By H. P. Oliver

For those who've avoided the dreaded social media addiction, "Swing Street" is my long-running Twitter series that looks at life during the swing era. To further clarify matters, my definition of the swing era is the period in history beginning early in the 1920s and extending on through World War II.

The swing era is fascinating because it was a period of great emphasis on class and style. This was especially true in the arts. In literature we have the likes of F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Steinbeck and William Faulkner. In visual arts there were Grant Wood, Maxfield Parrish and Pablo Picasso. Composing the music of the era we have George and Ira Gershwin, Cole Porter and Irving Berlin. There were similar greats in the areas of architecture (including Frank Lloyd Wright and Stiles Clements), science and, of course, automobile design.

In fact, nowhere are the class and style of the swing era more visible than in the automobiles of the period. From the Stutz Bearcat to the Duesenberg and beyond, cars of the 1920s and '30s were stylish masterpieces right down to the smallest details. And it is those small details that are the focus points of this article. We pointed our camera at the stylish grilles, streamline hood mascots, marque badges, spare tire carriers, and everywhere else where design details are found on the cars of the era.

The result is a collage of deco, moderne' and streamline details that epitomize the swank and class of swing era. I'll add that the images in this article were made at the Nethercutt Collection in Sylmar, California and at the California Automobile Museum in Sacramento, and then invite you to wander through our gallery of highway deco.

1933 Lincoln Limousine

1915 Dodge Brothers Touring Car
(Radiator Cap)

1938 Buick Special Sedan
(Trunk Badge & Handle)

1924 Delage DL
(Front End Treatment)

1936 Plymouth Business Coupe
(Sailing Ship Hood Mascot)

1936 Graham Supercharger
Trunk Sedan
(Hood Badging)

1937 Cadillac Series 60 Sedan
(Flying Lady Hood Mascot)

1937 Chrysler Imperial
Business Coupe

(Front End Treatment)

1938 Rolls-Royce 25/30
Sports Sedanca

(R/R Radiator Badging & Mascot)

1938 Buick Special Sedan
(Front End Treatment)

1940 Lincoln Town Car
(Front End Treatment)

1940 Hudson Deluxe Six
(Hood Badging)

1947 Lincoln Continental
(Headlight Detail)

1949 DeSoto
(Hood Mascot)

1950 Oldsmobile Station Wagon

1930 Rolls-Royce Phantom II
(Spare Tire Carrier)

1930 Cord Town Car
(Wire Wheel Hubcap)

1937 Cord 812
Convertible Phaeton

(Exhaust Tubing)

1910 Hudson 20
Touring Car

(Front End Treatment)

1937 Pierce-Arrow Model 1720

(Fender Spare Tire Carrier)

1948 Tucker Model 48 Sedan
(Center-mounted Headlight)

1952 Hudson Hornet
Twin-H Convertiblle

(Front Fender Badge)


Nethercutt Collection
15200 Bledsoe Street
Sylmar, CA 91342

California Automobile Museum
2200 Front Street
Sacramento, CA 95818