Old Cars

Auto typography

Every May I go to the giant Mecum Spring Classic muscle car auction held at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. It is one of the top-five most favorite things I do for myself every year. I spend many happy hours there wandering around the old cars, and I take hundreds of photographs. I especially love to move in close and photograph each car’s little details.

I recently wrote a post for Curbside Classic about the excellent typographical design behind some of the badges on classic automobiles. While I was sorting through photos I took at the Mecum that illustrated my point, I found several other photos I wanted to share with you here just because they’re pleasing photos, at least to me.

I love the way the light falls across the hood and grille of this 1939 Ford.

1939 Ford Deluxe c

When I shoot my Canon S95 at its widest setting (28 mm), it can create a slight twisting effect in the image’s corners. I put it to good use in this photo of a 1969 Chevrolet Chevelle SS.

1969 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 396 b

This is among my favorite photos ever, of a hood scoop from a 1970 Dodge Super Bee. I love how the light falls on the matte scoop and the shadow the scoop casts, set off by the shiny yellow paint.

70 Dodge Super Bee

This is another of my all-time favorite photos, of the domed hood on a 1951 Chevrolet Deluxe. I so enjoy how the clouds reflect in the paint. I like this photo so much I had notecards made of it!

1951 Chevrolet Deluxe c

This 1959 Plymouth Sport Fury is every bit as long as this photo makes it look.

1959 Plymouth Sport Fury

The main hall at the auction always has several late-60s Dodge Chargers (like this one from 1969). I always move in close to the badge to capture how the light from the skylight bends across the car’s sail panel.

1969 Dodge Daytona

I like how this 1967 Oldsmobile Delmont 88 reflects me! This car is black, but up close it took on a mirror finish.

67 Olds Delmont 88

The next Mecum Spring Classic is May 14-19. You’d better believe I’ll be there.


12 thoughts on “Auto typography

  1. Maybe I sound like an old fogey, however I can’t help thinking when I see these images that we seem to have lost the sense of style that we once had.

  2. Michael says:

    I’ve liked most of your car shots over the years. When doing engine compartments outside (or any darker subject with bright background), you might try using some fill flash to get more detail from the dark compartment though it may be a challenge to limit reflections since they use so much chrome and still get the angle you desire. Perhaps a better option is to use a tripod and exposure bracket so you can merge the shots later. The S100 allows HDR within the camera, but I don’t think the S95 had that.

    • I can experiment with fill flash at this year’s Mecum, but I don’t see any way I would want to carry a tripod around. Mine’s pretty light but it would slow me way down each time I wanted to use it, and would certainly get in the way of the hundreds of other people milling about.

      • Michael says:

        If you’re steady, you may get by without one (or use it as a monopod instead). Some image editing software that does HDR can merge pics that are shifted slightly.

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