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Art Deco and British Car Design: The Airline Cars of the 1930s Hardcover – Illustrated, 3 Nov 2010


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Veloce Publishing Ltd (3 Nov. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845842529
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845842529
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 0.6 x 25.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 426,631 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Barrie Down has had a fascination with cars from as early as he can remember. The first cars he owned were of 1920s and '30s vintage, from which he gained a healthy respect for the design and quality of vintage and thoroughbred cars. After emigrating to Canada in 1964, he spent over 20 years in the industrial design field, concerned primarily with transportation design. Barrie learned to link design and social history, and discovered that the cars he loved were strongly influenced by Art Deco, and that British car design was unique in its expression of this genre. Many years of research led to a detailed understanding of the different makes and models, and retirement gave him the time to put all the accumulated knowledge and illustrations into book form.

Product Description

Review

"We think of the French as producing the most strikingly streamlined cars of the 1930s, in lyric teardrop bodies hammered out with doses of Italian style and German science. But this book reminds us that streamline design was the rage among car buffs everywhere in the '30s, even in upright, country-house, Evelyn Waugh Britain. Mr. Down reminds us that at the same time streamline cars were going on the market, ocean liners and trains were being streamlined, the better to compete with the nascent airline industry. His book also reminds us that the automobile industry of the time in Britain had yet to embrace mass production. Cars were sold to the few, and the sellers were coachbuilders as much as chassis or engine makers. To compete, each British car company had to offer a version of the season's fashionable cut, and so each one presented an airline or streamline body or two. The resulting cars are rare, with wonderful names like the Triumph Gloria Flow-Free and the Riley Kestrel. Many of these companies would not survive. But there are also glimpses of the future. We meet the young William Lyons, who impressed a man named William Walmsley. Together, their Swallow Sidecar company moved from teardrop add-ons for motorcycles to aero bodies for popular auto chassis. Swallow became Jaguar, of course, and two decades later produced more serious streamlining, driven by aerodynamics and racing." - New York Times "This vibrant work features a good mix of period and modern photos. Fans of streamlining will enjoy this fresh perspective on pre-war British car styling." - Classic & Sports Car "It's a fascinating read, which also feature photos of the cars that have survived to this day (many of which haven't been published until now)." - Classic Car Buyer "Here's a delightful book that could fill a gap both on your bookshelf. In the first part, author Barrie Down explains the Art Deco movement and how it combined with streamlining in the 1930s to produce some of the century's

About the Author

Barrie Down has had a fascination with cars from as early as he can remember, and his childhood drawings were almost exclusively cars, cars, and more cars. Those he owned as an impecunious bachelor were from the 1920s and '30s, from which he gained a healthy respect for the design and quality of vintage and thoroughbred cars. After emigrating to Canada in 1964, he spent over 20 years in the industrial design field, concerned primarily with transportation design. From his art historian wife, he learned to link design and social history, and discovered that the design of the cars he loved were strongly influenced by Art Deco.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Leon Mengden on 22 Mar. 2011
Format: Hardcover
This is such a thoroughly researched and well-written book it almost leaves one breathless that such a quality still exists. I can only wish for the publisher, Veloce, known for making motor books for the discerning reader, that the effort will pay out for them; while highest praise is due for the author, too, of course. For me it was the motoring book `read of the year' - maybe of many years to come. let's see what comes next to beat this!
Absolutely fantastic to behold and to read - extremely recommended; throws light on an aspect of British car design never covered before - and now in such depth. Certainly not only for car buffs but for anybody interested in 20th century design. If you feel only remotely attracted to this book, take the plunge and buy it - you won't be disappointed. But remember it is still a CAR BOOK.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Grm.P.Oldgitz on 24 Jun. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
At classic car shows and rallies I have often noticed odd examples of a particular class of car - British cars from the mid-1930s, based on quite humble models but with a certain stylistic panache based on aerodynamic lines and evocative names like Hillman Aero Minx, MG Airline Coupe, Flying Standard, etc. Never very common, and now extremely rare, this class of car has escaped almost unnoticed in motoring literature - until now.
Lavishly illustrated, this book gives a very comprehensive account of these cars, with plenty of background on the origins of "Airline" styling and numerous chapters each covering an individual make and its models. A real treat for classic-car buffs.
I only have one slight quibble - Mr Down does bang on a lot about Art Deco, which is stretching it a bit: the "streamlined modern" look to which these cars paid lip service was not strictly speaking Art Deco and he does seem to blur the boundaries a bit; not a problem for me, as quite a few interesting cars get a mention on the margins, but I do wonder what art enthusiasts who bought the book because it has "Art Deco" in the title will make of it.
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By ChrisVis on 5 Jun. 2011
Format: Hardcover
This work should awaken the interest in this lamentably overlooked chapter in motoring history. Hopefully it will contribute to saving the few remaing examples from "tourerisation". As an Alvis devotee I am disappointed in the poor coverage given to the marque both in the lack of good quality images of the range offered and some small textual inaccuracies.
However not wishing to be too selfish it is a very good and enjoyable book, with much new information to learn, and has probably answered the long asked question of the anticeedance of the unique 1939 Alvis Short chassis 4.3 Carlton carriage companies Triumph Dolomite lookalike!
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By T. Shaw on 28 Oct. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a must for pre war car enthusiasts. It concentrates on the streamlining period of car design and how this was influenced by the Art Deco period.The book highlights the work of a number of designers and compares their products. It also explains how the mass produced car manufacturers were able to introduce airline models in to their range without being too expensive. The second part of the book then explores in more detail the manufacturers who made a real effort with their designs.This is a gem for old car lovers.
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