1-1946 truck

When Glenn says “Oh, man!”,  he has spotted something wonderful.  In the case of this morning, it was a Chevy truck, 1946.  This truck was also made for part of 1947, and the following truck, his 1948 Thriftmaster was also made in 1947 as well.  The invisible year.

1-one glenn's truck

The two trucks are pretty different.  One cannot help but notice the absence of the wonderful grille from the 1946, missing on the 1948.  The ’46 also stands up straighter than the ’48.  This truck was a county work truck from the St. Louis area, and ordered from the factory as Highway Department yellow.  Then it was sold to St. Francis county, the color went to a red body with black roof and fenders.  Glenn restored it to a blue, white and burnt red orange.  The wooden stakes are higher on the bed of his truck than the one we saw  this morning.

1-front of truck

This 1948 has a “Wurlitzer grille”.  Its massive shiny size against the matte body of the truck is stunning. It looks like fabulous jewelry!  Having seen the relatively new idea in Glenn’s truck magazines, some are repairing the bodies of these trucks, but keeping a matte paint job, one that reflects the colors that the truck has been in the past. Then the truck is clear coated.  Love that idea.  The truck from the flea this morning however,  is spotted like a calico cat.  Don’t think this is the aesthetic the owner was going for.  The major color on this truck “Bordeaux Maroon”.

1-front left glenn's trucl

Windshield wipers are different.

1-side of truck

The decorative air vents on the side carry on the linear theme of the front grille.  The front headlights and parking lights are much cooler on the 1946.  Questioning Glenn about this, he said that this ’46 body reflected an older style, maybe from around 1940 or 41.  WW II intervened, and questions of style were laid aside, and work was done for government use.  After the war ended, the old manufacturing tooling was in place, and Chevrolet was anxious to get to selling trucks again.  They cranked out the old body style for a while in 1947 while designing the new.  When the new body style of Glenn’s truck was ready in 1947, all was switched:  an explanation for the fairly major design changes.  Many years had blown by since the 1941 design.  A lot of life had been lived, and art/design always reflects life.

1-second side of glenn's truck


A new evocative collection for Glenn and me, we bought our second “ghost” last weekend.  The vendor is a friend and wanted to simply give the thing to us, but that would have diminished its value.  We had to pay him something.

1-car body

We value what others do not.  Perfection?  No.  Complete, complex?  No.  Less is more.  Does it express a time period?  Has it been used, loved?  More a simple mass than anything else, this piece expresses the 1930s, with speed, and the art deco aesthetic very simply.

We have been talking for a year about this topic and how and why “the oval” was used in automobile and truck design in the thirties and the forties.  It makes one think of Eadweard Muybridge and time/motion photography.  And the Futurists in painting and sculpture.


Muybridge did his work first.  In the 1880s he photographed animals and humans in motion, and described movement that could not be isolated by the human eye.  He composed movement as a series of “parts” of a movement, something that could not have been understood without photography.  A whole new idea.  And when there is a new technology, artists want to use it or define it.  The Futurists wanted to capture this motion somehow and place it on a picture plane (which today to us seems odd).


Futurism emerged in Italy early in the twentieth century, although Malevich, above, was Russian.  It dealt with contemporary ideas of the future, and emphasized speed and motion with the new ideas of the automobile and the airplane.  In their images, one can see the influence of a movement in parts, or cells, kind of layered, one cell upon another.

This leads us into the discussion between Glenn and me.  Is an oval meant to be a moving circle?  The Art Deco Society of Palm Beach states that “technology allowed for construction to be built with rounded corners.  In the 30s and 40s, the design of trains, airplanes, ships and automobiles influenced architecture.  Rounded corners made buildings look sleek and fast”.  That was their goal, the new modern “fast”, made up by images of isolated movement.

1-orange truck

Look at this truck and the fenders housing the circle of the wheels.  Were these housings for the tires expanded into ovals, in other words, a repeated circle to express speed?  The fenders could certainly have been concentric circles over the wheels, and have been in other years of truck design.  Was the circle repeated in metal the way the Futurists would do, only not in separate cells, yielding the oval shape?

Autorennen im Grunewald, Berlin

Look at this old German photo found in Wikimedia!  I rest my case.

It seems like a no-brainer to me, but my research is not deep.  Harry?