As many of you know, one of my favorite designers from the 1950’s was Russian born Count Alexis de Sakhnoffsky. I first wrote about him earlier this year and introduced you to some of the concept sports car designs he did for Pedwin shoes. Click here to read more about Count Alexis de Sakhnoffsky.
A number of you called / wrote in and asked for a bit more about “The Count,” and I’m happy to oblige. I’ve been collecting materials on him for years, and if we have a willing audience, then let me share, share, share.
Motor Trend, September 1949 – Volume 1, Number 1
I imagine if you’re starting a venture like a magazine, you bring in all the “big guns” for the first few issues. Hopefully, the first few years. I’m sure that’s what Robert R. Lindsay and Robert E. Petersen were thinking when the assembled their cast for creating “Motor Trend” with particular emphasis on who would write for issue #1.
The first issue was only 30 pages long, and had only 7 authors. Among these names were folks like Griffith Borgeson, James Potter, Marvin “Mark” Wallach (close friend and another friend of fiberglass), and Count Alexis de Sakhnoffsky. That should give you a sense of whom Robert Petersen et. al. were thinking of when they brought together their team to help make Motor Trend a success.
Sakhnoffsky’s Column: Trend of the Future
“The Count” penned several articles starting with the first issue of Motor Trend. His first column was titled “Trend of the Future” and it appeared each month with new designs of interest to the public. Here’s how his first designs were introduced to the Motor Trend faithful:
“Trend of the Future
On the following two pages, Colonel Alexis de Sakhnoffsky presents his version of the coming trend in automobile styling. Many readers will recall his futuristic designs presented several years ago in Esquire magazine.
Some of the more important features of this design are the following:
* “bubble” windshield
* rear deck handle integral with license plate light
* massively-designed bumper combined with airs scoop
* and…”psychological styling” (suggesting speed) consisting of louvers and twin exhausts
The instrument panel is composed of a large speedometer, a tachometer, and a matching round dial for other standard instruments. The round buttons on the steering wheel spokes are blinker lights to indicate that gas or oil supply is low. Center of the panel has a combined radio grill and round television screen.”
Pretty cool stuff gang.
From time to time, I will be featuring the work of different designers – primarily from the 1950’s – because that’s where our vintage fiberglass designers often drew their inspiration. Not just what was in shows, but what was being shown in magazines.
Designs, concept cars, and custom cars from across the world influenced the folks who would ultimately design their own cars and build them out of…..fiberglass. To this end, I’ll feature designs that I hope you will feel are interesting, as well as additional work from Count Alexis de Sakhnoffsky.
Oh….and by the way. Alexis was a “Count” by Russian birthright. However, during WWII he returned to Russia as an Air Force Major with the US Military Mission in Moscow, and over the course of the war rose to the rank of Lt. Colonel. Hence, you see his name as either “Count Alexis” or as in the Motor Trend articles (which appeared immediately after WWII) as “Colonel Alexis.” Probably more information than what you were looking for. *wink*
Hope you enjoyed the story, and until next time…
Glass on gang…
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