Tuesday, April 24, 2012

2013 Lincoln MKL/xh. '49 Cosmopolitan Redux!

The Lincoln MKL would be the marque's flagship lineup, available in sedan, coupe and shooting brake bodystyles, unique in America. Drivetrains would include rear wheel- and all wheel-drive and powertrains would consist of Ecoboost and Hybrid engines. Lincoln nomeclature would grow to include an "x" and an "h" to denote the all wheel drive and hybrid options. An "s" model would mean the car was equipped with the most powerful supercharged engine available. The "L" models would be approximately 18-inches longer than the current MKS, with a wheelbase in the 118-120 inch range. I know I use "suicide doors" quite often on my chops, but there is a reason to include them on my Lincolns, besides their historical ties to so many classic Lincolns.  They would add so much "street theater" to the car's reputation. They could be powered opened and closed for little expense or engineering issues, and would really make the marque stand out in a daily driver's experience. I think they're exactly what Lincoln needs to differentiate itself in today's market. Click image to enlarge to almost full screen!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

1966 Thunderbird Speedster Showcar

"If I Had Been There"
Quick Study: Loyal blogreader, "Bobf," suggested I try a Speedster version of the mid '60s Thunderbird. This is what I came up with, in the manner of a period '66 Ford showcar, complete with Cragar wheels, whitewalls, cut-down windshield and redesigned side glass. I "welded" the rear fender skirts into the body, removed the doorhandles and nameplate, added the sidepipes and a modified '66 Mustang scoop trim piece, all things they might have done in the Ford studios of the time. I wouldn't mind taking a country drive in this Tbird! I started with a base photo from a website called Bold Ride, found a background image at a wallpaper site and did the rest with the magic of Photoshop.

B T W :
This car inspired me... I'd love to see a TV show based on the automobile industry in Detroit, circa 1958-71. It could be a Mad Men-ish look at a major automotive design studio, and its execs, designers, clay modelers, and their wives, boyfriends, affairs, drinking and swearing habits, their custom cars, rushed clay models, weekends at the Grosse Point Yacht club, hijinks, shenanigans, their personal relationships... You know, but with a heavy emphasis on the cars and how those cars affect their lives, professionally and personally. There could be a 10-minute Epilog at the end of each 80 minute episode; an historic "sidebar" of an actual show car and short history and sexy trivia.

B T W :
Marty Martino, a new reader to casey/artandcolour, but a long-time car builder and afficionado, mentioned the '63 Thunderbird Italien when commenting about my Speedster. A long time ago, I did a chop of what a square-edged '64 'Bird might have looked like with a fastback, hence my '64 Italien 2. I think this chop is about 5 years old. I'll take another stab at a factory Tbird fastback one of these days.

A full length brushed aluminum lower body side strip was added, too.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

1961 Plymouth Fury Design Tweak

Refining One of Virgil Exner's Last Masterpieces
For this week's design tweak, I chose a 1961 Plymouth Fury 2 door hardtop. While I find the original Exner design stunning, its contemporary buying public didn't agree. Many automotive hacks wracked their brains trying to colorfully describe this car—The Car that Ate Tokyo—a riff on the Japanese horror flicks of the day, comes to mind, and they still do to this day in classic car magazines. The "pinched" grille and dramatic headlight placement seems to be the car's main issues, although the suddenly finless body was referred to as a "plucked chicken" by Exner himself. My main issues are with the details. There are fussy chrome doodads, fussy side sculpturing and an abundance of shiny chrome slathered in the front. Ironically, Lexus is just now introducing its new "spindle" grille across its entire lineup, and it's almost exactly the same shape as this '61 Plymouth. See the BTW sidebar at the end of this post. Let me describe how I "fixed" it to my own tastes.

T H E   C H O P — First I "radiused" the rear wheel wells. This means I opened up the fenders to reveal the entire wheel and tire. The original had a very low wheel opening which didn't really relate to the front wheel well and made the rear end look like it was dragging. I think this change did the most for "lightening" the look of the car. I resculpted the sides, continuing the front fender shoulder all the way to the back of the car instead of ending it at the front door. I also eliminated the ornate trim behind the front doors, and lowered the entire car about 3 inches so it sat closer to the ground hugging the tires more. At the front, I blackened-out the grille, which simplified the look of it, and made the dramatic "swoosh" around the protruding headlights work better. I added a satin chrome "header" above the now-black grille, with P-L-Y-M-O-U-T-H letterspaced across it. This serves to "rationalize" the grille shape, giving more prominence to the horizontal aspects of it, rather than the angularity of the opening. The front bumper was simplified too, deleting the rather baroque center section with its five raised ridges, and I raised it a few inches so it wasn't so close to the ground.

The original photo of the '61 Fury. Note the odd way the front fender shoulder sculpturing stops at the front door cutline, though the chrome trim continues. Also, just behind the front door is a set of chrome hash marks that seem really out of place, though they do serve as a start for a small sliver of white paint, matching the two-toned roof. The rear of the car seems to drag, a combination of the now-finless rear fenders and very low wheel well opening.


Exner has the last laugh after all, as Lexus introduces its brand new "Spindle" grille on its entire lineup. I call it an updated '61 Plymouth grille!

U P D A T E :  For some reason my chop wasn't enlarging from the thumbnail. Now it should be.