From Sweeping Elegance to Bars of Soap, the Decline of Automobile Design
For the most part, elegance has been erased from modern life in the name of—what?—easygoing, laid back, take it as it comes and isn’t Steve Jobs the coolest guy you ever saw?
I’ve chosen automobile design as my benchmark, but I really think it began with the demise of the Borsalino hat
I know, I’m wandering a bit off subject, but stay with me. Borsalino was (and is) an Italian hatmaker, hand crafting the best of the best since 1857 and my father owned three of them. Dad was a refined guy of modest means but tastefully attired from the top down and the top wore a Borsalino, cocked a bit over one eye, Bing Crosby style. Not to put too sharp a point on it, but who can you say that about today?
The late 1930s were elegant times for beautiful cars, most everything French, some things Italian and the longings of a pre-war world. America had a hand in that game and I offer the 1939 Lincoln Continental cabriolet as evidence at the top of the page. I actually owned a 1948 model I bought for not m…