This special 1957 Jaguar: XK-SS Roadster preceded the D Series and was modified for the street from racing, Steve McQueen owned it at one time and called it “The Green Rat”.
I have a BF named Jeff who is a car buff and who has a birthday this fine month of August. So I took him to Portland Art Museum’s “The Allure of the Automobile” as a birthday present. I think he liked it. Actually, that is an understatement, he loved it. I don’t think I’ve seen so many smiles on his face in one afternoon before!
Just look at these cars! They are rare, beautiful and worth a lot! As Jeff pointed out, this was a once in a lifetime experience, to physically lay eyes on cars of this caliber. Many of these cars are one of a kind, prototypes or custom built either by the designer or for a super wealthy client. They are unlike anything ever usually seen.
This Porche 550 it is not only a protoype, it also raced not once, but three times in the PanAmericana which is a race special to Jeff’s heart. He has a whole book on this race which was very popular in the fifties when things like this could be done. (Racing across an entire country in every type of condition for thousands of miles, yes a crazy race.)
Here is a video of many of the cars we saw made by another museum so you can get an idea of what we oogled at.
Some of these auto’s came with incredible human interest stories, like the 1935 JN Duesenberg Roadster Carol Lombard purchased for her husband, Clark Gable, who refused to lay eyes on it again after her death. Or the 1954 Dodge FireArrow where a woman wearing high heels and a dress raced around a track going over 140 mph, or the protoype that the designer named after his wife, now that’s a sign of love! See here for some quick outlines about these cars.
This French designed and built car was nicknamed “the Teardrop” a 1939 Talbot-Lago: T-150-C-SS and while it survived the German Invasion in WWII the designer/owner did not. He was executed by the Nazi’s as a spy and member of the French Resistance.
Many of these cars noted were designed to resemble aircraft of the era, aviation being in its hey-day at the time and the thought was if a car looked swoopy like a plane it ought to be as fast as one too!
The 1937 Delage D8-120S is a prime example of modeling a car after an airplane.
If you live in Oregon and can make it to see this special exhibit before it goes away on Sept 11, than I urge you to see it, you won’t see anything like this again! If you hear about “The Allure of the Automobile” show anywhere in your area (its a traveling exhibit and some of the cars change) than GO SEE IT. Its worth every penny and its very fascinating!