In the America of the “Golden Years”, namely the ‘50s and ‘60s, everything was possible. American society underwent an enormous transition as the result of the strong economic growth, perceptible in the automotive production and the development and expansion of an impressive road network.
Life was increasingly concentrated on the road and car ownership. Drive-in restaurants and cinemas were the new trend.
All this is being brought to life at Autoworld with the impressive “American Dream Cars and Bikes – The Golden Years” exhibition.
Located on the museum’s mezzanine the exhibition’s scenography guides visitors towards the nocturnal atmosphere of an American “Drive-in Diner, the new trend in America during the ‘50s and ‘60s. Further on, some icons of the American automotive industry are parked in front of the giant screen of a “Drive-in Movie”, projecting fragments of fabled scenes from the numerous road-movie films. Who does not recall such films as Grease, American Graffiti, Bullitt, Gone in 60 seconds or Easy Rider. In each case films in which the car and ‘bike play the leading role. The décor would not be complete without a typical American gas station and garage, with in the background a legendary skyline.
Selecting some forty odd cars was not a simple task. Loads of chrome, impressive bodywork with rear fins and bright colours.
Obviously the “Big Three” share the major part of the car pool, but also makes as Packard, Studebaker, Hudson or Kaiser Frazer, that today have disappeared, duly deserve our attention.
Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and Pontiac defend the colours of General Motors. On the Ford Motor Company front the Thunderbird, Torino, Edsel and Mercury are an absolute must. On the other hand, Plymouth, Dodge and De Soto belong to the legend of the Chrysler group. Among the Pony Cars, such as the mythical Ford Mustang or its immediate competitors Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Charger, no way were these going to miss out on the rollcall. A Plymouth Superbird is undoubtedly the cherry on the cake.
Ford came, saw and conquered. Following a failed acquisition attempt, Henri Ford declared war on Enzo Ferrari. A clear-cut assignment for his staff, to beat Ferrari on its own ground at Le Mans. It worked brilliantly, seeing Ford won the French endurance race no less than four times in a row. In 1966, 1967, 1968 and 1969 with Belgian drivers Lucien Bianchi and Jacky Ickx in a leading role. In that light the Ford GT is given special attention with three generations, GT40 (1965/66), GT (2005) and GT (2016/17) lined up side by side.
Race cars have no place on Route 66 or at any kind of drive-in. Hence a separate podium located at the museum’s entrance with on display a Chevrolet Camaro Z28 TransAm 1968, a Ford Mustang Boss 302 TransAm 1970, a Ford Falcon Nascar, a dragster and several other great surprises.
Those who can’t or won’t wait for the Brussels Motor Show in January 2018, will enjoy the opportunity to discover and admire the new Ford Mustang MCA 2018 from close by at Autoworld. An avant-première for the Benelux!
For many to criss-cross the American continent with a Harley Davidson remains every boy’s dream. Several private collectors have brought together around 15 models to provide an interesting retrospective of these mythical American ‘bikes. “Easy Rider” at its best!
Roughly 200 scale models (1:43) recall the history of the “Golden Fifties and Sixties”, with unique examples of the travelling Motorama exhibition, Nascar, Indy, CanAm & TransAm racing cars.
Several small showcases point the way to the entirely renewed museum shop, not to be missed when leaving the exhibition. Fun gadgets thanks to our partners, a cool Autoworld sweater, a hardcover catalogue written by Bart Lenaerts, a poster, books and DVDs. There is also an abundant selection of scale models, with as an absolute “must have” the personalised 1:18 scale white Ford Mustang Coupé 1965 restricted to 360 pieces. In collaboration with our partner Harley Davidson Capital Brussels; a limited number of the exclusive ‘American Dream Cars & Bikes’ T-Shirt.
All those wishing to admire the exhibition from afar and grab a pause between all the glitter and chrome, should call in for a drink at the Drive-in.