Route 51

I can’t hide it anymore: I love older cars. I love the defining ‘clunk’ of a heavy steel door as it closes firmly. I love the feeling of driving a comfortable living room down the road, smooth sailing and soft steering. Waiting for the bulbs in the radio to warm up, priming the carburetor, sometimes manually working the windshield wipers if the pneumatics failed; these things weren’t in the ‘love’ category, but were part of the package, so they were A-OK in my book. The inevitable puddles of oil underneath the car, the overheating radiators, and the high cost of inevitable maintenance on an aging 1949 Oldsmobile Futuramic made me eventually sell my living room of a car. I’m sure it went to another enthusiast with a fatter wallet than I.

Now I wonder what will happen to these old lovelies, these Grande Dams of the road, or indeed, what will happen to the road? We are supposed to be moving away from petroleum, and these babies will become dinosaurs, mostly hidden away in museums, which is good in a way. We can still see them, but part of me will always miss the brash styles of the 1930’s-1950’s cars, the fun styling, the place they had in the development of post-War American culture. I want to see more fun designs again, and I am not alone.

Meet Ernie Adams, in Maricopa, Arizona. His little handmade treasures can go 100 mph? I can’t quite wrap my head around that, but as long as he doesn’t wrap his cars around anything, it’s all good. The thing I want to see are the designs being preserved, whether they are large or small. Ok, the dwarf models are just so stinkin’ cute I can’t stand it, but I am not size-ist. I want to see style, and Ernie delivers! Don’t take my word for it, check it out yourself:

Going on a Road Trip with one of these little cuties would be fun (pack light), as we sing loudly and way off-key to classics like ‘route 66’ by anyone, it’s just a great song. Or how about if the road sang back? This is a Thing, and I want to see and hear more of these. My friend Leee told me about this a year or three ago, and I am so glad he did. While these aren’t very elaborate or long, they are fun and wildly popular. Let’s have some more!

Another one in Japan, near Mt Fuji:

A happy little tune in Hungary as well:

This last one, after I’ve gotten carried away, is from South Korea, playing an interesting version of ‘Mary had a Little Lamb’:

I know that was a lot of Urls, but this is about nostalgia, fun and future today, so let the good times roll! And speaking of rolling, how are we going to manage this if we have no petroleum with which to feed our dinosaurs, which is a form of cannibalism that makes me uncomfortable. There are a few great ideas out there, but they are co-dependent upon the changing of not only the weight and drives of the vehicles upon them, but also the changing climate. It’s sort of a package design-deal.

In the spirit of the American Road Trip, where the journey (usually a long one) was as important as the destination, I wondered how to go road tripping with little or no petroleum? Solutions are pending, but they seem more entertaining than practical. I give you the Vehicles of the Future! I can’t even write that with a straight face, thinking back on all the Futuristic designs I’ve seen in the last never-you-mind-how-many years. We were supposed to have all our problems sorted out, and be driving gull-wing all-terrain Jaguars by now, right? These new conceptual things are beautiful, and some might even have a pulse. See what you think, and there are only 15 here:

Personally, I don’t see why we can’t have fun, funky style vehicles alongside the sleek AI life-management monkey-carriers. What I want in a vehicle is to get there safely, and to be able to stop when I do. What I need is something that is solar/air powered, flying or rolling, big enough for a family with a dog, rechargeable as it’s driving, easy to maintain and cheap to build, little to no petroleum unless it’s recycled stuff, with manual windows that I roll down all by myself. Wouldn’t it be nice to never actually have to fill ‘er up?

Wouldn’t it be nicer still if it looked like this?

Published by kjensenstudio

I'm a lifelong artist living and creating in Eugene, Oregon right now, originally from California, and have lived all up and down the West Coast. Eugene is...interesting.

One thought on “Route 51

  1. Good post.

    I’m curious about Alan’s reaction to it – since he frequently sings from the same hymnal. Come to think of it, Rosine opens that songbook, too, from time to time. If she still has the piece she published (in the LA Times, or the SF Chron – I can’t remember which) about the then new VW bug vs. the REAL one, I’ll prevail on her to send you a copy.



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