Set of 12 automotive illustrations by the artist James B. Deneen
Special folio issue of the 12 prints that were also pictured in the Thompson Ramo Wooldridge, Inc. calendar for 1983. This year's calendar featured 12 unique and innovative autos alongside famous personalities of the day. Many technological advances were first seen in these autos and contributed to the auto industry's growth, as the politicians, athletes and entertainment figures contributed to the country's cultural growth:
1. 1911 Reeves Octoauto
- Theodore Roosevelt
...Theodore Roosevelt had become a national hero as the leader of the Rough Riders in the Spanish-American War and as an outstanding president for two terms... Milton O. Reeves of the Reeves Pulley Company finally made his mark.
Though Reeves designed several unparalleled automobiles, he didn't attain fame with any but the 1911 Reeves Octoauto. The eight wheeled curiosity attracted wide interest.
Reeves modified a standard four door Overland, adding an extra axle at both ends. The forward pair of rear wheels were the driving wheels. While the steering geared the front pair of wheels to turn at a slightly greater angle than the second pair, the four rear wheels turned in the opposite direction, creating a pivot effect. But the advantages of reduced tire wear and "ease of ride" didn't warrant a $3200 price tag - $2000 more than the Overland - in the minds of car buyers.
2. 1916 Simplex (Crane Model)
- Thomas Edison
...American inventor and pioneer industrialist Thomas Edison had developed such inventions as the phonograph, a practical incandescent light and electrical system, and a moving picture camera, which would eventually change life and leisure around the world... Holbrook coach builders of New York designed the Simplex 'land yacht' to appeal to local boating enthusiasts.
All Simplexes were custom-made. No doubt this model ranked among the most unconventional. Teak wood gunwales, a vertical vee windshield, ship style air ducts, a propeller to carry spare tires and brass ornamentation completed the nautical motif.
The Crane Motor Company engineered the highly advanced and expensive Simplex chassis for limited production. While a Ford produced 20 horsepower, the Crane model Simplex featured a six cylinder engine producing 110 horsepower. However, the Ford sold for $440 when the Simplex carried a $10,000 price tag.
3. 1935 SJ (J-585) Duesenberg
- Franklin D. Roosevelt
...President Franklin D. Roosevelt advance economic recovery and social welfare through The New Deal... The Maharajah of Indore ordered the last automobile built in the J Chassis Duesenberg Line.
The SJ (J-585) Duesenberg made a striking impression with its brilliant orange and black body, right hand drive and exceptinal coachwork by Gurney-Nutting. In addition, the Maharajah ordered a special set of red and blue running lights to crown each fender. The red lights indicated to his subjects that he was approaching. When his wife, the Maharani, was inside, the blue lights signaled.
The car featured a "straight-eight" twin overhead cam engine. Fitted with a "super-charger," the car could attain 104 miles per hour in second gear and 129 in top gear. Such fine enginering and design contributed to Duesenberg's racing success in America.
4. 1925 Wasp
- Charlie Chaplin
...Film actor Charlie Chaplin combined pathos and comedy to gain international fame with his little tramp character - the elegant ragamuffin in a derby hat, baggy pants, over-sized shoes, and tightly fitting coat, who sported a toothbrush mustache and carried a bamboo cane... Automotive designer Karl H. Martin's Wasp caused quite a stir.
Though too late to register his car at the National Auto Show in the Grand Palace or the Hotel Astor, Martin still displayed the Wasp. He placed it alone, directly in front of the elevators in the lobby of the Hotel Commodore. With its Rickshaw Phaeton body, Victorian top, severely pointed bicycle type fenders. 90 degree windshield and white ash running boards, the Wasp startled many debarking hotel patrons. Considered one of the most original designs ever, the Wasp was comprised of interchangeable parts for easier repair and greater durability. The flashy machine caught actor Douglas Fairbanks' eye. He bought the first Wasp built, reportedly as a wedding present for actress Mary Pickford.
5. 1929 Auburn
- Walt Disney
...Motion picture animator and producer Walt Disney produced the first musical Mickey Mouse films...The Auburn Cabin Speedster offered one of the first aerodynamic designs, whle other automobiles still resembled the horse and buggy.
The Cabin Speedster's creators recognized that technology from the aviation industry could be applied to automotive design. The tapered machine stood only 58 inches tall and looked like a "road-plane" with wheels rather than wings. Powered by a 125-horsepower Lycoming "straight-eight" motor, the car could exceed 100 miles per hour. Built for safety as well as speed, the automobile's windshield was made of newly developed laminated glass. And promoters of the Cabin Speedster claimed it could roll completely over without injuring passengers.
6. 1930 Bucciali
- Bobby Jones
...Bobby Jones won all four golf titles - British Open, US Open, US Amateur and British Amateur - for a "Grand Slam"... Paul-Victor Bucciali, the man who patented front wheel drive, created a design sensation with his alluring Bucciali TAV.
The car, which featured a stork emblem in the form of a sleek projectile on its side hood, reflected Bucciali's sense of whimsy. Bucciali has been called "an automotive genius capable of working masterfully and skillfully on the borderline of fantasy." One thing is certain, the Bucciali TAV approached the outer limits of design imagination.
