1948 Paris Salon Car Show

 

1948 PARIS SALON

 

The 1948 Salon de Automobile has been captured in beautiful color slides by Jale Youle 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.

Grand Palais in Paris France, where this amazing 1948 show was held.
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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 ans 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.
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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.


1948 floor plan for the Salon.
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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.

Lets take a close look at this 1948 Show and all those beautiful cars on display. Lets 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)
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The grey car in the lower section of the photo is a Citroën 11 with body built by A.C.B. The rest of the cars in the photo are from Saoutchik. (Per Webb info)
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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)
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Fantastic overview of the Saoutchik  display.
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Delahaye Sedanca de ville created by Figoni & Falaschi.
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Besides the Coachbuilders the car of course also housed all the major factory brands from the time. This is the display of the France Ford Veddette.
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White Jaguar with wide whites on white wheels and dark red interior with a beautiful France lady…
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Panhard Dynavia prototype.
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Panhard Dynavia front view.
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Another photo of the “regular” car section of the show. Notice the displays, the Persian rug and comfortable office furniture and those hand painted ceiling hanging signs.
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Special thanks to Life Magazine, Jale Youle for his fantastic photos, and Per Webb for his amazing knowledge.










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Saoutchik Plastic Steering Wheel

 

SAOUTCHIK PLASTIC STEERING WHEEL

 

In the late 1940s Custom builders experimented with the use of plastics in Custom Cars. One of their inspiration sources was the lucite steering wheel in the Saoutchik Delahay 175-S from 1949.

In the summer of 2016 we did an series of article on the use of Plastics by Custom Car builders and the history of it. One article concentrated on the external use of plastics, like hand made bumper guard taillights and parking lights, while the other article focused on the use of plastics in the interior of Custom Cars. One focal point was the steering wheel in the Barris Kustoms restyled Don Vaughn 1948 Buick. And how this technique possibly was inspired by the use of plastic steering wheels in some coachbuild cars from the lat 1940’s. We included a sample of the clear lucite steering wheel in the Saoutchik designed and created 1949 Delahaye 175-S. This breathtaking beautiful car has been completely restored by Fran Roxas and the steering wheel used in the restored car was completely redone, since the original steering wheel showed its age, the lucite was cracked etc.

In an recently ebay offering this apparently original Delahaye Saoutchik was offered for sale. The auction showed some nice detailed photos of this historic piece, and since we have already mentioned it in the Plastics article I figured it would be nice to show it up close here on the Custom Car Chronicle.

 

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Ebay info:

Delahaye Saoutchik
Original used steering wheel
Original NOS New Old Stock 1949 Horn Button Center
The center emblem has the Coat of Arms of the Dauphin
ex French King of France Family

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The Restored Saoutchik Delahaye 175-S









The car is built upon the first new Delahaye chassis designed after the war. New features for this model included a much larger 4.5 liter engine, a De-Dion rear suspension, Dubbonet front suspension, Lockhead brakes, and novelties such as a radio and heater came standard.

The first owner of this car, chassis 815025, was Sir John Gaul of England who brought the car to several European concours, catching the attention of the press and public wherever it went. In 1949, it won top honors at the Grand Castle du Bois de Boulogne in Paris, the Monte Carlo Concours and Coup de l’Automobile in San Remo almost always accompanied by an attractive lady.

By the seventies the roadster had made its way to Colorado where maintenance on the race-spec engine and Dubonnet suspension became a nuisance. The owner then chopped out the entire front section of the chassis to fit a GM Toronado system which was front wheel drive.

For nearly forty years the original engine and car were separated much to the blissful ignorance of everyone who could still appreciate its distinct design. Eventually correct 175 parts were sourced and the owner had Fran Roxas refurbish the massive Delahaye. It made a welcome debut restoration at the 2006 Pebble Beach Concours where it graced the shoreline beside the best examples of the marque. Later, the original engine was sourced and it was offered at Sports & Classics of Monterey by RM Auctions.

Info from newatlas.com







Special thanks to Wolf.









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Neferteri Part Two

 

NEFERTERI part Two

 

Larry Pointer, our Forrest Gump of the Conquistadors Car Club, marvels at Europe’s Golden Age of the coach built automobile, and influences that would ripple across the Atlantic Pond. From carrossieres to customizers, the distance is not so very far.



Larry Pointer found himself a survivor of Y2K, retired, a widower, and a more or less empty nester.  He needed a project.  In this series, he shares his passion for all things “Streamline Moderne”, and how it all turned into a 13-year labor of love, to create “Neferteri“, his custom Diamond T truck.

By Larry Pointer with Rik Hoving

Streamline Moderne. In looking at Jack Juratovic‘s paintings titled Road & Track, November 1935, those images of the Milwaukee’s Hiawatha racing with the best of motor cars just define “streamline moderne“.  Motion by design.  Progress.  And yes, Hope.

Hope for better times. America in 1935 was a nation half a decade into the Great Depression. Cities of soup kitchens and “Hey, Buddy, have you got a dime?”

