I have always had a soft spot for the post-war late 40s Detroit automobile look which looked eerily like the pre-war early 40s Detroit look. You can’t send Cadillacs into combat zones and DeSotos made poor amphibious assault vehicles, so Detroit became lead manufacturer for the war effort in 1941. Forget cars, the free world needed Sherman tanks until 1945. People just wanted cars in 1947 and supply fell well behind demand for the North American auto manufacturers. The 1947 market conditions must seem like a long lost beautiful dream for the former Big Three in 2009. But enough with the history lesson, I had a chance to test drive a very well preserved 1947 Dodge Regent with 38,000 original miles on it and I leapt at the opportunity. The car was a time capsule; complete with rear suicide doors, front and back vent windows instead of air conditioning, and human arms instead of signal lights.
As car guy moments go, spending three hours at the GM Heritage Center with Jaguar’s Chief Designer Ian Callum is about as good as it gets. In fact, I thought I had taken twice as many pictures as I had. Check back later for a full write-up of my interview with Ian, in which we learn (among many other things) that the designer of such vehicles as the Aston Martin DB7 is surprisingly obsessed with classic American cars.