Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Vintage Cars and Automobile Art

Posted Tuesday, 19 Aug 2008
Earlier this summer, someone in our genealogy group suggested we post blog entries on the history of our family cars. I could really have a lot of fun with this topic. However, I need to find and scan a few more pictures before I'm ready to post an entry- we've gone through a lot of cars in our family. In any case, on my recent trip to Cambridge (formerly Galt) in Ontario, Canada, I bumped into a vintage car show. The cars were lined up on main street (see below) with the spire of a Presbyterian Church way in the background.

One of the ladies in our group recently attended a vintage car show near Detroit and brought back many pictures of hood ornaments- to illustrate her family cars. But, I doubt if she saw an ornament like the one pictured below on the hood of a vintage model Oldsmobile. I would even be proud to mount it on the seat of my humped-back camel- if I had one.

Then there was the interior of a 1962 Plymouth Fury, complete with heart-throbing red-colored dashboard, rugs, and dice. Plenty of room in the front seat for making-out at the local drive-in while watching a movie probably starring Doris Day and Rock Hudson.


Which brings me to my own family history. My first cousin, Clifford Russell McKillop, son of Calvin McKillop and the former Gladys Strike, worked in the field of Automobile Art . You will not hear much about this specific style of art nowadays, because it is a "lost art", pretty much replaced by photographs and computer graphics. Cliff was one of three artists at a company called Graffix Concepts which operated out of Warren, Michigan, near Detroit. They used to create, by hand, detailed paintings of automobiles and parts of autos- mostly dashboards. Depicted below is the dashboard of a 1953 Oldsmobile Fiesta Convertible. The signature of "C.McKillop" can be seen in the lower, right-hand corner. The painting was represented in a long, horizontal graphic poster; so, I had to take a two-part digital picture. The second picture is the left-hand side of the poster showing the driving wheel and gear shift. The painting shows incredible detail- note the reflections and shadows on the chrome. I understand it took Cliff 82 hours of patient, hand-painting to complete.

Image: right-hand side of painting Left-hand side of painting.

This painting and four others of vintage automobile close-ups were commissioned by Automotive News as part of the 100th anniversary of the Automobile in America according to the magazine article which Cliff's wife mailed to me years ago. About 2500 limited edition copies of the paintings were distributed to car lovers around the world. Incidentally, it was sometime around 1994, that I met Cliff and his wife, Betty Jean, at their home in Hazel Park, Michigan. It was a first time meeting for us but why so late in our respective lives? My Father was adopted and I met only a few of my first cousins during my early years. I finally discovered what I had been missing.


8 comments:

joshua said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Sharon

http://www.autoloans101.info

Anonymous said...

Your web site is great! Here is a blog post about a garage that used to service REO Speed Wagons:

http://sanduskyhistory.blogspot.com/2009/03/ogontz-garage.html

Belle said...

nice post!

Eric said...

Sweet interior! Classic cars really thrilled me with its over-all appearance. Riding it actually makes my blood flow so fast that I feel like I am one those God fathers from the past. My Used cars (Anaheim) are restored for my vintage collection. Some of them are my father's cars that are still in good condition. I usually bring them to vintage cars shows. It boosts my ego whenever someone admire my cars.

car donation said...

Clifford Russell McKillop is really cool! Vintage cars would be a great collection if you're a billionaire.

Timmy Radloff said...

Hm, that's a nice lineup of cars. Aside from the design of those cars, a person finds extra appeal in the history and nostalgia reflected in the age of those vehicles...

Erwin Calverley said...

What a fascinating history your family has with vintage cars! Those images you posted are beautiful. Oh, and that car show looked like it was a lot of fun. The red interiors of that Plymouth was absolutely gorgeous! I’d love to have seen that in person.

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