Eagle’s Nest – The Autos of The Great Gatsby Era

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Here are some rare images I shot at Eagle’s Nest – the William K Vanderbilt estate in Centerport, NY. These feature a Duesenberg, Bentley, Cadillac, and Buick – all cars featured in various The Great Gatsby films. Want more info, please see my post entitled The Mysteries of The Great Gatsby Castles – Beacon Towers and Other Places. Enjoy! There’s more to come…
– HKK

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Images of The Autos of The Great Gatsby Era
Copyrighted 2014 by HKK Productions Inc

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The Content is The King

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Elvis drives a 1964 Dodge Polara 500 Convertible with the boys in the band on their way to their next gig for fun and sun in the 1965 MGM film “Girl Happy”. Enjoy! There’s more to come…
– HKK

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Elvis in a 1928 Stutz Bearcat Speedster as a tow vehicle! What’s really interesting is that he is towing a 1967 Dodge Hemi Charger to a movie Nascar race in the 1967 film Spinout. Where is that Hemi today? Comment if you know. Enjoy! There’s more to come…
– HKK

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(3) Images of The King in a 1964 Dodge Polara from the movie “Girl Happy”
Copyrighted 1965 by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

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Image of the Elvis Soundtrack Album of Girl Happy cassette cover & Original US Singles covers
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(4) 2-Sided Images of the Elvis Collection Trading Cards
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Offset Lithograph by Andy Warhol, titled “Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Coupe” from Cars                                                                                                                                          Cars is a series of artworks by the American artist Andy Warhol, commissioned by Mercedes-Benz in 1986.

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More Dodge Racers – The Muscle Car Years

Here are a few images from my collection of Automotive Art. These are featuring the Dodge Racers from 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966 and 1970 – the best of the Muscle Car Years.

By the way, there is a typo in the copy of the trading card. It shows a 1964 Dodge Super Stock 440 on the front, but the back of the card calls it a Coronet 440. However, Dodge didn’t produce a new model Coronet (a name dredged up from the past) until 1965. (It was a mash-up of the compact Dart model line and the Standard Size line, and classified as an Intermediate.)

That’s me proudly sitting in the back of my Dad’s newly purchased 1964 Dodge Polara in one image. (The white car among the trees with a shadowy figure of a kid in the back seat.)

Enjoy! There’s more to come…

– HKK

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(2) Images of The 1964 Dodge Polara
Copyrighted 2014 by HKK Productions Inc

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Images of the Chrysler Mopar Performance
Published and Copyrighted by Chrysler Corporation

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 (2) Images of 1964 Dodge Race Hemi
Published by Muscle Cards Copyright 1991 P.Y.Q.C.C.

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The Mysteries of The Great Gatsby’s Castles – Beacon Towers and Other Places

 

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Here are rare images that I shot over several decades at Sands Point, Long Island, NY, the site of the inspiration for the famous F Scott Fitzgerald novel The Great Gatsby. These feature Daisy & Tom Buchanan’s or Jay Gatsby’s castle, Beacon Towers, Sands Light, and others. Some of these castles are gone now, torn down & lost to time. So take a trip back in time & Enjoy! Read the story below, there’s more to come…
– HKK

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The Mysteries of the Great Gatsby’s Castles – Beacon Towers and Other Places

Part 1

There are to this day mysteries surrounding F. Scott Fitzgerald’s American classic novel “The Great Gatsby”. Most of these questions are in relation to the original inspiration for this famous fiction. Literary scholars believe that the following two actual mansions were the inspiration. The Jay Gatsby castle was in reality the property of William K Vanderbilt Jrs.’ Mother, and was called “The Beacon Towers”. The other East Egg mansion, also located in Sands Point, Long Island New York, called “Lands End”, was John Scott Browning’s and was a Stanford White design. “Lands End” being the novel’s home of Daisy and Tom Buchanan. In reality, F. Scott Fitzgerald did live across Manhasset Bay from both of them, in a guest cottage of a Great Neck Estate. He was well-known and well-documented to have been an invited guest, along with his wife Zelda to many famous wild parties that the prohibition 1920s are known for.

