Spooky Sells: Cold Start

Cs Spookydart

We’re well into October, the only month where we decide that it’ll be fun to take inspiration from a normally negative-associated emotion, fear, and have a goofy good time with it. It’d be like if, say, May was a month where all sorts of sad-inspired decorations went up for Melancholoween, as we put up little decorations of dark rainclouds and carved cantaloupes into sad crying faces and gave people funny cards that said “Everyone you know dies!” or something. But, we don’t, and it’s only fear that gets a funtime makeover for Halloween. Which happens to be exactly what this incredible illustration from a 1961 Dodge Dart brochure feels like.

That painting is really remarkable, with its extremely naturalistic car and people in the foreground, and a background that almost feels like analytical cubism, but you know, creepy. Those trees, the rocks, the leaden sky, that moon – it feels cold and damp and there’s very strong suggestion that there are warewolves about, lurking hungrily, waiting for some delicious snacks to be delivered in a Dart Phoenix, the highest-spec Dart, complete with those bifocal-like reverse lamps flanking the license plate and all the chrome bits Chrysler could stick to sheet metal.

I hope those people drive out of there quick. I have a bad feeling about that place.

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19 Responses

  1. Not sure the best place to comment this, but I’m gonna shoot my shot here. I might have a topic for a future post, and this site seems like just the place for it:

    My 2011 Outback has this little blue light up on the ceiling among the map lights and sunroof controls. This tiny light softly illuminates the gear selector and control stack when the headlights are on. It’s a nice, non-intrusive way to make radio and HVAC controls visible at night. I haven’t been in enough cars to know how widespread use of a light like this is, but my dad had a Honda of a similar vintage and I believe it also had one. I’d be curious to know when manufacturers started using these lights, who was the first, how widespread they are, and if they’re still used with the introduction of infotainment screens?

    Seems like a topic Autopian writers would love digging into and readers would love learning about.

    1. Memories! My 1973 VW 1303S beetle, a US model that never got there, had a miniscule, aimable light set in the dashboard, dimly illuminating the «heater» controls that lived quite far away on the floor by the handbrake. To think I had forgotten about it until now, it’s only been 37 years..

    2. I know that era of Nissan Rogue has that too, but in yellow. I remember sitting in my brothers’ going “oh what a neat feature.”

      That era of Nissan Rogue also had a blower motor that mice absolutely go bananas for. I don’t know what was in the design that did that, but mice were taking out one a month while they owned it.

  2. I drove a ’61 Dart as a daily driver for almost 10 years. In that time the steering failed because a single nut fell off (easy fix) the brakes failed because it was a single master cylinder (I replaced it with a dual). The engine (318) and pushbutton tranny were bulletproof. It read 80K on the ODO when I bought it but the ODO was broke. After 10 years the ODO still read 80K but I probably put over 60K miles on it. Great car but it was a beast/deathtrap. It had a cool see through Speedometer (which didn’t work). I put seatbelts in the car since it had none. If you got into an accident with this thing god help the other guy. I bought it because it was the ugliest car I had ever seen.

    I miss that car.

    I don’t miss working on that car.

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