Monday, June 11, 2012

In the 50s the future looked like this

Back in the 1950s, the world was a strange blend of dire pessimisim and sunny optimism. One lot of people were so positive about the future (they were the 'space race' crowd) while on the other hand many others were despairing that anyone – anything – could survive the nuclear arms race that was then threatening to blow the whole place up in some mad piece of brinksmanship perpetrated by one paranoid world power.

The makers of this Borgward Traumwagen II (it translates into 'Dream Car')
were with the space jockeys, the Sputnik crowd, and so for this little diorama
I have attempted to create the kind of home life into which this Dream Car
would have comfortably blended in. He (Jude) is admiring his new car, while
his wife (let's call her Charlize) comes down to check it out. Up on the
balcony their daughter (Trekky) watches on, while overhead another
futuristic marvel, the Concorde, flies past. If you click on the photo above
it should pop up into a bigger frame so you can see it better.

As soon as I saw this 'Traumwagen' model I had to have it. It's made by the
German firm, Premium Classixxs, in 1:43 scale, from resin.
From every angle it's beautifully detailed, as you would expect with a
modern resin model. The real-world Traumwagen itself wasn't just a pretty
shape. Designed by ex-Tatra designer, Erich Ubelacker, it featured advanced
(for its day) features such as disc brakes, fuel injection and an eight-speed
pre-selector gearbox (an early example of a fancy, advanced automatic).

As a kid I was into Flash Gordon and, to a lesser extent, the Tunderbirds,
and this was their set of wheels, baby. Love those fins!

This is the Traumwagen II, and Premium Classixxs also makes a version of the Traumwagen I, which unfortunately crashed during testing (one rumour is that the experimental disc brakes experienced a glitch and the car itself ended up wrapped around a tree). That Traumwagen I had even larger fins plus an anodised aluminium body and is, to my taste, an ugly looking thing. The Traumwagen II is a far better looking rethinking of the idea. If you're interested in the Version I car, it can be seen at the Premium Classixxs website. I'm not going to show it here, as I want my Traumwagen II to hog what little limelight this quiet little collector's blog has to offer.