The Beacon Towers known as Sands Light owner and co-designer was Mrs. Alva Vanderbilt Belmont. Her son “Willy K” Vanderbilt is the world famous owner operator of the Long Island Vanderbilt Cup Auto Races. This amazing castle was located off the Long Island Sound in Sands Point. In 1917 Alva, then widowed from her second husband O.H.P. Belmont for nine years, then commissioned Richard Howland to design this Gothic fantasy castle. One of the mysteries to myself and others is why, after only a few short years, she sold the castle to William Randolph Hearst? He of course was the newspaper mogul and also the inspiration for the 1941 motion picture Citizen Kane. In that multi-dimensional film the Kane/Hearst estate is depicted in opening establishing shots from footage from another Long Island, New York Gold Coast estate the “Oheka” castle in Huntington. It was 1927 when Alva Vanderbilt Belmont sold Beacon Towers to William Randolph Hearst. Then some 45 years later in 1942, after living as might be expected a very private existence, Mr. Hearst sold this mega-castle for various reasons. The most colossal reason being the long ongoing construction (from 1919 to 1947!) of his dream castle project on the other coast in San Simeon, California. The name of this construction was of course “The Hearst Castle”, also known as Xanadu in the movie Citizen Kane. Hearst formally named his California estate “La Cuesta Encantada” (“The Enchanted Hill”), but usually called it “the ranch”.

Unfortunately five years after Hearst sold the castle to a real estate company and only 30 years after the Beacon Towers estate was hand-crafted by European artisans, they destroyed it in 1946 to build a new residence. In 2011 the New York Times reported “The mansion that was said to be the inspiration for the Gatsby home was leveled decades ago. However remains of the estate still remain intact in their original condition, including the gatehouse, carriage house, the beach sands lighthouse, and shore light tower”. And best of all, the same tower that is included in my Gallery showing of the famous “Sands Light Tower” described by F Scott Fitzgerald as the atmospheric green light. In 1982 I returned to this tip of land with my 1964 Dodge, I had driven through this place many times before, but on this visit I came to do a photographic shoot of it’s fantastic moody atmosphere that was a trip back in time and place. Unknown to me at that time was the amount of historical significance of the surviving architecture.

So if the current Jay Gatsby, Leonardo DiCaprio, gets to view my gallery site, I invite you and all of you reading this post to travel back in time and space to these “Real McCoys” of America’s “Roaring ‘20s” architectural art. It would be a perfect fit for an excellent display in a 20” x 30″ multi-image collage or a large single mounted image. So Leo, comment as you see fit…!

To Be Continued…

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The Mysteries of the Great Gatsby’s Castles – Beacon Towers and Other Places

 

Part 2

 

The forward to Mark Twain’s book “The Prince and the Pauper” reads as follows: “It may be history, it may be only a legend, a tradition. It may have happened, it may not have happened: but it COULD have happened.”

Another one of the mysteries of The Great Gatsby is who was the inspiration for Jay Gatsby and how did he become so successful? It is said in the old south that there once was an overnight millionaire by the name of George Remus, a successful criminal as well as defense attorney and also a pharmacist. It made for a good combination to come up with the very unique idea to find legal ways to profit in the Prohibition Age law known as the “Volstead Act”. Within those laws there was one that stated that pharmacists could distribute the then outlawed alcohol beverages for medicinal purposes with a Doctor’s recommendation and a prescription. Mr. Remus soon went on to dominate 80% of the U.S. alcohol consumption during Prohibition. In three years he made over $40 million, equivalent to one half of a billion dollars today. Many believe that his lavish lifestyle and extravagant parties were the inspiration for Fitzgerald’s character Jay Gatsby. Another candidate could be a bootlegger named Max Gerlach, who seems to be the inspiration for Jay Gatsby’s oft used phrase “Old Sport”.

