This photo of a 1932 Buick hood ornament from a press kit issued by General Motors to celebrate a centennial of Buick sparked a bit of off center thinking. Please be patient while I explain and you will see why it is best spare time is kept to a minimum in my world.
When the car attached to this hood ornament was built, this nation was nearing rock bottom in one of the worst economic debacles in history. Still, for those fortunate enough to have a job and enough money to afford a new car the year 1932 was truly the best of times.
In my humble opinion there was not an American automobile manufactured that year that wasn’t a styling masterpiece. Even the lowly Chevrolet was fine art on wheels.
The flip side of the coin were those less fortunate, the folks immortalized in Grapes of Wrath, the book and movie. For these tragic figures this wasn’t the best of times by a long stretch.
As we careen towards the precipice that is the Great Depression II, I am wondering if there will be another 1932, a year of unprecedented styling that shines brightly in a very bleak era?
Part two of this train of thought is a bit darker and has to do with the unfortunates, those left scrambling to survive. For the Joads the vehicle of escape was a beat down Hudson, a vehicle they could and did repair along the roadside. What vehicle will come to symbolize the new “Oakies“?

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