Simanaitis Says

On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff


SORTING OUT some shelves, I came upon a large cardboard folder preserving two neat posters and several 4/c proofsheets kept for one reason or another. Here they are, with accompanying comments.

Ninety Years of Roll-Royce Convertibles. Originally, “Silver Ghost” was the name of the thirteenth car of the 40/50 series, chassis no. 60551 driven for 15,000 miles under Royal Automobile Club observation. Such was this car’s success that the entire series acquired the name Silver Ghost.

Rolls-Royce Convertibles, 10 1/2 in. x 14 in., printed on textured stock, 2000, signed by Graham Hull, Chief Stylist of Rolls-Royce at the time.

A Rolls-Royce authority once expressed sentiments along the lines of “One should have a pair of Silver Ghosts: for one’s motoring and another to admire in one’s sitting room.”

My Moke Adventuring. “From Sea to Shining Sea” appeared first in R&T, June 1991. In those days, magazines produced proofsheets, 4/c prints on high quality stock, as quality control before the magazine went to press. This particular proofsheet shows Moke and me on Skyline Drive of Virginia and North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Parkway.

Austin Mini Moke, November 1990, 4/c proofsheet.

Two women staffing a Blue Ridge Parkway gift shop observed my diminutive Moke: “Young man, that car of yours doesn’t have any windows.”
“No, ma’am, it doesn’t.”
“It doesn’t have doors either.”
“No, ma’am, it does not.”
“Well, what do you plan to do when it rains?”
“I guess I’ll just have to trust in the Lord.”
“Yes,” said one brightly, “it’s said the Good Lord looks after babies and fools.”

A Car with as much Character as Houses. I’ve long felt affinity for small cars, the Moke, the Renault 2CV, and a raft of those from Japan. The Nissan Figaro, built in the early 1990s, brought real personality to the company’s March mini sedan.

Nissan Figaro, as seen in R&T, March 1993, 4/c proofsheet.

I noted of cars of any particular era, “Big, small, powerful, economical—they’re all more or less alike. Or at least they are when compared with that other major investment of our lives, our home. Homes are as varied as saltboxes, split-levels, bungalows. They’re post-modern or French Provincial, Art Deco or Early American.”

So why shouldn’t car designs offer individuality too?

My Paul Harvey Encounter. Paul Harvey, 1918–2009, was a conservative talk-radio pioneer. This was back before Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Alex Jones, and others of their ilk made a mockery of the genre. Indeed, Paul Harvey was held in such national esteem that Buick invited him to a press preview.

Paul Harvey, right, and your author, Buick press preview, Arizona, early 2000s, 4/c proofsheet.

My Stash. There’s no irony in a Paul Harvey image sharing the same cardboard folder with the following poster: “Exotic Marijuana” identifies no less than 38 varieties of grass, including Amsterdam Gold, Blue Velvet, Maui Wowie, Nigerian Silk, and Super Silver Haze.

“Exotic Marijuana,” 23 3/4 in. x 35 1/2 in., text, photographs and inspiration by Jason King, poster design by Jeff Puda, Celestial Arts, 2001.

Each variety gets a brief review: Amsterdam Gold “has an exquisite musky flavor. The high is fuzzy and strong, mostly felt in the head.” Maui Wowie is “often bordering on psychedelic. The flavors are sweet, with hints of various tropical fruits.”

A marginal note on the poster: “The author and publisher lament that, unfortunately, all buds shown are not actual size.”

Nor are the cars in the proofsheets. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2017


  1. David Thomas
    September 12, 2018

    Gosh – If I had known you met Paul Harvey, you would have become my “Favorite” much sooner !!

  2. Frank Barrett
    September 12, 2018

    Good post, Dennis, but did you mean “Citroen” 2CV?

  3. Gene Herbert
    September 12, 2018

    Half-good post, Dennis, but did you mean “Renault” 4CV?

  4. sabresoftware
    September 13, 2018

    I enjoyed looking at the Rolls poster which showed an organic transition in styling from one model to the next.

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