The Meaning of Motoramic
Welcome to Motoramic, a little shelf of the Internet where we at Yahoo! Autos plan to wrench together stories about the automotive realm and what drives you. We know the world doesn't need just another auto blog. We have other plans.
The word "Motoramic" came from the ad wizards at Chevrolet in late 1954 as their one-word slogan for the 1955 models. Drafted from a clean sheet of paper, styled to evoke General Motors' time-traveling Motorama shows of the 1940s, the '55 Chevys offered Americans the firstmass-market idea of what a modern car could be. Up front was a V8, behind a grille inspired by Ferrari; at the end was Chevy's first hint ofa tail fin. In between lay a lighter, stronger body and a design from GM styling chief Harley Earl's team that swept off the last cobwebs of war and depression. It looked like hope, and became the iconic American car. There's a reason every diner still has a picture of a '55 Chevy.
Despite that, no one really knew what "Motoramic" meant, and Chevy dropped it in 1956. It was forgotten for decades outside of people who clip old magazine ads and paper their basement walls with gold bowties. When Yahoo Autos asked me to launch a new blog about cars and culture, I stumbled across the phrase. After much thought, now I know what it means.
It's cooler to hate cars than enjoy them. Young people, so we are told, do not want to drive or own a vehicle, preferring to live where there's public transit and bikes — not just in the United States, but worldwide. "To more and more young people today," says one summation, "such cultural icons of the post-war generations as fast cars and shiny fenders must increasingly appear as prehistoric yearnings."
For older folk sitting in traffic watching time pass faster than miles, one can't help but think those youngsters have a point. Witness the mini-spat last week when an Audi contractor tweeted a photo of himself driving in suburban Virginia with an iPad on his steering wheel, open to his email. Two bloggers jumped on him for promoting the scourge of distracted driving -- even though both had also tweeted photos taken from the driver's seat while stuck in traffic. Distractions can be a safety hazard, but drivers aren't guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier; they can't be expected to stay at attention through every second of growing gridlock.