One of the other mysteries that involve Jay Gatsby is automotive related. In the many film versions of the novel it is shown that Jay loved luxury cars, but he could not have been driving any of these models depicted in the films …not one of them. In the recent Leonardo DiCaprio version, he is driving a 1929 Duesenberg Model J. The problem is the story was set in year 1922. F Scott Fitzgerald was clear that Jay Gatsby had a predilection for English luxury to bolster his claim of having attended Oxford University, and, of course, owning a Rolls-Royce. “On weekends”, Fitzgerald wrote, “His Rolls-Royce became an omnibus bearing parties to and from the city between nine in the morning and long past midnight…” The Rolls-Royce most likely would have been a 1922 Silver Ghost, which was grandiose enough to serve as a bus. Baz Luhrmann’s recent adaptation could have used the yellow Rolls-Royce Phaeton 1 that Robert Redford drove in the 1974 film version of the book. But those filmmakers didn’t get it quite right either. The1922 Rolls-Royce produced at the company’s Springfield, Massachusetts plant was made only with right hand drive steering. Mr. Redford’s film Rolls was a left drive model. “it was also a 1928 left-hand drive was optional in 1923 and became standard in 1924 at the Springfield plant” Kristina Marchetto a spokesman for Rolls-Royce said in an email. “Hagerty”, a vintage, collector and antique auto insurance company, could not resist poking fun at the filmmakers for their choice of Gatsby’s vehicles (like a 1930 Buick in the most recent film). “While F Scott Fitzgerald’s Gatsby lived in the literary world of 1922, Hollywood’s Gatsby seems to be an auto enthusiast from the stock market crash year of 1929. Driving vehicles that didn’t exist when the novel was first published in 1925″, the company said in a news release. And to top it off the Duesenberg in the new movie was also a fake. It was made in Wisconsin in 1983 and has a fiberglass body and a Ford V-8. Filmmakers had bought that car and another replica Duesenberg from the Volo Auto Museum in Volo, Illinois and shipped them to Australia, where the film was shot. “Both cars were repainted and modified to look identical, to portray the same car on the screen. Said Brian Grams, the Volo Museum’s Director. Although it is generally assumed that the yellow car that hit and killed Myrtle Wilson was a Rolls-Royce, there certainly are ambiguities in the text.

But one thing is for sure, there was not much of a chance for the original Jay Gatsby to be driving a 1929 Duesenberg in an authentic historic fiction. Then again, as Mark Twain once wrote, “… but it COULD have happened”.

To Be Continued…

 

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Images of The Mysteries of The Great Gatsby’s Castles

Copyrighted 2014 by HKK Productions Inc

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2 Images of The Beacon Towers from Fairchild Aerial Surveillance

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’64 – ’65 NY World’s Fair Through the Years

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Here are some rare images I shot over several decades at Flushing Meadows Park in Queens, NY, the site of the most famous ’64 – ’65 New York World’s Fair. These feature the now non-existent terrazzo floor of the NY Pavilion, the ’39 World’s Fair Aquatic Center, and others. Enjoy! There’s more to come…
– HKK

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Images of The ’64 – ’65 NY World’s Fair Through the Years

Copyrighted 2014 by HKK Productions Inc

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The 2006 Dodge Challenger RT Prototype

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The 2006 Dodge Challenger RT Prototype Story

The biggest hit of 2005’s All Chrysler Nationals in Carlisle, PA was the 2006 Dodge Challenger concept/prototype car. “There was a crowd around the vehicle all weekend long” said Ed Buczeskie, Carlyle’s Chrysler event manager. Knowing that car enthusiasts still desired great looks and an abundance of power, Dodge decided to bring the Challenger back after a 35-year hiatus. The ‘06 Challenger featured the long hood, short deck, wide stance and two door coupe body style that distinguished it in the 1970s. “We drew on the rich heritage of the Dodge Challenger, but with contemporary forms and technologies” said Chrysler Group President Tom LaSorda. “It’s not just a re-creation; it’s a re-interpretation”.

The iconic Dodge Challenger made its’ debut in the fall of 1969 as a 1970 model. While it shared the “E-body” platform with the Plymouth Barracuda, the Dodge Challenger’s wheelbase was two inches longer, creating more interior space. The Challenger was originally offered as either a two door hardtop or convertible. And with true respect to the brand’s performance heritage, the Challenger went out of the factory doors and right onto many different types of race tracks nationwide. In its’ first year, competing most notably in the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) series, Trans Am Series and National Hot Rod Association’s (NHRA) Pro Stock class. Although it was produced only from 1972 to 1974, The Dodge Challenger earned a reputation as one of the most desirable of the original “Ponycars”, with meticulously restored or super rare examples today selling for six-figure prices.

How cool is it to be able to once again walk into your local Dodge dealer and order a brand-new Hemi-Challenger, like your Dad, Granddad, or even a plum crazy purple one, like your Aunt Betty might have bought after graduating college?

