Thursday, December 18, 2008

A time of optimism.

I mentioned in an earlier post how the 1960's became a pivotal time in our history.
From a nation enduring the post war gloom of the 1940's, through to the austerity of the 1950's, Britain seemed to be on the brink of something new.

Many of us Brits watched with envy as our counterparts in the United States celebrated the post war era by developing ever more outlandish yet beautiful cars.
Chrome, power steering, automatic folding roofs, radios, heaters, air conditioning and more were fitted to a host of '50's U.S. models, while we Brits made do with re-introduced 1930's designs, or even more basic '50's designs! (we didn't even have side window winders on some models!)

For the working man during this period, steady employment meant that he could trade in his motorcycle and sidecar and become for the first time ever a car owner! The choice was limited, but the number of cars on the road gradually increased.

Then in the late 50's - BAM! American styling influences hit the Uk, through the grey and grimy streets of our industrial towns came sightings of huge (to us) flash, cars in the most outrageous colours!
At the end of the 1950's, credit became easier to obtain and the impact was amazing. Streets now glittered with brash new vehicles, now we too had style and fins and chrome were all the rage, gone were the black, greys and greens of the pre 60's car liveries.

One of the most radical British Automotive designs of the 1950's was undoubtedly the PA Cresta.
With its transatlantic styling and plush six seater cabin the Cresta could waft along on just a pur of the big six cylinder engine.
I can just imagine the 'Harrumphs' uttered by the old boys in their gentlemans clubs, as they shuddered at the thought of such ostentation!

The painting above is of a 1959 PA Vauxhall Cresta, the car was bright pink....unheard of by jove!
I painted a pink one with a white roof as this was identical to the car that my uncle owned back in '65, I still remember vividly riding in it one night and being too small to see out of the windscreen!

For Britain, cars like this heralded a new era, one of optimism. No more 'make do and mend' for us, now the age of consumerism had dawned.

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