From the 1920s to the 1940s, cars were designed to look artistic yet practical. They were often as flamboyant as the people who drove them and this golden age was called the Art Deco period. With the Second World War looming, people wanted to forget their troubles and look towards a brighter future. The Art Deco cars were a marriage of opulence and modernity. Designers were eager to leave their mark on the world, making each vehicle one of a kind. From the 1925 Rolls-Royce Phantom, to the 1938 Bugatti Atlantic, here are 5 awesome Art Deco cars.
1939 Lancia Astura IV Touring
The Astura was named after the river where the last battle between the Romans and Latins took place. Roman aristocracy settled in the area and the Astura became a symbol of luxury. From the moment it was created, the car was meant to have the best custom coachwork available, making it the most prestigious vehicle of the pre-war era. Design teams from Pininfarina, Castagna and Boneschi all worked on it.
The Astura featured a body-over-steel design, smooth-running V8 engine, hydraulic brakes and centralised lubrication system.
1925 Rolls-Royce Phantom
The 1925 Rolls-Royce Phantom was introduced as a replacement to the Silver Ghost. Originally built in the UK, Belgian coachbuilder Jonckheere reworked the body to include round doors, a larger engine and an improved braking system.
The exterior of the Phantom was as intimidating as it was beautiful. The large, sloping grill combined with an elegant windscreen made it look like a car that could appear in a gritty, noir film.
1938 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic
The Bugatti Atlantic is considered one of the most elusive cars in history. An automotive masterpiece, the car was designed by Jean Bugatti, the son of founder Ettore. It featured an aerodynamic body, with riveted fins, kidney-shaped doors and matching side windows.
The body was made out of Elecktron, an alloy of magnesium and aluminium. Although it was strong and light, the material was highly flammable, meaning each panel had to be riveted. To get around the issue of a traditional design, Jean Bugatti incorporated rivets into the wings of the car and made something truly spectacular.
Only three Atlantics were created, with the third being destroyed in a 1955 train collision. The most well known one is owned by fashion designer Ralph Lauren.
1938 Hispano-Suiza H6C Saoutchik Xenia Coupe
Spanish company Hispano-Suiza were known for creating aircraft engines for planes such as the Spad VIII. The first car they designed was the H6, which served as the blueprint for the H6C Xenia Coupe. Designer Andre Dubonnet combined his enclosed coil spring suspension with a H6C chassis to create a vehicle that was aerodynamically sound
1930 Mercedes-Benz SSK
Created by Ferdinand Porsche, the SSK featured a supercharged 7-litre straight-6 engine that made it an impressive racing car. It became the world’s fastest car, being able to reach a top speed of 120 mph. The SSK won various races, including the 1929 500 Miles of Argentina and 1930 Cordoba Grand Prix.