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Here are some rare images I shot at the 2005 Mopar Nationals in Columbus, Ohio. These feature the Challenger RT Prototype with carbon fiber construction. Enjoy! There’s more to come…
– HKK

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Images of The 2006 Dodge Challenger RT Prototype
Copyrighted 2014 by HKK Productions Inc

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AAR – All American Racers

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When Dan Gurney and Carroll Shelby founded All American Racers (AAR) in 1964, they wanted to build exceptional racing cars in the United States that would gain international recognition. And that is exactly what they did.

By the time 1970 came about, Sam Posey was the driver for Ray Caldwell’s factory backed Auto Dynamics 1970 Dodge Challenger, and in Trans Am Series he raced against Parnelli Jones, also against Dan Gurney in the AAR Cuda, with Swede Savage driving for that same team. This was a time that racing historians regard as the greatest season of professional road racing in US history! These pony cars competitors were the Dodge Challenger and the Plymouth Cuda. The Dodge finished fourth in points for the 1970 season, behind the Ford Corporate Team, and the great Roger Penske’s AMC, but ahead of Chevrolet, the Plymouth Cuda entries, and Pontiac. This all done as a last minute start up team of Dodge boys ready to take on the world of road racing.

In 1970, Chrysler introduced its third generation Barracuda, and the new Dodge Challenger, a distant relative from the 1959 very limited edition Silver Challenger. This pair of new ponys gave potential racers of the future many great engine options; from basic solid 6-cylinder, through the “Big Blocks” but not at big bucks, 340-cubic inch, 383, 440, and 426 “Hemi” elephant power plants. With the 425 horses ready to nip the other pony cars in the ass. 1970 was also the year that Chrysler executives decided to add onto the corporation’s current race programs of NASCAR racing and NHRA drag racing by sponsoring Cuda and Dodge Challenger teams in the ’70 Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) Trans-American sedan road racing series.

Trans-Am racing was getting a lot of top name drivers along with car companies spending whatever amount of money was needed to get winning results and faster road course lap time. This is when Dan Gurney was hired to manage the racing program. Dan was retired from active race driving. But he still would get behind the wheel if needed, as in the Lime Rock Connecticut race. He did not finish that race, dropping out with clutch problems. Gurney’s management responsibility would be to locate and organize the needed talent, and construct specially designed race set-ups.

Trans-Am regulations required that 2,500 examples of this model car be offered to the public. These models were the now world famous AAR Cuda and AAR Dodge Challenger loaded with the 340 cubic inch V8 with three two barrel carburetors, affectionately known as “The Six Pack”. Exhaust pipes that ended short below each door. Ouch that could get you a hot foot! The suspensions were special but turned out to be not so special for road course handling in these otherwise Super Cars. It came from the factory with larger front disc brakes, the much loved “Pistol Grip” four speed standard shifter, a matte black fiberglass hood, a big in your face air grabber hood scoop, rear wing spoiler and a quicker steering ratio. The tires were the first to be set up with tires that were one size wider in the back than on the front wheels. This is common today but new at that time. The AARs made 290 horsepower, equal to Boss Mustang streetcar, but less than Chevy’s success, the ’70 Z/28 Camaro that used a Corvette 350 with 260 horses. The ARR Cudas that Dan built for his driver, the well-named Swede Savage, cost a lot more than the street version of the Cuda’s $3,966 price tag, that even being more than $1,200 over the price of a base Barracuda. Plymouth had no problem to find eager customers to sell every one of the 2,500 AAR Cudas it was required to build that year (they actually made and sold 2,724 of this model).

The team of Gurney/Savage was not quite as successful as those car sale numbers, finishing fifth in points, behind the Dodge Challengers with a similar set up. But alas all good things must come to an end, or not? After just one extended season of great champion competitors and dramatic racing, Ford decided to drop out! Following this surprise move, Chrysler executives cut off its support and involvement for Trans-Am racing. So now with the end of its road-racing days, those factory built racers AAR’s came to an end way too soon… or is it? Chrysler Fiat has a golden opportunity to revisit one of their most successful models (and favorite car from the 1971 cult film Vanishing Point & the’90s remake) and bring it back into modern times. And it would have America right there in middle of its race history name. You couldn’t go wrong with this package’s road racing potential, and a great tire and suspension system could eliminate the wheel hop problems and win their way back to victory circle.

