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A Colorful and Rockin' "Cruisin' the '50s" Car Show Returns to Newburyport
WNBP's free summer event celebrates classic style and music in historic port
Local favorites "The Transistors"
"The vehicles represent the best of New England. We invite the finest American and European automobiles, motorcycles, rare and obscure cars from the 1940s through 1960s to ensure a truly memorable display," said Carl Strube, general manager and co-owner of WNBP. He added that The Institution for Savings Bank will celebrate "Color, Chrome & Fins" – those fabulous American cars of the late 1950s – in the bank's parking lot on State Street.
Wes Pettengill, curator of the event and host of WNBP Radio's "Calling All Cars" program, noted that although the rear tail fin started with the 1948 Cadillac, it was automobile designer Virgil Exner of Chrysler that launched the "forward look" in 1956, taking the soaring fins to all new heights. The Plymouth division claimed "suddenly, its 1960!" reflecting on its futuristic design.
In the same period of American pop culture, color was in! "Turquoise might be called 'frosted aquamarine' or 'crown sapphire' and shades of salmon became 'reef coral' or 'flamingo pink.' Even mundane silver earned the title of 'seacloud gray.' These flamboyant colors worked their way into the pallet of home interiors as well with kitchen and bath color combinations such as turquoise and pink or coral and charcoal," Pettengill explained.
Chrome-laden glitter adorned these high-finned colorful cars. Pettengill said that 1958 was perhaps the pinnacle of reflective brightwork with its brushed stainless, anodized aluminum and buffed stainless, all making these outlandishly plumed creations critically shunned by the period press. Motor Trend Magazine called the extreme tailfins of the era "of near ridiculous proportions."
"However, all the negativity vanished over time and we are left with precious few examples of these gloriously finned fantasies," said Pettengill. "This grouping represents a very short and important period in the styling evolution of the American automobile."
Other specialty vehicles under another theme of "Handsome Haulers" – pickup trucks from the 1930s through the 1960s – will be showcased on Patrick Tracy Square, located off Pleasant Street. Early pickups had very basic, heavy duty design because off-road farming was their primary focus. Options were slim, and the ride was meant to handle dirt roads.
According to Pettengill, in 1955, Chevrolet introduced the Cameo Carrier Fleetside Pickup, touted as being "at home in the town or country." Creature comforts were featured in the first Ranchero and El Camino trucks that were half car/half pickup, using the front end design of their respective auto lines.
"Today, we consider pickup trucks as high-end, loaded vehicles with all the power options and a ride to challenge luxury cars," he explained. "Look for a great variety of trucks at Cruisin' the '50s that span the decades to see how far they have come."
"This car show has become a banner summer event for residents and visitors alike," said Ann Ormond, President of the Greater Newburyport Chamber of Commerce. "There's something to delight all ages so families can come early to shop, dance and play, then stay for the night in our local accommodations."
For more information about Cruisin' the '50s, please visit http://www.wnbp.com and http://www.newburyportchamber.org.
Please note: Classic car participation is by invitation andpre-registration only. For participant information, contact car coordinator Wes Pettengill at 978-465-3140.
About Our Sponsors
About Port Broadcasting, LLC
WNBP AM 1450 and FM 106.1 has been serving the Greater Newburyport area since 1957. In March 2009, locally owned and operated Port Broadcasting, LLC, purchased the station from Westport Communications and implemented an Oldies '60s and '70s format with mission to serve the community and keep radio local. The station can be heard on AM, FM and streaming worldwide on the Internet at http://www.WNBP.com.
St. Jean's Credit Union is Massachusetts first credit union and has been proudly serving more than 14,000 members throughout the North Shore for more than 100 years. Located in Newburyport, Salem, Lynn, and Revere, St. Jean's is a full service financial institution with products and services to fit all of your financial needs, including auto loans, mortgages and home equity loans. To learn more about St. Jean's Credit Union, call 978-462-2771 or visit them online at http://www.stjeanscu.com.
The Greater Newburyport Chamber of Commerce & Industry is a leading advocate for sound, balanced economic development in the greater Newburyport region. As a vital organization that represents the diverse interests of more than 760 members from many different business sectors and locations, the Chamber speaks as a collective voice on issues that impact business, the economy, and the community as a whole. For more information, please visit http://www.newburyportchamber.org.