The Swing Shift Shuffle is a radio program of swing, big band, jazz, boogie woogie and other popular music from the 1930's and 40's that airs every Wednesday from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. (US Central Time) on WEVL 89.9 FM in Memphis, Tennessee, with a live webcast at In addition to the radio show, this blog is dedicated to all aspects of the Swing Era, including art, automobiles, cartoons, comics, history, movies, music, news, science, technology, and anything else that happened during that time. It also includes announcements about events in the Memphis/Mid-South area related to the Swing Era, such as classic movies, concerts, dances, lectures, etc. If you see something that fits the description, send it to me at If you would like more information about the radio show, just go to the Radio Show FAQ page.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Plastic & Plywood Concept Cars From The 1940's

The American public's interest in fuel ecnomony waxes and wanes, but there are always some people for whom it is a significant concern, even when everyone else wants big cars with big engines.  Take Alfred Raymond Russell for instance.  A post on the Hemmings blog tells at least part of the interesting story behind this progressive, if unorthodox, automotive designer and his plywood and plastic bodied cars with hydraulic drive.
In 1942, while the rest of the automotive world geared up for the production of war machines, and while every other backyard tinkerer spent his time dreaming up novel ways of defeating the Axis, Ray Russell set out to radically alter the fundamental design and makeup of the automobile.

“The new car is not a hundred-mile-an-hour, chrome-plated, gadget covered hearse,” he said in December 1942. “It’s a safe, practical car to take us to work at 35 miles an hour, using only a gallon of gas every 40 miles.”

Of course, with a war on and with chrome-plated, gadget-covered hearse production suspended, nobody seemed to really care.
The public's lack of interest did not stop him from trying, and he developed a few interesting designs along the way.

1 comment:

groupenerji said...

plywood use is unlimited finally found use in cars as well.