Monthly Archives: June 2016

What Everybody Ought to Know About Early Auto Advertising in the 1920’s

In the 1920’s advertising became more lifestyle oriented with the use of lavish scenes like yachting, beaches, and gardening.

1923 Marmon
1923 Marmon

An interesting twist on the lifestyle advertisement is the June 1923 Marmon endorsement by Helen Keller. The ad featured a painting by Countess Elizabeth Zichy of Miss Keller in the back seat of a Marmon driving through the Catskills. The tagline read, “I knew we were in the Catskills by the atmosphere.” In four paragraphs of copy, she goes on to extol the virtues of this “wonderful automobile.” Marmon stated, “To her its chief appeal is super-comfort and ease of riding. Like other Marmon owners, she also seeks dependability and economy.”

1927 Studebaker
1927 Studebaker

A 1927 Vanity Fair ad for Studebaker proclaimed, “The President, first choice of America’s first executives. A ‘Cargo of Value’ comes sailing home in The President, a Studebaker Big Six Sedan for seven, and America’s first car to combine custom charm and performance with common sense economy.” In the foreground is an excellent illustration of a Custom Sedan. The background might be best described as depicting the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria. two-thirds of the copy covered the allure of The President, and the other one-third on equipment and model specifications.

1929 Cord
1929 Cord

A 1929 ad for the Cord comes closer to a pure “lifestyle” advertisement. It showed two women in a L-29 cabriolet in an equestrian setting with the tagline, “The Cord car creates a place for itself no other car has occupied.” Then it lists pricing for its four models. Clean and to the point.

1929 Duesenberg
1929 Duesenberg

The May 1929 House & Garden ad for Duesenberg is elegant with its illustration, typography, and embellishments. The copy read, “The same motive which actuates the creation of any masterpiece, prompts the building of this, the world’s finest motor car: unswerving devotion to one ideal…to produce the best, forgetful of cost, or expediency or and any other consideration. A Duesenberg definitely excels every other automobile in the world, in every way.”

Auto advertising of this era portrays folks enjoying the good life through their automotive choices. This was the time when the luxury makes rose to their zenith.

For more information on our automotive heritage follow this link.

Road trip to Millville’s Wright Museum

A kind of peacefulness surrounds the Wilbur Wright Birthplace and Museum that can only be found on a country back road near Millville, Indiana. The vista of farmland acres prepares the visitors for a relaxed tour of the lifestyle of the first family of flight.

The museum is built around the reconstructed house in which Wilbur Wright, who is credited with the first successful airplane along with younger brother Orville, was born in 1867. Here we see the family home complete with furniture representing the era. A tiny crib in the main bedroom may have been similar to the one that Wilbur used. Upstairs is the room used by his older siblings. Wilbur was the third of seven children.

Wright Flyer

Accompanying the house are interpretative displays in other buildings that outline the Wrights’ history along with the evolution of aviation. Perhaps the most impressive museum offering is the full-scale flyable replica of the Wright Brothers’ original airplane flown in 1903. Next door is a view of the interior of the cabin used by Wilbur and Orville at their test site in Kitty Hawk, N.C.

Wright jet

Their legacy for future generations is also acknowledged in displayed material. Particularly noticeable is the jet parked prominently in front of the museum. The aircraft is part of a memorial dedicated to Hoosier Milo Burcham, who was at one time the holder of the world upside down stunt record. The memorial not only honors Burcham, but serves as a reminder of aviation’s debt of gratitude to the intrepidness and persistence of the Wright Brothers.

Visitors wanting a glimpse of the era that surrounded the flying duo can also take a relaxed drive through the country. The museum is on the west side of Henry County Road 750 E., about three miles north of State Road 38 and three miles south of U.S. Hwy. 36. The trek involves a few twists, so be prepared.

For more information on the Wilbur Wright Birthplace and Museum, visit thewww.wwbirthplace.com.

For more information on Indiana rides & drives follow this link.

Louis Chevrolet Memorial

Louis Chevrolet is best known as the Swiss-born American race car driver and co-founder of the Chevrolet Motor Car Company in 1911 and who later moved on to other ventures. That is only part of the story.

