Black Chrysler

Black Chrysler
Olympus XA
Arista Premium 400

I’ve gotten so much good use from my Olympus XA since I bought it in 2012. It’s so small and easy to take along, and it has a great lens.

I used to wear cargo shorts to the Mecum auction every year because could stuff my pockets full of small cameras. My Kodak EasyShare Z730, my Canon PowerShot S80, and my Canon PowerShot S95 all came along every year. I had two battery packs each for the Z730 and the S80, and four for the S95. I routinely took more than a thousand digital photos at the auction, which drained every battery.

I used the digitals to make some pleasing shots, but also just to document the cars. When I shot film — and only one or two rolls, to manage costs — it was always about making pleasing shots. The Olympus XA treated this 1938 Chrysler Royal right.

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Film Photography, Old Cars

single frame: Black Chrysler

A 1938 Chrysler Royal.

1935 Chrysler Airflow f

Canon PowerShot S95

Chrysler’s 1934-37 Airflow may have been a masterpiece of streamlining, but it bombed in the marketplace. It simply looked too strange, and buyers stayed away. But removed from the context of its time, the Airflow is clearly a groundbreaking design.

Not that you can see much of it in this photo. I found this 1935 Airflow at the 2011 Mecum auction. I moved in close to photograph this detail.

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Old Cars

Single frame: Airflow

Headlight of a 1935 Chrysler Airflow.

Chrysler Airflow

Chrysler Airflow
Pentax ME, 50mm f/1.4 SMC Pentax-M
Kodak Tri-X

Old Cars, Photography
Black Chrysler

Black Chrysler
Olympus XA, Arista Premium 400

Film Photography, Old Cars
Old Cars

Why do so many modern sedans look alike?

A version of this post appeared at Curbside Classic a couple weeks ago. I contribute there from time to time. Its primary mission is to document the old cars still rolling on the road, but we consider all things automotive. Check it out here.

Are the world’s automakers all smoking from the same pipe?

Recently Chrysler unveiled its redesigned midsized sedan, the 200, which goes on sale in the fall as a 2015 model. It’s about time; the current 200 is frumpy and dumpy. The new 200 is a sleek, beautiful design.

2015 Chrysler 200

But wait… where have I seen that form before? Oh, yes, of course – on the midsized Ford Fusion, which went on sale in 2013.

2014 Ford Fusion

And on the new-for-2014 full-sized Chevrolet Impala.

2014 Chevrolet Impala

These cars have a lot of common design elements: high beltline, tall nose, aggressive grile, dramatic side creases, roof that flows smoothly into the trunk lid, and large, round wheel openings. But the signature design element they share is the rounded six-window greenhouse with a kick-up at the tail.

Did Chrysler steal this look from Ford and GM?

Or maybe they stole it from Toyota. Here’s the full-sized Toyota Avalon, which debuted in 2013.

2014 Toyota Avalon

Even small cars are wearing this basic design. Here’s the current Nissan Sentra, which was new in 2013.

2014 Nissan Sentra

The compact Dodge Dart, new in 2013, could be the Chrysler 200’s little brother. But given that they’re made by the same company, I’m sure that’s no coincidence.

2014 Dodge Dart

But it must be coincidence that Buick’s smallest car, the Verano, has worn the same basic look since 2012.

2013 Buick Verano

Ford’s small cars wear similar six-window greenhouses, although the rear-window kick-up is far less dramatic. Here’s the current Focus, which debuted in 2012.

2012 Ford Focus

And here’s Ford’s Fiesta, also new in 2012.

2014 Ford Fiesta

Finally, even Honda’s compact crossover, the CR-V, got into the act in 2012.

2014 Honda CR-V

I’m used to cars by the same maker wearing similar or even identical styling. GM was king of this for decades. They made one basic car, put different front and rear clips on for each of their brands, and sold them by the boatload. But I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many similarly-styled cars across so many different makers. I find this six-window styling to be plenty attractive – but I guarantee that ten or fifteen years from now when these are all cheap wheels on the used market, we’ll all look at them and say, “That styling is so mid-2010s!”

Wanna see some classic car style? Then click here and here and here.