CCC-neferteri-part-two-Great-DepressionThe Great Depression, is search of better times.
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In the Grapes of Wrath bread basket turned Dust Bowl, bitter fruits indeed. Streams of jalopies looking nothing like streamline moderne were streaming out across the forbidding desert, laden with children and precious possessions salvaged from foreclosures, following the sunset to California, the land of milk and honey Promise.

Lucky were the youth signed up with FDR’s public works programs; the Civilian Conservation Corps, repairing and re-building America, its infrastructure, its National Parks. Sending money earned with sinew and sweat back home, in promise of better times, “a chicken in every pot”.

CCC-neferteri-part-two-Jack-Juratovic-The-Race“Road & Track, November 1935, a painting by Jack Juratovic.
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In looking at Jack Juratovic’s paintings, and especially the one with the coach built Packard, we can’t but be impressed with just how Exotic it looks. A motor car like no other. Custom built. As in the exclusive shops of the European Continent. The pioneer coach builders, the “carrossieres”.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Today, we still can see the best of those one-off customs for the rich and famous, restored to their former grace and beauty or better, at Concours d’Elegance gatherings. At Pebble Beach each August. My own “Forrest Gump” connection to that ascot world would be much more humble, a bucket list visit to the Pebble Beach resort and golf course. Not in August when the classics rolled over the grass, but There, just to stroll around and imagine what I’d seen in after-the-fact magazines.

My wife Dotti began to chuckle. “What?” I asked, coming out of my reverie of ecstasies missed. “Here I am,” she beamed, “walking over Pebble Beach lawns in my Walmart shoes.”

CCC-neferteri-part-two-baker-Reinhart-dansJosephine Baker, Django Reinhart, the Lindy Hop and the Charleston.
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Sifting through images of the exquisite streamline moderne coach-built motor cars, it is a wonder so many have survived. Untold numbers were destroyed in the blitzkrieg of WWII. Others were sacrificed to the scrap drives to supply the War efforts. What comes through is that those of the privileged class, traveling in style on the Continent, were not stricken so much by the Great Depression that dragged America down. The night life flourished in Paris. Those who would drive up, or be driven up, to the cabaret night clubs and dance halls, could celebrate in lavish style, entertained by the exotic dancer Josephine Baker, or to dance the light fantastic to the Gypsy Swing of Django Reinhart.

But it would be those custom made automobiles, custom made to individual taste by the exclusive coach builders, “carrossieres”, that would live to be celebrated long after those who “owned” them would slip away in the mists of time.

That swoopy Packard in Jack Juratovic’s painting mirrors the best of the carrossieres of Europe, deep into the decade of the Thirties. I could find a Delage, built by Letourneur and Marchand that had very similar lines. Figoni and Falaschi coachbuilt a 1937 Talbot Lago in that style. And a variety of Bugatti’s of the 57 base model from the same era compare well.

CCC-neferteri-part-two-letourneur-et-marchand-delageLetourneur et Marchand Delage.
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CCC-neferteri-part-two-cars-of-the-Jazz-Age-02A few more xamples of manufacturer cars of the Jazz Age.
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Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. It is fun to pick out the similarities among the European coach built cars of that Jazz Age. They were found with a variety of badges, chassis from such makes as Alpha Romeo, Bugatti, Delage, Delahaye, Hispano-Suiza, Talbot Lago, even marque’s of American manufacturers, especially Duesenberg. The demands of high roller customers who wanted not just to “keep up with the Joneses”, but to out-Jones the Joneses, could explain repeating shapes and forms.

CCC-neferteri-part-two-westergard-mercHarry Westergard created this 1940 Mercury for Butler Rugard in the early 1940’s.
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Back in America, we can look at the 1940 Mercury built by Harry Westergard and see in its styling, especially in the shape of the hood nose, definite echoes of those very European styling cues. This car was invited to be shown at the prestigious Pebble Beach Concourse, among the few “seminal” customs of the traditional era deemed significant enough for such an unprecedented inclusion amongst the recognized classics.

CCC-neferteri-part-two-similar-noseSimilar style nosed as on the Westergard Merc can be found on these Coachbuilt cars.
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CCC-neferteri-part-two-saoutchikSaoutchik created this 1948 Cadillac in black and purple, and the brilliant blue 1949 Delahaye 175 S.
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In studying the works of individual coach builders, there are recognizable distinctive signature shapes that can be identified. Saoutchik, especially, stands out, whether the base car was a Delahaye, or a later model Cadillac.

CCC-neferteri-part-two-vanvooren-BugattiAchille Van Vooren Bugatti for the Shah of Iran.
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But when the nation of France chose to honor the future Shah of Iran in 1939 on the occasion of his pending wedding, the Bugatti that was chosen first was delivered not to one of the most well remembered builders, but to Achille Van Vooren. The design executed by the Van Vooren coach builders, was based on that of Figoni and Falaschi, and originally meant for a Delahaye chassis. This car, today can be seen in the Peterson Museum, after narrowly escaping being scrapped in the aftermath of the collapse of the Shah’s regime. It has been considered among the very best examples extant of the coach built motor cars of the Continent.