Are you aware that there is a Louis Chevrolet memorial at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway? I believe that this memorial at the Speedway is a great honor to an icon who is overlooked in our automotive legacy.

LCM memorial

Fred Wellman conceived his idea for a Louis Chevrolet memorial in 1964 after visiting Chevrolet’s grave in the Holy Cross and St. Joseph Cemetery in Indianapolis. He recognized that Chevrolet deserved a more impressive memorial and set out to create it. In spring 1975, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway completed the construction of the Louis Chevrolet Memorial just west of the entrance to the Speedway Museum.

Adolph Wolter, an acclaimed artist throughout the United States, created the magnificent bust of Louis Chevrolet and the four bronze panels depicting Louis Chevrolet’s major accomplishments.

LCM memorial

The panels show Louis and William C. Durant, founder of General Motors, with the first Chevrolet Classic Six touring car in 1911.

LCM panel2

Chevrolet’s first winning car at Indianapolis 500 in 1920, driven by his brother Gaston, with four Speedway pioneers in the background, Carl G. Fisher, James A. Allison, Lem H. Trotter and T. E. (Pop) Meyers.

LCM panel3

Chevrolet’s second Indianapolis winner in 1921, driven by Tommy Milton, with Capt. Edward V. Rickenbacker, Col. Arthur W. Herrington, Louis Schwitzer, and Cornelius W. Van Ranst.

LCM panel4

Chevrolet’s 1923 Barber-Warnock Fronty-Ford, which placed fifth driven by L. L. Corum, with Henry Ford at the wheel, flanked by Barney Oldfield, Louis, and Harvey Firestone.

Around the back of the monument are four panels bearing the names of the Automotive Pioneers of Progress.

During the late 1910s and the early 1920s, Louis and his racers had numerous wins across the country. He was second in AAA national point standings for the years 1909 and 1915. With the Chevrolet Brothers Manufacturing Company, he and his brother Arthur produced over 10,000 Frontenac high compression cylinder heads for Ford Model T engines for competition across America. The success of this business was largely due to the fame that he and his brothers had earned racing-especially in the Indianapolis 500.

In all of his years racing and developing race cars he put his best effort forward and enjoyed much success.

His legacy is nearly forgotten, but perhaps we should all live by his motto “Never Give Up,” which is highlighted on the pedestal that holds bust of Louis Chevrolet.

I invite you to visit the Louis Chevrolet Memorial at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on your next visit to Indianapolis.

For more information on Indiana auto pioneers follow this link.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway to host vintage race cars

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway will host more than 500 of the world’s finest vintage race cars as part of the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association’s Brickyard Vintage Racing Invitational on June 15-19.

This event will feature a historic oval track reunion and a full slate of SVRA Sprint and Endurance races taking place on the 2.43 mile road course. Vintage oval-track competitors will also have a chance to drive the historic 2.5 mile oval. SVRA’s open access to the paddock, race cars, and drivers make this event one of the most fan friendly events ever held at the Speedway.

Vintage Indy cars at the
Vintage Indy cars at the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Indianapolis Motor Speedway fans appreciate and enjoy the history of racing and welcome this event to IMS is the perfect way to celebrate racing history with cars that have competed in all different classes and many different venues over the last 107 years. SVRA events are incredibly fan friendly, offering everyone the rare opportunity to get close to the historic racecars, talk to the owners and drivers, and trade stories about racing’s heritage.

“We are confident that the incredible heritage and geographic location of the Speedway will make the Brickyard Vintage Racing Invitational the largest vintage event ever held in the United States,” said SVRA President and CEO Tony Parella.

The event will begin with a test day on Wednesday, June 15, with racing throughout the weekend. Racing at IMS will be virtually non-stop each day from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. The cars will be on display in the infield and open to all fans providing up close access to the racecars.

Start making your plans now for the Brickyard Vintage Racing Invitational at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on June 15-19. Come to Indianapolis to celebrate racing history at the world’s oldest continuously operating race course.