The Saturday Car Post: 1954 Plymouth Explorer

In the early 1950’s,
Chrysler’s head stylist
Virgil Exner was looking
for a way of updating
Chrysler’s rather
old-fashioned image,
by introducing some
new concept cars ,
developed and built
by Italian automotive
designers at Carrozzeria
Ghia in Turin.

The six or seven years 1954PlymouthExplorer
immediately after the war
hadn’t really seen a
lot of important styling innovations
among the big car
makers of the time,
and Chrysler–

— which included:
Desoto, Dodge, and
Plymouth lines as well — 

especially certainly
needed a boost.

These cars were designed by
Exner and Ghia’s Luigi Segre,
and were built on existing
Chrysler, Dodge, Desoto
and Plymouth chassis.

They included the Chrysler K-310,
and C-200, the Dodge Firearrow,
Desoto Adventurer I,
and this car–
the Plymouth Explorer.

Despite being only 54 inches high,
the Explorer was built upon a
standard 114 inch wheelbase
Plymouth chassis…

… and it’s sleek hand-formed
looks belied the fact that it
was sorely underpowered
by a 230 cubic inch straight-six
that only made about a
104 horsepower, with the
semi-automatic gearbox  .

(There was a ‘Red-Ram’
‘Hemi’ V8 engine made
available for the Dodge
Fire-Arrow III, later in 1954 )

Underpowered, certainly,
and not good gas mileage
to speak of, even for the time.

Still, for early 50’s styling,
it certainly was a beauty.

!!! HOY !!!

rear

.

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Earl Mac’s 1949 Sketch Book Calendar

In 1949,
Earl MacPherson
was one of the
most popular
illustrator and
pin-up artists
in the United States.

This Oklahoma-born
painter’s annual
” Artist’s Sketch Book ”
regularly outsold
any other calendar
series of it’s time –
and would commonly
adorn the walls
in offices, workshops,
barracks, dens, etc.

A graduate of the
Chouinard School of Art,
he started drawing
pin-ups in the late
1930’s for the
Shaw-Barton
Calendar Company,
and then with
the famous
Brown and
Bigelow Publishing
Company-

— and he continued
his pin up work until
Polio forced his
retirement in 1951.

During the war,
he had created two
sets of pin-up playing
cards for a series called
” Win, Lose, Or Draw” –

– which sold over 165,000
copies in the first four
months of it’s publishing.

Earl Mac’s work has been
seen regularly here on
the Muscleheaded Blog –

but I thought that,
for today’s post –

we’d bring you an
entire calendar –

— to give you an idea of
the beauty and detail
that typified the
“Artist’s Sketch Book ”
series.

This one is from 1949.

The captions for
each month reads:

.

January –
” On The Beach ”

As the tide rolls in
And the sun shines down
Their sun-bathed skin
Turns a honey-brown .

.

February –
” Dude Ranch ”

You got me covered, stranger
Cause cactus scratches skin
And a cowgirl is in danger
When the dudes come riding in.

.

March –
” Reading Improves The Mind”

Reading behooves
A Gal, they say
She really improves
When she tries this way.

.

April –
” Native Belles ”

It’s never too late
For the fun to begin
As the native belles wait
For their ships to come in.

.

May –
” Sweater Girls “

Sweaters worn only
Early in May
Are not necessarily
Here to stay

.

June –
” Sun Tan Gal ”

If a lovely would tan
In the manner royal
It’s a good idea 
To use suntan oil 

.

July –
” The Fisherman’s Daughter ”

The net full of charm 
Is the fisherman’s daughter
She’ll come to no harm 
If she stays in the water 

.

August –
” Exposure ”

If a lot of exposure
Puts a girl on her guard 
She’ll risk the disclosure
When a man’s the reward 

.

September –
” September Morn Sandwiches”

When a sandwich we’re pickin’
Lets cut out the guessing
We’ll order cold chicken 
Without any dressing 

.

October –
” Soup’s On “

Remember the tale of
The tortoise and the hare
The turtle will fail 
Cause he’s stopping to stare 

.

November –
” Sophisticates ”

Artistic MacPherson 
Will surely win fame 
With this cute little person
Who’s easy to frame 

.

December –
” Holiday Festivity ”

In the holiday season
A yule log fire 
Gives our model a reason
For the Christmas desire. 

.

That’s it !

It’s very unusual to come
across one of these complete…

And I hope you enjoyed it —

!!!!! HOY !!!!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Late 1960’s Pony Cars

If I was to say that there
was an issue that causes
more fights at car shows
than anything else —
what would you think
that it might be ?

Fords versus Chevys ?

Yeah, probably.

Especially when it comes to
” Pony Cars ” .

Today, on our
Saturday car restoration post,
we’ll talk about the best
years for ’em – 1969-1970 –
and why they might be the car
type you choose to restore.

The 1965 Mustang started it all,
which is why they call ’em
Pony Cars –

but there’s also the
Chevrolet Camaro –
which, although not
quite reaching the popularity
levels of the Mustang,
hold the attention of an awful lot
of die-hard vintage car fans.

Now, to that, you’d add
shared platform cars like
the Ford-made Mercury
Cougar and the
GM-made Pontiac Firebird .

And, of course, they called it
the “Big Three” for a reason:

The Plymouth Barracuda
(a dressed up Valiant ) was
the Mustang’s early competition.

Later to the game, in 1970,
Dodge finally released the
Challenger
( which really was
an upgraded Barracuda.)

And we can’t forget to
include the
American Motors entries-
the AMX and
the AMC Javelin.

Although there are other cars
that folks would argue qualify —
like the Mercury Capri, it’s fair
to say that if one refers
to “Pony Cars”
they’re speaking of
one of these –

Mustang, Camaro, Javelin,
AMX, Barracuda, Challenger,
Firebird, or Cougar.

