948 Tasco

The 1948 Tasco sits, like an orphaned puppy, in the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Mueseum, a prime example of too many ideas in one design.


Back in the early post-War years, manufacturers were attempting to establish what the new American public wanted in cars and other consumer goods. America was quickly becoming a "luxury" market, with the World's dominant economy and spending power. It was tough to keep up with the demand for housing, hard goods, and cars. 

The Tasco (from The American Sports Car COmpany) was a stab at the upscale sports car market, combined with the excesses of American luxury. The designer, Gordon Buehrig, had a hand in several beautiful Cord and Auburn designs, timeless classics, but when he swung for the fences on the Tasco, he whiffed. He even called the project "my Edsel".

The pontoon fender look was immediately dated, reminiscent of the 1930's, not the high-revving upcoming '50's. But one aspect was prescient.  The interior was highly influenced by modern airplane design, with levers and thrust-style composure. 

You could easily imagine you were in the cockpit of some sort of Cessna trainer, with it's engine-turned inserts and even a couple of actual plane gauge casings (lower right) to accent the resemblance. The other gauges are all Stewart Warner. The lower left tach pictured seems to be a later years replacement; it's a much later time period gauge.

Even the "three on the tree" shifter makes sense. There's something about that hand positioning that smacks of flying more than a floor shift does. Or maybe it's just me. But that's exactly what I would have done.

All in all, this is a shade above "novelty" or tribute. It's a car dash, but unique to this esthetic, and a worthy achievement for a designer with an incredible resume.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Dissect A Dash: The Bud Groner 1932 Ford Roadster (1953)

The Bud Groner Deuce roadster, as featured in this article from a 1953 issue of Speed Mechanics, was highlighted as a paragon of safety in the hot rod era, with protected car batteries, fuel shut-off valve, strengthened frame and other cutting-edge approaches.

But of course, the main attraction for this observer is the cockpit. It's a sweet custom panel, packed with Stewart Warner gauges.

To the right, of course, is the fuel shut-off valve, a rarity in a commercial cab. The panel surround is custom shape, very reminiscent of the 1933 Pierce...

1933 Pierce Arrow panel

The instruments, as mentioned, are all SW. The interesting aspect in this is that even though the new tachometer from SW was available, and this was a cutting edge hot rod, Bud went with an older style tach, a style standby from the 1940's, and purely mechanical. He chose it even though it's an obvious orphan style in that panel lineup.

The rest of the gauges seem to be all Wings-insignia, except perhaps the water temperature. The other switches and knobs (headlights, indicator lights) are all off to the left-hand side. 

All-in-all, it's a clean, classic look, with traditional touches, and a great example of mid-1950's hot rod styling.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Thursday, December 4, 2014

1960: The Alexander Brothers Show You How They Chop A 1949 - 1950 Mercury - Part Two

Here's the second part of the step by step instructions by the Alexander Brothers on how they chop the 1949 - 1950 era Mercury....

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1960: The Alexander Brothers Show You How They Chop A 1949 - 1950 Mercury

In this installment, we get some great advice from the legendary Alexander Brothers out of Detroit on how they chop the tricky roof of the 1949 - 1950 era Mercury sled. Enjoy.