Who were those guys, the carrossieres, or in Italy the carrozzerias? Coachbuild.com offers The Chachbuilders Encyclopedia, a biographical list of 104 coach builders. Ettore and son Jean Bugatti were designers in their own right. Others came up through the trade guilds that were rooted in the carriage and coach building industry of hay burning horsepower. Horsepower, and motor car racing, came to be a huge attraction and, with wins at Le Mans or the Mille Miglia, unequalled marketing power for the competing auto manufacturers. It was common practice, though, for construction of the car bodies to be contracted out to those in the coach building guilds.

CCC-Barris-Europe-Snapshot-08George Barris made this photo at one of the several coachbuilt shops he visited on his european trip in 1951. The photo shows a wooden buck that was used to shape the new bodies
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The basic body shapes were formed of hardwood, such as ash. Metal skins were hand formed. From the aircraft industry came pneumatic planishing tools, and the “English wheel”. Metal for fenders and various compound curves shapes also were hand formed over wooden bucks, to assure the three-dimensional results held true to the designer’s vision. Today, such masters as Marcel Delay and sons Luc and Marc carry on coach building, with time-honored practices and tooling that has stood the tests of time. Ron Covell not only offers enlightening magazine articles, but he and several other craftsmen put on workshops where those skills can be learned and developed.



CCC-neferteri-part-two-figoni-1938-delahayeFigoni and Falaschi  1938 Delahaye.
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CCC-neferteri-part-two-figoni-1939-DelahayeFigoni and Falaschi  1939 Delahaye.
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One of the most influential…and perhaps my own favorite…of those early master craftsmen, is Guiseppi Figoni, the designing force behind the Figoni and Falaschi coachwork. Figoni’s fascination with aircraft design following WWI led to aerodynamic elliptical shapes and “enclosed tear drop shaped fenders, which he called ‘enveloppantes.’” Those pontoon fenders, or in today’s street rodder speak, “fat fenders”, directly derive from the “wheel pants” of the streamline moderne airplanes. Out of the Figoni and Falaschi stable came Bugattis, Delages, Delahayes; “chassis-coachwork ensembles” in nitrocellulose lacquers a mile deep. These were long, low, swoopy cars with raked back windshields, flush frenched headlights, skirted fenders and “fluid grace and inherent motion”. Their “windswept designs” could blow your hair back, just standing still.

CCC-neferteri-part-two-Letourneur-and-Marchand1932 Duesenberg by Letourneur and Marchand.
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CCC-neferteri-part-two-Kellner-32-Bugatti1932 Kellner bodied Bugatti
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My own inspiration followed the “I want to see it all” view. Earlier models from the end of the Roaring Twenties and into the Thirties also caught my eye. A Duesenberg by Letourneur and Marchand in the greater Paris area especially stood out. This was before fenders were skirted, or car trunks were integrated into the car body. But it was long and low, and just oozed of power. A Kellner bodied Bugatti of that early period also got my heart racing, as did the model 46 offered by Bugatti from 1929-1933.

CCC-neferteri-part-two-46-bugatti-29-33Kellner bodied Bugatti model 46 from 1929 – 1933.
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CCC-neferteri-part-two-saoutchik-bucciali1932 Bucciali with body by Saoutchik.
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The one to stop the heart of any “chop and channel” enthusiast of the hot rod fraternity has to be the 1932 Bucciali with body by Saoutchik.
Out of Molsheim in the German Alsace a 1932 Maybach Zeppelin bodied by Hermann Spohn runs a close second in my album of dream cars of that era. No flammable dirigible there, and no lead Zeppelin, either.

CCC-neferteri-part-two-32-Spohn-Maybach1932 Maybach Zeppelin bodied by Hermann Spohn
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Then came the street rod to end all street rods. The Mercedes 540. A streamline dream.

Designs that flowed out in body lines and curved contours.

CCC-neferteri-part-two-Mercedes-37-540The Mercedes 540
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More recently, in 1952 Touring created a body sheath for a wine red Alpha Romero 6C roadster. Those Alpha Romeo roadsters put any hot rod into their rear view.

CCC-neferteri-part-two-38-alpha-romeo-6CAlpha Romero 6C roadster
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CCC-neferteri-part-two-Duesenberg-Graber1934 Duesenberg Model J re-bodied around 1937 by Graber with an wonderful convertible body. These photos show the car with its new black and dark blue colors.
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But to close this Streamline Moderne page in my memory book, I have to share images of a Duesenberg bodied by Herman Graber in Switzerland. This American icon, coach-built by Graber, and painted THE color combination, wine and red orange, would inspire my drawing of Neferteri, my own streamline moderne dream.

CCC-neferteri-part-two-neferteri-sketchOriginally the Graber Duesenberg J was painted wine and orange-red. My Diamond T Neferteri was based on the cars design, and colors.
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Next time, from Duesenbergs on the Continent to Duesenbergs back on home ground, and automotive design inspirations this side of the Pond. We’ll pack our bags with Howard “Dutch” Darrin and Count Alexis de Sakhnoffsky, and see what lay in store for me to closer to home (and my beer budget).

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