Thursday, April 12, 2012

Blaine and the Mod Rod 442

I have coffee with my neighbor, retired GM designer Blaine Jenkins, a couple of times a week. Actually, neither of us drink coffee, but it takes too long to explain what a Diet Cherry 7-Up klatch is. So anyway, one of the things I like to do is find some obscure car that he created and quiz him about it.

So the other day I asked, "What was the Mod Rod?" His eyes lit up and he recalled- it was a 1968 442 convertible show car for Chicago. It was a light pearlescent yellow car with an matching interior, set off by this wild custom Pucci-esque fabric inserts of purple, silver, orange and yellow in the bucket seats and door panels. To set it off appropruately, the narrators wore outfits made of the same fabric with orange and purple skirts and orange go-go-boots. Red line tires and "Mod Rod" scripts completed the look.

The Mod Rod was displayed under an arch that proclaimed "Olds is Young." Obviously there was no production intent behind it, rather is was the stuffed shirts of General Motors were attempting to connect with the Flower Power generation. Alfred P. Sloan meets Peter Max. Mary Wells Lawrence would have been proud.

Incidentally, not only was there no production intent, the car was not driveable. The seats were wood mockups with no padding and further and lacked any mechanism for rear seat access, so the Mod Rod was merely a pretty face. Accented by an even prettier face in a matching dress.

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