1948 PARIS SALON
The 1948 Salon de Automobile has been captured in beautiful color slides by Yale Joel of Life Magazine. It gives us an amazing look at how stylish these Early Car Shows were. Lets be Inspired…
The Life Magazine Photo archives are an amazing treasure of unique photos. There are some really wonderful photos of a day at the Barris Shop in their archives, which we covered in and CCC-Article some time ago. They also have a really great set of photos of some Coachcraft cars from the late 1940’s and many other really beautiful images. Several years ago when I was browsing the Life Magazine online Collection I also came across a series of really amazing color photos taken at the 1948 Paris Salón de l’Automóvil. The photos were breathtaking and showed a collection of beautiful teardrop style coachbuilt cars as well as some production cars in the beautiful Salon at the Grand Palais in Paris France.
It was not only the beautiful cars that caught my eye in these pictures. It was also the way these cars were displayed in a pure and elegant way. It was all about the car, not about amazing displays, or wild show cards, and trophies and sponsored signs. It was the way the whole building was one with the show, the ceiling hanging banners were all uniform, just one color (white) with dark red hand painted letter. And the vendor booth were were discrete, like we have seen in early US Hot Rods shows as well. These wonderful images made me think about the modern day Hot Rod and Custom Car Shows… and made me wonder how it would be if we could organize a Custom Car (and Hot Rod) show today, as if it was done around 1950.
Overview of the factory car section.
Thinking about this took me back to the GNRS of 2011 in Building No. 9 where the Customs Then & Now exhibit was held. For this show the team had created a large number of hand made ceiling hanging banners, styled after the early 1950’s Oakland Roadster shows. It brought a really great vintage feel with it. The displays of the cars was mostly kept very traditional as well. But the vendors in the room were using all their modern ways of attracting people. Which, in my eyes, took away from the overall effect of the amazing Customs Then & Now show. It is of course very understandable that these vendors want to draw as much attention to their product if possible.
But how would it be if these vendors were invited to a special show that does allow only period style advertising. Hand painted signs, logo’s cut from colored paper, pinned to velvet like curtains behind the booth. Vendors, car owners and other officials in vintage period clothing. Authentic music playing in the building. All very much like the Then & Now show, but then taken to the max, and perhaps even find a venue that was already standing back in 1950 as well. It would be the ultimate Vintage Car show experience. I know things like this are being done on a small scale, like in just one booth, or a special car display. But doing it in a full building and taking it all the way would be such an wonderful event…. oh well I can dream.
Getting back to the Salon in 1948, this show was held at the top of the teardrop Coachbuilt car era. This show had all the very best cars that were available at the time. Coachbuilders as Franay, Figoni et Falaschi and Saoutchik had several of their beautiful cars at this event, just 3 years after WWII. These Life magazine photos show how these one off beautiful created cars were displayed, how people were invited to take a look inside these car, and how the shops had set up the display with some office furniture where the sales man could talk to possible future clients.
Let’s take a close look at this 1948 Show and all those beautiful cars on display. Let’s get inspired by the simple yet gorgeous displays at this early show, let look at the way these show signs were done, all uniform, very much like the early US Custom Car Shows were in house sign painters created the show signs at set up day. Lets get inspired to create future Custom Car Shows inspired by these early Car Shows, lets create a travel back in time Car Show…
Coachbuilder Saoutchik displayed several of their beautiful cars in Paris. The green one on the left is built on a Talbot-Lago T26 Grand Sport chassis. The white car next it, with the landau half top, was built an a Delahaye 175 chassis. The white car, in front of them both was built on a Talbot T26 Record. The wonderful red car is quite likely a Cadillac, with a coachbuilt body but with the Cadillac front kept. The dark convertible seem to be based on a Bentley and built in the same manner as the Cadillac. In this way Saoutchik showed that they could perform their skills on British and American luxury cars as well as the native french cars. (Info from Per Webb)
Jaques Saoutchik and his employees built the body of this Talbot-Lago after being inspired by the Buick Sedanette. The car was painted light pastel green and brown. Today the car is still around and painted two tone blue. (Per Webb info)
Special thanks to Life Magazine, Yale Joel for his fantastic photos, and Per Webb for his amazing knowledge.