Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.
The car and the photo that started it all: my life-long vicarious love affair with gigantic cars with huge fins. By age 9 I was already a car nut; I cut out pictures from magazine ads and pasted them in a spiral notebook; I amazed family and friends by my ability to identify every car make. Then one day in November 1955 I saw it: this bronze chariot of the gods, a 1955 Cadillac Eldorado convertible, parked in, of all places, a mud lot near Boardwalk #3 in Larkspur, Calif. I made my brother take this Kodachrome, then later came back and photographed it myself in black and white - just the rear end. Immediately I stopped drawing Flash Gordon rocket ships and began designing my own cars - the Pac-Ply and the Zorch. I began pestering my father to take me to GM Motorama when it arrived to San Francisco. Strangely, when it came time to trade in the '48 Hudson in 1956, the car I pestered him to buy was a Rambler station wagon. I guess I realized these cars were not for mere mortals. View full size.