I have been fascinated with automotive streamlining for decades now, because automotive lines that split through the wind are usually beautiful lines. And certainly, a focus on smooth, wind pleasing curves has always been part of the Corvette mystique!
An impressive exhibit on automotive streamlining is currently available at the Phoenix Art Museum, though only through June 3. Enthusiasts can only hope that such an exhibit will travel to other parts of the world.
"Curves of Steel, organized by Phoenix Art Museum, is the first exhibition in an art museum to explore the impact and influence of streamlining on American and European automobile design in the 20th century. It features 22 of some of the rarest and most stunning cars ever to be presented in one show – many are the only existing examples of their kind. They demonstrate the influence of aerodynamic testing and how it changed the look of the automobile from a rectangular ‘horse-less’ carriage into the sleek, modern automobile that embodies speed and efficiency. They exemplify the beautiful, sweeping lines, elegant details, and perfect proportions where science and style intersect."
But, sadly, Corvette is omitted. Some of the Corvette prototypes would certainly be appropriate for inclusion. Surely the 1963 split window coupe belongs there! Then, it occurred to me that the museum excluded our icon by focusing on curves of "steel". Apparently there was no thought given to curves of rolled composite!
Cars in the exhibition:
1934 Chrysler Imperial Airflow
1935 Auburn 851 Speedster
1936 Stout Scarab
1936 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic Coupe
1936 Peugeot 402 Darl’mat Coupe
1937 Cord 812 Sportsman
1937 Delahaye 145 “Million Franc Prize” car
1937 Dubonnet Hispano-Suiza H-6c Xenia by Saoutchik
1938 Embiricos Bentley
1938 Talbot-Lago T150C “Teardrop” Figoni et Falaschi coupe
1938 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900
1938 Darracq-Talbot Lago T-150 c by Figoni et Falaschi
1938 Delage D8-120 S Pourtout Aréo Coupé
1939 Delahaye 165 Cabriolet by Figoni et Falaschi
1939 Lincoln Zephyr
1941 Chrysler Thunderbolt
1948 Tatra T87
1952 SoCal Belly Tank
1957 Ferrari 625/250 Testa Rossa TRC
1986 Oldsmobile Aerotech
1994 McLaren F1