After World War II, the American public wanted new cars, not rehashed models from before production halted in 1942 for national emergency production. As a result, U.S. carmakers offered products in all price ranges.
Returning GIs started families, the suburbs grew at an unprecedented rate and peaked in the 1960s. Many growing families had moved away from the cities and needed economical ways to commute to their jobs in the cities.
Enter, the American-designed and British-built, Nash Metropolitan measured less than thirteen feet in length, and was often called America’s first sub-compact car. Production began in October 1953. Over the next eight years, over 95,000 Metropolitans were produced and sold by Nash/Hudson, then Rambler, and finally AMC.
They designed it as a second car in a two-car family, for Mom taking the kids to school or shopping, or for Dad to drive to the railroad station to ride to work. A commuter/shopping car with a resemblance to the big Nash, but the scale was tiny. The Metropolitan’s wheelbase was shorter than the Volkswagen Beetle.
The miniscule two-seater came as convertible or hardtop models. No extra-cost, standard features (optional on most cars of that time) included electric windshield wipers, cigarette lighter, interior map light, and a continental-type rear-mounted spare tire with cover. While an AM radio, heater, and whitewall tires were listed as optional extras, it appeared all Metros left the factory with these items. Trunk space was accessed by folding the seatback forward.
In December 1956, the Austin Motor Company of Britain acquired the rights to sell the Metropolitan to non-North American markets. Modifications allowed manufacture of both left and right-hand drive models.
Several more changes came in 1959, including a glove box door, seat adjusters, vent windows, opening trunk lid and tubeless tires. The last Metropolitans came with a British-made 55 hp Austin engine.
Production of the funny little car stopped in 1960, but ‘leftovers’ were sold for under $1700 for another two years.
In popular culture, “The Little Nash Rambler” song was released in 1958 and often thought to refer to this teeny car. It was actually based on the larger, four-seat, Nash Rambler.
With the 1960s, came the birth of “muscle cars”, cheap gasoline and the need for speed. National pastimes included drag racing, and a return to NASCAR racing.
While some manufacturers offered one or two “economy” models like the Chevrolet Corvair and Ford Falcon, the little Metropolitan had no future. It faded into memory and became a curiosity for collectors.
Hollywood did not forget. The little car can be seen in: Clueless (1995), The Wedding Singer (1998), Blue Hawaii (1961) and others. It made many TV appearances, including Starsky & Hutch, The Ghost Whisperer, Square Pegs, and even The Simpsons!
I’ve seen jokes and memes all over social media that describe how being self-isolated or “quarantined” during this COVID-19 pandemic has had one of two effects.
The first has been an overwhelming feeling of being trapped or imprisoned, with no opportunity for social interaction. If you have kids, and they are home, they have to be fed and watered, educated, entertained, and of course, experience some quality time with you. Even if you don’t have kids or parents in your home, there’s always laundry and dishes, all those things on your to-do list you’ve been putting off until you had “time.” Things like home repairs, organizing, binge watching all those programs and movies, you’ve recorded, and naps . . . yes, naps. The thing is, you aren’t trapped.
The second feeling has been one of great relief, as being shut up in one’s domicile provides the writer with the opportunity to get that story or book onto paper (or at least into the computer’s memory.) This second opportunity can also be seen as the chance to see ourselves in the mirror of truth.
Let me put it this way: Let’s assume you are a serious writer, whether it be a journalist, essayist, short-story author, non-fiction, or fiction novelist. What exactly has been keeping you from writing that thing you write? Is it your job? There’s that daily commute that can eat up a couple to several hours each day. Does the boss hover over your shoulder so you have no chance to put down a few paragraphs each day? Is it your chores, like taking the kids to school or daycare, picking them up, and taking them to their extra-curricular activities (soccer, dance, scouts, etc.?) Do you have a second job?
During the time we are all confined (at least, we should be) have we learned anything about ourselves and our writing process?
In that vein, there is another advantage to this situation—that is being able to read your WIP out loud to yourself or to those at home with you. Reading your work aloud helps you catch the rhythm of your writing, especially in early drafts. Though you may not be commuting, those hours can be spent refining dialog, grammar and even some holes in story or essay.
If you happen to live alone, you may have access to a recorder or use your computer to record and playback what you’ve read aloud. Even if you aren’t ready to read it to the world, your family and yourself are all great critique partners.
Go ahead and read—aloud. You’ll never go back to just reading over the page.
We are starting a new series of murder mysteries taking place in the1960s. To make the story real we must research what life was like in that decade. After all we do have to dress our characters!
