Studebaker Starliner - Kermit's other car.

Time's a little short today, so that's perfect for a nicely painted car ad that I can't really make fun of. The Studebaker Starliner was an attempt at an  "economy" car in an era when nobody asked for one. In 1952, cars were giant, bulbous piles of chrome boobs. It's strange that America was so repressed at the time, when the cars were so clearly an outlet for that squashed sexuality. You can try to hide it all you want, but it will always find a way out. In the fifties, Americans chose to express their sexual frustrations by making cars with styling details sometimes phallic, sometimes boobular, but always childish in their obsession. Compared to it's peers, the Starliner is downright modest.

So, yeah, Studebaker wanted this to be a lightweight compact. How'd they do? The Starliner weighed 3,220 pounds. By comparison, a 2010 Volkswagen Jetta weighs pretty much the same. The Studebaker probably had more room inside, too. Granted, all the things that make the Jetta ten times safer than the Starliner also make it heavier. Crumple zones mean the body has more metal origami in places you can't see from the outside. Airbags and antilock brakes and all the electronics that govern them all add weight. Ever see how much wire there is in a modern car? Wire is made of metal, and there's lots of it. The Starliner is bigger and more deadly in a crash than a modern car, but the weight's about the same.

This is basically true of all old cars. I was just all geared up to laugh at the Studebaker's bulk because of the way they brag about trimming out all the "burdensome excess bulk", "like a sleek, new-type jet plane." BAH hah hah hah hah! "New-type". Oh, The Fifties, don't ever change.


Post a Comment