|Fancy Lady: (c) Terri Lynn Coop 2012|
Chrome plating was patented in the US in 1926 and car makers caught the bug over the next ten years. By the 1950s it seemed like the Big 3 auto makers were in competition to see who could hang the most chrome on their new models. If GDP could be measured in tail fins, then the US led the world.
So, when I'm out and about, if a pretty lady catches my eye, I whip out my camera and snap her photo. This vintage Plymouth was basking in the sun outside my office building in Independence Kansas. Out comes my smart phone and she is part of my collection. Part restored, part vintage, she was a beauty. Not perfect, but stylish and classy. There were bigger cars in the parking lot and fancier ones, but she was the queen.
When I look at newer cars, I am always bewildered by the lack of style. Look that the burgundy car in the upper corner. Sleek, streamlined, utilitarian and . . . meh . . . Then I realized what the problem was. It has no chrome! The uni-body style with the bumper incorporated into the body is, frankly, boring.
Luckily, you don't have to have Jay Leno's garage to enjoy vintage chrome. Hood ornaments, grille badges, and side panel emblems are a great addition to any collection. With a little care, your house can shine like vintage Detroit on a sunny day.