The 1960s fashions for women showed a major change from the 1950s strait-laced, conservative styles to the relaxed, youthful, even unisex styles of the 1960s. In other words, wardrobes had a major overhaul in just one decade.
Skirts changed from the swing skirt in the early 60s to straight (pencil) to A line shape by the end of the decade. And the hemlines were raised drastically as the decade continued.
Casual dress became more and more popular. Women were more comfortable wearing Capri’s, bell bottoms and shorts even at social events.
Couples wore matching clothes or unisex clothes which sprang up in the mid to late 60s. Teenagers to young adults jumped on the unisex look.
The little black dress came into fashion for cocktail parties while the evening/ball gowns started with a layer of lace ending the decade with classy one-layer dresses with stylish decoration.
Bell-bottoms became fashionable for both men and women in Europe and North America. They flared out from the bottom of the calf and had slightly curved hems and a circumference of 18 inches (46 cm) at the bottom of each leg opening. They were usually worn with Cuban-heeled shoes, clogs, or Chelsea boots.
The Empire waist style dress became very popular, reflecting the less strict social mores of dress from the 1950s (cinched waist). The 1960s women’s fashions considered women’s comfort and individual style as opposed to the earlier decades.
An interesting note: Capris’ acceptance in the United States was influenced by the 1960s television series The Dick Van Dyke Show. The character Laura Petrie, the young housewife played by Mary Tyler Moore, caused a fashion sensation by wearing snug-fitting capri pants.
However, things get in the way, i.e. work. We all dream of the day when we can make enough money to survive by writing. Until that day comes (if it ever does), we need to keep our full-time jobs. We wrote and published our first five books working full time.
This year we’d like to share a few jewels that worked for us during those hectic days of working and writing.
To get started with a new story, we used a log line formula that worked well. Even before you outline your story, write your log lines and make it specific. The formula is Setting, Protagonist, Antagonist, Conflict, Motivation and Goal. Once you are satisfied with the Log Lines keep them in front of you the whole time you’re coming up with your outline. It will keep you focused on the story.
In 1955, The hunt for a missing Marine and stolen diamonds (Goal) lead Private Eye Skylar Drake (Protagonist) to Las Vegas (Setting) where a crime boss (Antagonist) forces him choose between the right and wrong (conflict) side of the law before it’s too late.
Private Detective, Skylar Drake (Protagonist) stumbles onto the murder of the mother of a famous Hollywood family (Setting) where he meets the perfect woman but suspects she could be involved (Conflict). He must solve the murder (Motivation) and keep the high-profile family from becoming front page news (Goal) in a city where the forbidden is accepted and games played are for keeps.
Now this does not mean you can’t add to or subtract from your log lines as you write. It simply means the log lines help keep you focused on the main idea for the plot and/or characters. We also made an in-depth character study of the main and secondary characters for reference when writing dialogue.
Keep up the good writing.
Initially, the innovative Corvair was manufactured and marketed as a 4-door sedan.
The compact Chevrolet Corvair was designed to compete with Volkswagens in the US market.
The 1960 Corvair went on sale on October 2, 1959, and was the first American compact sedan with a rear-mounted, air-cooled engine, unit-body construction, three-across seating, and the availability of an automatic transmission. Only four-door sedans were available at first, then came the 2-door coupe, convertible, 4-door station wagon, passenger van, commercial van, and pickup truck body styles.
Though inspired by Volkswagen’s four-cylinder engine, Chevrolet engineers used Porsche engines as a guide.
To stay competitive with the VW Beetle, the new Ford Falcon, and Plymouth Valiant, Chevrolet chose to cut corners right where it showed: on the interior. The basemodel 500 was particularly drab. Everything inside was gray, both the fabric and vinyl upholstery and black rubber floor mats. The 700 models came with three interior colors from which to choose. Extra-cost options on both the 700 and 500 models includedthings we take for granted today, like sun visors for both driver and passenger, armrests, or a cigarette lighter.
The Corvair sales took a significant upturn when the Monza coupe debuted at the 1960 Chicago Auto Show.
Though the Monza would rewrite what everyone’s idea of a Corvair was an alternative to the typical front-engined American family cars of the period.
The death knell for the Corvair came when Ralph Nader’s 1965 book “Unsafe at Any Speed” claimed that the car’s design that incorporated swing-axle suspension created a far greater risk of the vehicle rolling, which he described as “the one-car accident.”
Even though the suspension had been redesigned for much better handling and safety, the damage was done. Nader’s book became a best-seller, but in the consumer’s mind, the reputation of the Corvair was tarnished forever. Chevrolet ceased production of the Corvair with the 1969 model.
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