a traveling artist's life.

my dad had that car

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cars driven by design.

We own them, modern cars. They are faster, better handling, more reliable, more comfortable, cleaner, safer, more economical. Basically, they’re better in just about every way then those older cars we drove. Still there is just a certain je ne sais quoi about a classic car.

Looking back it was my father in-law's family that turned me onto the classic car experience; it's style, exclusivity and craftsmanship, all of which are universal and timeless. Classic cars not only appeal to car lovers, but also to lovers of engineering, design, art and history.

Back in the day cars were created very much in an analogue world where designers used pencil and paper to create elegant shapes and flowing lines. It is these totally cool retro shapes that inspired me to create this series about the tail lights amazing design, their sense of style and individual flair.

1951 Oldsmobile Rocket 88

It's hard to imagine it when you see it at the local car show but the Olds 88 was also one of the fastest automobiles in America at the dawn of the 1950s, and it was the car to beat in NASCAR racing. The same year, an Olds 88 won the grueling 2000 - mile - plus Carrera Panamericana road race in Mexico. The “Rocket 88” is one of the very earliest rock and roll songs.

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1958 Buick Century

The 1958 Buicks hit showrooms across the country in October of 1957 with more “dazzling” chrome then any car before it, which many drivers admired and enjoyed. The 1958 Buick Century Tail Light reminds me of something I might have seen on the British1962 TV show I watch as a Canadian kid, Fireball XL5.

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1955 Ford Thunderbird

The1955 Thunderbird aka Early Bird, Little Bird, Baby Bird. When the ford Thunderbird was introduced it became the choice of Frank Sinatra, Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe. Initially, just three colors were offered on the 1955 Thunderbird: Raven Black, Torch Red, and Thunderbird Blue. My favorite is Thunderbird so pretty it had to be "the colour" in this painting.

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1959 Cadillac Eldorado

No single automotive design better characterizes the late Fifty's flamboyance than the 1959 Cadillac Eldorado with it's "Rocket Age" design trends. When we think of a classic Cadillac we often imagine it in pink. But, the fact of the matter is Cadillac never made a pink 1959 Cadillac. The pink Cadillac myth might have stemmed from Elvis Presley, who owned such a car. But, Elvis’ car is actually a 1955 model that was repainted from blue to pink.

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1959 Pontiac Bonneville

One cool cat. The '59 Bonneville some say is the prettiest car Pontiac ever made, even if it took a whole day to wash it!  The Bonneville (known as the Parisienne in Canada until 1981) was one of the largest Pontiacs ever built and at 5,000 pounds (2,300 kg) were also some of the heaviest cars produced at the time. I just could not resist that 'star' tail light, I had to include this car in the tail light series for sure! 

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1960 Chevy Impala

The first time I saw this car I thought of Batman, making it one of those cool old cars with plenty of curb-side appeal. Despite the controversial shape, Chevy’s 1960 rear end gull-wing, or bat-wing look, as it was then called, carried the day, and sales immediately shot up. From Dream Machine to Street Machine the '60 Chevy Impala is a favourite of car junkies whether it's a restored original, restomod, or an off-the -chart custom.

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1965 - 66 Shelby GT350

American blues singer Sir Mac Rice wrote a song in 1965 called Mustang Sally, about a guy who buys his girl a '65 Mustang only to lose her to the car. I totally understand why Sally loved the car. The original '65 Ford Shelby Mustang GT-350 was probably as close to a street-legal racing car as was ever offered by an American company. You could get the GT350 in any color you wanted as long as it was Wimbledon White with it's signature blue striping. It is is easily one of the most iconic Mustangs of all time.

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Vintage cars have some of the coolest dashboards to ever have graced a car ...
 

1951 Hudson Hornet

The 1951 Hudson Hornet had the seemingly strange choice of a "western cartoon" font for the numbering in the instrument panel. It has a very playful feel. Perhaps this is why Disney used the car as Dr. Hudson Hornet, MD in the movie Cars. Voiced by Paul Newman no less. Steve McQueen owned one perhaps because it was one of the cars that made NASCAR racing popular.

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Still lovin cars that strived to be more than the sum of their parts - I remain not only in love with the lines of these cars but also learning about their shinny chrome history and the story they tell. Orginal paintings are avalable in My Gallery. Fine art prints from this series are available in my Etsy shop. I print them out on demand to ensure each prints Gilcee quality, I have hand signed each print on the bottom of the white border. 

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