By on April 10, 2013

You will find distinct improvements in the 1939 cars. The new cars are generally more functionally streamlined than ever before. Many wind-resisting gadgets have either been completely eliminated or made integral parts of the bodies. Headlights, in most models, have been set in the front fenders both to give wider light range and to reduce wind resistance. Trunk bulges have tended to disappear, but without loss of luggage space. Windshields are generally wider and higher, and corner posts are smaller to improve vision. Interiors are wider and seats designed for greater comfort. Upholstery is more luxurious. Door and window handles are improved to avoid catching clothes. Motors are generally more powerful without any sacrifice in economy. Hydraulic brakes have been improved, and frames and bodies strengthened for safety.

- Collier’s Magazine November 19, 1938

Discuss amongst yourselves.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

By on February 17, 2010

[Note: A significantly expanded and updated version of this article is here]

For most of the fifties, sixties and into the early seventies, automotive aerodynamicists were mostly non-existent, or hiding in their wind tunnels. The original promise and enthusiasm of aerodynamics was discarded as just another style fad, and gave way to less functional styling gimmicks tacked unto ever larger bricks. But the energy crisis of 1974 suddenly put the lost science in the spotlight again. And although historic low oil prices temporarily put them on the back burner, as boxy SUVs crashed through the air, it appears safe to say that the slippery science has finally found its place in the forefront of automotive design. (Read More…)

By on February 14, 2010

[Note: A significantly expanded and updated version of this article can be found here]

That air presented the greatest obstacle to automotive speed and economy was understood intuitively, if not scientifically since the dawn of the automobile. Putting it into practice was quite another story. Engineers, racers and entrepreneurs were lured by the potential for the profound gains aerodynamics offered. The efforts to do so yielded some of the more remarkable cars ever made, even if they challenged the aesthetic assumptions of their times. We’ve finally arrived at the place where a highly aerodynamic car like the Prius is mainstream. But getting there was not without turbulence. (Read More…)

By on February 8, 2010

In honor of our greatest president’s birthday this Friday, it’s going to be Lincoln Week at Curbside Classic. We’ll start with a brief history of the brand to set us up for the sixties, when our featured cars begin. (Read More…)

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