Automobile Origin

1769-1886

In the second half of the 18th century, Watt’s improved steam engine officially kicked off the first industrial revolution. Machine production gradually replaced manual operations. With the help of metallurgy and electrical engineering, German engineer Nicholas Otto developed an epochal vertical four-stroke internal combustion engine in 1861.

Based on this, Carl Benz made a single-cylinder four-stroke gasoline engine which was installed on a three-wheeled frame made of steel pipes and wooden boards in 1885. The tires of the car were made of steel spokes and round rubber and by rotating handle to drive the gear to complete the front wheel steering.

In the following year, Benz applied for an invention patent for this car, and the world’s first internal combustion engine car “Motor Wagon” was born. Year 1886 was then considered the birth year of automobile.

Feature Exhibits

Benz Patent-Motorwagon(1886)

Feature Exhibits

Napier 15HP(1910)

Brass Era

1905-1914

The speed of change in the times always exceeds people’s expectations. At first, cars that were not favored or even regarded as “clumsy monsters”. They were then widely accepted by society and replaced horse carriages as transportation. It was due to the rapid increase in production efficiency with mechanical drives.

Upper classes’ pursuit of novel things has intensified the market demand for models with unique appearance, fancy interiors and spacious seating spaces.

Automobile manufacturers have begun to use highly metallic brass accessories to decorate the exquisite workmanship of the brass grille, polished brass headlights, delicate brass horns, sophisticated brass chassis and engines, etc. The luxuary design made the car look like as if it was wearing a gold armor. This period of automobile design and production is therefore also known as the “Brass Era”

Chaos Age

1918-1929

第一次世界大战结束后,美国在战争期间因生产大量军工装备而累积了丰厚的财富,随着战后经济繁荣和生产力发展,人们对物质生活的追求和消费达到空前高度。这是一个拥有金钱就能享受一切的时代,听音乐、看电影、去旅行成为人们消遣的主流选择,伴随着汽车的普及,人们对舒适性高、性能好及彰显个性差异的豪华汽车的购买需求陡然递增。

十年的繁华盛景过后,随着华尔街股市崩盘,这个时代的绚烂荣耀如烟花一般,最终化为了残叶里模糊的微光,走向消亡。

Feature Exhibits

Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost( 1923 年 )

Feature Exhibits

Auburn 851( 1935年 )

Art-deco Era

1930-1944

装饰艺术(Art Deco)运动是20世纪初发源于法国巴黎、后兴起于欧美、具有重要历史意义的设计艺术运动。伴随现代工业的强势发展,设计师力求将古典主义的繁复奢华与现代工业的精炼简洁相融合,强调机械动力美和理性设计。

汽车制造业的设计师在装饰艺术运动时期,大胆结合了现代工业文明的成果,升级其设计动机和材料应用。从汽车工业设计到周边装饰海报,随处可见丰富的线条、逐层退缩的轮廓、鲜艳的色彩…这些力量感强烈的元素传递着装饰艺术浪潮下的艺术表达。

Postwar Era

1945-1973

第二次世界大战结束后,汽车工业的一个重大转变是ponton风格的普及。Ponton风格始于1930年代,采用这种风格作为外观的汽车基本上可以认为是现代汽车造型的先驱。Ponton风格的车辆不同于马车造型,具有明显的流线型车身和整体式的翼子板,车身开始变得更具有整体感:翼子板融合进整个车身,整车的纵向线条也更加连贯。

美国作为二战期间收益最大的国家,战后经济繁荣,汽车制造商为了满足人们对奢华趋之若鹜的需求,生产的标准车型尺寸越来越大,镀铬装饰量越来越多。与此同时,欧洲国家因为战争元气大伤,经济疲软的状态不可避免地影响了制造业,整片大陆上,最受人们欢迎的车是经济实用的紧凑型轿车。

Feature Exhibits

Cadillac Eldorado(1959)

Feature Exhibits

Lamborghini Jalpa(1986)

Modern Era

1974-1999

The 1970s were turbulent years for automakers and buyers with major events reshaping the industry such as the 1973 oil crisis, stricter automobile emissions control and safety requirements, increasing exports by the Japanese and European automakers, as well as growth in inflation and the stagnant economic conditions in many nations. Smaller-sized cars grew in popularity. 

To the end of the 20th century, the United States Big Three (GM, Ford, and Chrysler) partially lost their leading position, Japan became for a while the world’s leader of car production and cars began to be mass manufactured in new Asian, East European, and other countries.