7. 1941 Chrysler Newport
- Joe DiMaggio
...Among the greatest outfielders in the history of baseball, Joe DiMaggio hit safely in 56 consecutive games for a major league record... The Chrysler Newport appeared at the Indianapolis 500 as the first non-production pace car.
One of the finest custom coach builders, LeBaron designed the Newport as a solution to the previously unsuccessful "airflow" concept. The machine was orginally dubbed the "Golden Arrow", reminiscent of Sir Henry Seagrave's record-breaking Napier Golden Hawk. Ironically, it didn't resemble the Golden Hawk in the least, and was renamed the Newport.
Featuring an aluminum body, two cockpits and raised rear seats, the Newport was LeBaron's last attempt to produce a dual-cowl phaeton. Uniquely designed, the rear cowl opened hydraulically from a concealed compartment behind the rear cockpit. Dan Topping, owner of the New York Yankees, bought the Newport for his wife, actress Lana Turner.
8. 1924 Rumpler Tropfen-Auto
- Will Rogers
...Humorist and social critic Will Rogers had begun his career as a cowboy and risen to world fame as an author, lecturer, and star of vaudeville, motion pictures and radio...The Rumpler Tropfen-Auto, designed to resemble a water droplet, introduced a new application of aerodynamics to the automotive industry.
Designer Edmund Rumpler followed the drop (tropfen) form to develop a car with superior gas mileage, performance, handling, comfort and visibility. He used the swing live axle, which he'd patented in 1915, for the rear. Rumpler's concepts were later included in Benz and Porsche racing designs.
9. 1938 Phantom Corsair
- Roscoe Turner
...Racing pilot and aviation industrialist Roscoe Turner accepted the trophy for the second of three times from Frederick C. Crawford, former chairman of TRW, Inc. and organizer of the Thompson Trophy races... Rust Heinz, of the Pittsburgh catsup company, designed the Phantom Corsair.
Ebony black, with partially hidden headlights, knife-like bumpers, slit-shaped windows and concealing wheel covers, the automobile merited its eerie name. Heinz based the car on a front wheel drive Cord chassis with an eight-cylinder, 190 horsepower engine, which he boasted could propel the car 115 miles per hour. Bohman & Schwartz of California executed the coachwork. The Phantom's aerodynamic design and cockpit instrumentation, including altimeter, barometer, and compass, reflected innovations in the aviation industry. Unconventional seating allowed four passengers in the front and two passengers facing backward in the rear. The car appeared in the film, "the Young at Heart," and still exists as part of the Harrah Auto Collection.
10. 1931 Mercer
- Knute Rockne
...University of Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne, who'd popularized such offensive plays as the forward pass, died in an airplane crash... Mercer introduced a striking tan and blue convertible coupe at the 1931 New York National Automobile Show.
The flaws expected of a prototype didn't appear in this model. With coachwork by Merrimac Body Company, the Mercer was comfortable, powerful and well designed. It seemed Mercer's new president, Harry Wahl, would see his dreams fulfilled. But the economic crisis threatened the stability of the newly reorganized Mercer Company. There wasn't enough capital available to tool the factory up for production and operating at a loss would have proved imprudent. Wahl had no prototype to exhibit at the 1932 Auto Show. Out of desperation, he displayed watercolor renderings of projected styles. But he depression obscured his classic automobile's potential.
11. 1965 Bugatti
- Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong
...Jazz trumpeter, singer and ensemble leader Louis Satchmo Armstrong traveled the world as the foremost goodwill ambassador of American jazz... American designer Virgil M. Exner designed a roadster reminiscent of Ettore Bugatti's French classics.
During World War II Bugatti had to discontinue automobile production. Many people wished to rejuvenate the great Bugatti tradition after the war. Six Type 57C chassis remained in the factory. Exner bought one and designed the 1965-1966 Bugatti using such traditional features as the horse shoe radiator. Because Exner followed Bugatti's prewar chassis specifications, the car's engineering was already obsolete. But his machine approximated what a post-war Bugatti would have been like. Corrogeria Ghia of Torino, Italy, built the body which first appeared at the 1965 Torino Auto Salon.
12. 1959 Scimitar (All-Purpose Sedan)
- Bob Hope
..Radio, motion picture and television comedian Bob Hope was much admired for his rapid fire delivery of topical humor and for entertaining American troops in combat zones... Backed by Olin Aluminum, designer Brooks Stevens experimented with and emphasized the use of aluminum in the construction of the Scimitar All Purpose Sedan.
Reutter built the Scimitar body featuring silver colored areas of anodized brush aluminum. The design was mounted on a 1959 Chrysler New Yorker chassis. Called Scimitar for its upward sweeping lines, the sedan resembled the short, curved scimitar sword used by Arabs and Turks. With virtually all aluminum components - even the bumpers - the Scimitar was never intended for production. Instead, it served to demonstrate new ideas and advantages in using the light metal aluminum to build automobiles.