Back in those days, Trans Am series teams were known to acid dip the racecars to etch away the metal making the cars lighter. At Laguna Seca, the first race of the ‘70 season, the Challenger team was last in line for technical inspection. Since all the factories were participating in 1970, the first inspection of the year was highly detailed. After the Challenger had passed tech inspection and was accepted onto the race roster, the team offered John Taminus, the chief technical inspector, a beer. John sloppily rested his elbow on the roof and dented it. It was extra soft metal from an extra long time in the acid bath. So now the team was told by the officials that they could not run the car until the roof was replaced! Within an hour of the incident the Challenger team had received permission from Chrysler executives to cut the roof off a Challenger that was sitting on a dealer’s showroom floor in downtown Monterey California. They were able to perform this roof transplant and start the race on time. It was all well worth it, Sam Posey finishes in a respectful third place. Other best finishes for Sam in 1970 were third at Lime Rock, third at Road America and once again Sam Posey in third at the Kent race track.

I’m pleased to again be able to share another small part of the grand story about American muscle car history that led us up to today’s modern day muscle car classics. You can count on seeing more interesting imagery and posts in the near future. Cruise them, race them, or if you like, just take them out, show them off, and enjoy admiring them. Cheers!

— HKK

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Images of The AAR
Copyrighted 2014 by HKK Productions Inc

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Chrysler Mopar Racing Legends

Here are a few images from my collection of Automotive Art. These are featuring the Chrysler Mopar Racing Legends. Enjoy! There’s more to come…
– HKK

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Images of the Chrysler Mopar Performance
Published and Copyrighted by Chrysler Corporation

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The Dependables Success Cars Of ’64

Here are a few images from my collection of Automotive Art. These are featuring the 1964 Dodge Polara, one of Dodge’s Dependable Success Cars. Enjoy! There’s more to come…
– HKK

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Images of The Dependables
Published and Copyrighted by the Dodge Division of the Chrysler Motors Corporation

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The ’59 Challenger Story

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Recently it occurred to me the possibility of two of the first and most famous models from Chrysler Corporation competing in a dream race. These two classics are a part of the history of iconic model names that still lives and thrives today. They were a part of automotive race history that set many standards for today’s quarter mile track racing NHRA, NASCAR, and Trans Am AAR road course racing. These two classics would be the Dodge 1964 Charger and the Dodge 1959 Challenger, both of these early models are unfamiliar to even the most knowledgeable auto enthusiasts. This meet and match could be an amazing dream car competition, a sort of fantasy race. A competition that would feature the original originals, or as they called themselves The Original RamChargers. And in 1964, Dodge was the bad boy of NASCAR, with its 426 Hemi elephant engine banned from racing for… now get this, being too fast! LOL. Back in 1959, the Dodge Silver Challenger came on the race scene as a limited edition mid-year model. It was only available in one color inside and out, that color, of course, was silver. Its look was very muscular, just a little bit angry, and it was packed with style & power.

Then eleven years later in 1970, the Challenger returned to challenge all on comers. Today its dollar value can be in the six figures, and it’s a long time favorite of Mopar fanatics and automotive collectors. When Dan Gurney and Carroll Shelby founded AAR All American Racers in 1970, they wanted to build exceptional racing cars in the United States that would gain international recognition. And did they ever achieve their goals! Sam Posey in the #77 was the lucky driver that got to tame that wild Challenger Pony car in its racing run, until Dodge pulled out support for the Trans Am race series in 1971.

Not too many people today still remember that first ‘59 Challenger, so I’m pleased to be able to share this small part of the grand story about American muscle car history that led us up to today’s modern muscle car classics. You can count on seeing more interesting imagery and posts in the very near future. Cruise them, race them, or if you like, just take them out, show them off, and enjoy admiring them. Cheers!
— HKK

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Another great dream race!

Another great dream race!

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Images of the Hell Drivers from the World’s Fair Hell Drivers Official Souvenir Program at the New York World’s Fair 1964-1965
Published and Copyright 1964 by Alsack Corporation

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Image of The Greatest Charger Race Ever
Copyrighted 2014 by HKK Productions Inc

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