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500 Meyer Lane
Redondo Beach, CA 90278
Tel: (310) 374-3000
Fax: (310) 318-6692
   
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Following the Great Depression and the end of World War II, great numbers of Americans took to the roads to enjoy a new prosperity. Thousands of soldiers, sailors, and airmen who had received their military training in California, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas began migrating in cars along U.S. Route 66 from the Northeast to find new lives in the Southwest and the West. American entrepreneurs recognized that this vast migration meant that travelers would need food, automobile maintenance, and lodging along the way and established modern travel facilities along America’s highways that further fueled the increasing demand for American cars.

Inspired by this new demand and the increasing competition for America’s new consumers, Ford innovated the first streamline car design in 1949, by introducing “slab side” bodies on its Mercury and Ford models. This new design was a significant departure from all of the cars that had been designed before with fenders that were separate from their bodies. Hudson added another dimension to the design shift toward streamlining when it introduced the Step Down chassis, which also improved car performance by allowing cars to have a lower center of gravity and much better handling. As American society became more affluent in the 1950s, cars became flashier status symbols, with chrome trim added to new designs wherever possible. The growing trend towards air transportation influenced car designers to add fin tails to cars, as well as more prominent, forward thrusted car front ends.

The first two American sports cars were introduced in the ‘50s, the Chevrolet Corvette and the Ford Thunderbird. These new 2-seater American sports cars were also designed with performance in mind. Chrysler innovated the Hemispherical engine combustion chamber, which boosted the power and speed of its sedan models to keep up with the new sports cars. In 1964, the general manager of Pontiac, John DeLorean, created the first “muscle car” by approving the installation of 389 cubic inch, 6.3-liter engine in the Pontiac LeMans, adding the designation “GTO” that had been a name first used by Ferrari, Europe’s leading sports car company. The Ford Mustang took the muscle car concept to a new level in 1965 with striking sheet metal styling and a 289 cubic inch V8 engine capable of achieving 60 mph in 7.3 seconds and a top speed of 123 mph. The Mustang was fast, tough, dependable and available as a coupe, a convertible and a fastback.

As concerns about the environment grew throughout the United States and fossil fuel pollution became a major environmental health issue, car engine compression ratios were decreased to accommodate the new lead-free gasoline. As power output dropped, car sales slumped, and when the fuel shortage of 1973 made refueling stops a half day project, the American car market shifted to fuel efficient “economy cars” and less expensive foreign imports.

b.dazzle inc. · 500 Meyer Lane · Redondo Beach, CA 90278, U.S.A.
Tel: (310) 374-3000 · Fax: (310) 318-6692 · E Mail: info@b-dazzle.com
 

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