The good news for those
who love this car genre
is that, at least as far
as the Ford and GM products
are concerned, there are a lot
of them out there
in ready-to-restore
condition, and parts
are plentiful.

AMX and Javelins were
made by the now defunct American Motors Corporation, and although very cool,
are usually not easy to get
parts for.

The Chrysler-Plymouth
products have always had
(at least starting in the late 50’s)
well, let’s say…,
build, fit and finish issues –
as well as durability problems….

One should carefully
consider the low level of initial build quality when dealing with a limited restoration budget.

That said, a properly restored
1970 Challenger R/T with the
440 cubic inch Six-Pack V8
is about as bad-ass a ‘stock’ vintage
‘Pony Car’ as they come —

— you won’t see too
many of them on the street
and you won’t be passing
any of them at speed in
another car of that vintage.

Parts are accessible.

One who wants simplicity,
combined with potential
stock variety, parts availability,
and relative quality will probably
move toward either the Mustang
or Camaro varieties —

The 1969 Mustang, for example,
was available in GT,
Mach 1, Grande,
Boss 302, and Boss 429
optional configurations,
— in coupe, fast back,
sports roof, convertibles —
and with a huge variety of kit like
spoilers, scoops, wheels,
tie-downs, and trim items.

Confusing, sure —
but that means
options for you, man.

The Cougar, built on the
same platform had several
interesting variations —
the one especially worth noting
was the Cougar Eliminator
with 428-cid Cobra Jet big block.

Looking at the G.M side of the equation,
one still had an almost impossible selection
to choose from — with twelve possible engines
offered in the 1969 Camaro alone .

Camaro packages ranged from the standard
to RS, SS, and of course, Z-28.

There were even special custom cars
made for specific Chevrolet dealers —
with two otherwise unavailable engines —
both 427’s with either 425 or 427
horsepower, respectively.

These were called COPO
cars and followed the
same ordering procedures
as taxis, fleets and trucks .

The Pontiac Firebird, on the same
platform, wasn’t available in quite so many ways in 1969 –
— but there was a
‘Sprint’ with a 6 cylinder OHC,
and a 400 with Ram Air –
and the Trans-Am came
on line early that year,
and still 7 total engine choices
including that 400 CID L-74
Pontiac “H.O.” Ram Air III V8.

Looking at the market as a whole,
the Camaros and Mustangs dominate –

— and after all is considered,
including, of course,
costs and availability issues,
personal preference will still
be much in play here.

Yes, the Mercury Cougar XR-7
and the Pontiac Firebird 400
are probably more individually
distinctive, and my preferences
in a perfect world –

— but the mind boggles at the
opportunities presented by both
the vintage Mustangs
and the Camaros for a
adventurous garage project.

Next week :
“The Difference Is In The Decades.”

1943 Disney Employee Handbook

1943 was a hectic time
for Disney Studios —

It was a little over a year
after the sneak attack at
Pearl Harbor, and like
Disney, most people
were engaged in
war-time production
of necessaries –
from tanks
to torpedoes,
from propellers
to propaganda.

Disney had been very busy
in 1942 producing –

morale films like:
“The New Spirit”,
” Donald Duck Gets Drafted“,
and “ Victory Through
Air Power

– social awareness films
like: ” Know Your Enemy

and training films for the
U.S. Navy and U.S. Army
like: “Aircraft Riveting ”
and ” Identifying Warships“.

And 1943 would be
busier still –
– with a huge lineup 
of technical motion
picture projects
for the military
scheduled:

these –
British Torpedo Plane Tactics” 
” Glider Training “,
” Aircraft Carrier
Landing Qualifications “,

” Rules of the Nautical Road “,
– were just a few
for the Navy alone !

Bringing in new
qualified employees
and putting them as
quickly to work as
possible was essential
to this part of the war
effort, so the studio
started to develop
a new Employee
Handbook in 1942 –
called
The Ropes At Disneys ” .

It was a solid attempt
at communicating the
Disney corporate culture
while gently but firmly
reminding new
employees of the
strict rules that
applied to the studio
during war-time.

Page three and four
is an example
of how this was done:

“This is a no-necktie,
sweaters, and slacks
organization. 

Business-like informality
is an accepted Disney policy 

which has done much to
maintain a friendly
relationship 
between
Company and employee.

‘Company Procedure’ –
– said just like that –
has an 
ominous sound,
and yet, we all know that
the observance of certain
‘shoulds’ and ‘should-nots’
is necessary in an
organization as complex
as ours.

Rules and regulations
are set in,
not to dictate,
but to help you
and the Company
arrive at a
common-ground of
mutual trust
and understanding.

The ‘Ropes At Disneys ‘ is
published as a handbook
of general information.

Naturally, personal agreements
with employees, Union contracts,
and other definite commitments
will control.

This booklet is intended merely
to be in the nature of a pointer.
It will tip you off as far as
to ‘what goes’ – and what doesn’t.

If you unwittingly
slip off the beam,
it will give you
a painless nudge
in the right direction.
Please read it carefully. “

.

There are many
interesting aspects
of this little pamphlet
for those interested
in that era –
– did you know,
for instance, that the
Studio maintained
a members-only
(men-only)
after-hours club
on the grounds called
‘The Penthouse’ ?

( I’m told it’s purpose
was similar to some
Officers Clubs on military
bases – an effort to keep
their key people as close
at hand as possible ) .

Generally speaking,
this brochure is an
excellent example of
labor relations materials –
– and aside from a few
obvious items of era-specific
‘political incorrectness’
would still be useful as a
template for contemporary
companies looking to set
a friendly but
professional
tone in their own employee
indoctrination
packages.

And,
of course –
The art,
is the real highlight.

            ——- HOY !!!! ——-