Headin’ Down the Highway

Posted inThe Daily Heller
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By: Steven Heller | January 7, 2010

Shellers steering wheel

Automobiles are among the most coveted industrial objects in the world. Cars ooze with sex-appeal and appetite-appeal. High performance, beautifully designed and elegantly appointed, who is not seduced by such a machine? Yet the full bore of car promotion today cannot compare with the force of yesteryear. If you did not live through it, you can get a taste from an exhibition, “Styled for the Road: The Art of Automobile Design, 1908-1948” at The Wolfsonian Musuem in Miami Beach (until March 14). Or if you cannot make the trip, the show’s catalog which includes the images above and below (steering wheels top and bottom are “Shellers”) is a reasonable substitute.

This splendid exhibition focuses on the automobile as integral to American culture. Exhibited are detailed illustrations of production cars, showrooms, filling stations, as well as advertisements and brochures that will make you drool (if you are the sort that salivates at gorgeous design).

(Images from the Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf collection, photographed by Mark Wallison. Wolfsonian collection, photographed by Silvia Ros.)

a picture of a cross section
steering wheel