WASHINGTON - Postage stamps featuring
images of five classic cars from the 1950s were unveiled today by the
U.S. Postal Service at the world's premier event for classic car
enthusiasts in Pebble Beach, CA. The Sporty Cars of the 50s
commemorative postage stamps will be issued in 2005.
"We understand the power our
stamps have in helping to celebrate our American history and
culture - in this case, the innovative brilliance of our automotive
technology and design," said Anita Bizzotto, Chief Marketing Officer,
U.S. Postal Service. "They will be a reminder of the unique style and
culture of the 1950s."
Featured on the stamps are a 1952
Nash Healey, a 1953 Chevrolet Corvette, a 1953 Studebaker Starliner, a
1954 Kaiser Darrin, and a 1955 Ford Thunderbird. The new stamps
highlight the sporty look of American cars designed in the 1950s with
sleek, aerodynamic lines and the innovative looks of the types of
European sports cars American GIs favored upon their return from World
"America's love affair with
the automobile stems, in a large part, from its use as a form of
personal expression," said Sandra Kasky, co-chairman of the 54th
Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. "We are what we drive. These stamps
represent our love of style and performance, the same attributes we
celebrate every year at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance."
The Pebble Beach Concours
d'Elegance is an international gathering of automotive enthusiasts
for "a celebration of the automobile" at The Lodge at Pebble Beach™ on
the Monterey Peninsula. The Concours combines a scenic location - the
famed 18th hole at Pebble Beach Golf Links® along the Pacific Ocean -
with the opportunity to view rarely seen examples of automotive style,
performance and history.
In 1952, Nash Healey was an
elegant little sports car and the product of the creative genius of
three countries in its development: The Nash 6-cylinder engine created
in the United States; the Donald Healey-engineered chassis developed
in England; and Pinin Farina's sports-car-body design from Italy. Only
150 Nash Healeys were made in 1952, and it came in first in its class
and third overall in the 1952 LeMans sports car race in France.
Widely considered "the first
American sports car," the 1953 Studebaker Starliner was developed
to appeal to younger drivers. It was low-slung, long and wide, and
light on the chrome, with such a sophisticated look that the Museum of
Modern Art in New York proclaimed it "a work of art," and featured it
as the lone American representative in an auto exhibition that year.
At the GM Motorama in New York
City in January 1953, the new fiberglass-bodied, two-seater
Chevrolet Corvette was unveiled to the public, and quickly captured
its imagination while setting the bar for competition. Only 300 models
were produced that year, all hand-built and white, with a red interior
and black convertible top, a marked departure from other GM designs.
Its sporty appearance promised speed and high performance for its
Sand and gravel entrepreneur Henry
J. Kaiser teamed up with master designer Howard "Dutch" Darrin
(formerly of Packard fame) in 1954 to develop the fiberglass beauty
the Kaiser Darrin. A two-seater featuring retractable doors that slid
forward into the front fenders; a unique pointed, compact grille; long
sloping lines; and a three-position Landau top, a total of 435 were
made that year before poor sales led Kaiser to return to the sand and
The 1955 Ford Thunderbird, "a
sports car with luxury," was designed to compete with the Corvette, as
it featured a steel body, interchangeable hard and soft tops, an
overhead valve V-8 engine and roll-up windows, and its road
performances were virtually identical to the Corvette's. Over 16,000
models were produced that year, and the styling remained the same
until 1958, when Ford revamped Thunderbird's sports car status and
added a back seat, which actually quadrupled sales.
The 50s Sporty Cars stamps
were illustrated by Art Fitzpatrick of Carlsbad, CA, and the
designer/art director is Carl Herrman of Carlsbad, CA.
stamps and stationery, as well as a free catalog, are available by
toll-free phone order at 1 800 STAMP-24. In addition, a selection of
stamps and other philatelic items is available at the online Postal
Store at www.usps.com/shop. Custom-framed art prints of original stamp
art are available at