Let’s say it’s because last night was the first night of Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, so I’m going to focus on some lights for this weeks’ Cold Starts, at least until I forget, which could be as soon as tomorrow. We’ll see! It’ll be exciting. Today, we’ll look at a really lovely 45-seat bus from 1949, the Berliet PCK7W. This big diesel bus with an engine in a doghouse between the front seats had some really lovely and perhaps unexpected Art Nouveau-inspired detailing.
Here, look at these headlight covers:
Wow, right? I mean, it’s surprising enough to see headlight grilles of any sort on a public bus, but this one, with its vaguely seashell-inspired motif, is especially wonderful. It’s very Art Deco/Art Nouveau and adds a lot of charm to this big whale’s face.
In fact, it kind of reminds me of another glorious Art Deco whale, the Stout Scarab:
Look at the headlight grilles on the Scarab, and the detailing on the rear, in the air intake vents. It’s a similar elegant motif, though the Scarab was a high-end, low-volume proto-minivan, while the Berliet there was, you know, a bus.
If these headlights were weapons in a galaxy a long time ago and very far away, I bet Alec Guinness would say something like this: