Thursday, October 8, 2015

Styling Transition: Amos Northup's 1931 REO Line

Aside from General Motors' styling boss Harley Earl, not many automobile stylists of the 1930s were known very far outside their field.  One of those was Amos Northup (1889-1937) who was responsible for REO's 1931 line.

1931 REOs were the first American automobiles to incorporate a set of styling features that had been previewed here and there and which became virtually standard by the following model year or two.

In the image gallery below, 1930 REOs are  shown first to set the stage for Northup's 1931 restyling.


This advertisement portrays the 1930 line.  Click on the image to enlarge.

Details from 1930 advertising.  REO styling was typical of the time.  Lights, fenders, spare tires and such were distinct elements in those days.  Here the hood is almost, but not quite integrated with the rest of the body.  A moulding along the break in the hood surfaces continues around the car, but this is counteracted by a shiny metal strip along the cut line at the rear of the hood.  The windshield is vertical and surrounded by a lip that, along the top, is the vestige of a sun shield.  The radiator either lacks a grille or else has a flat, clip-on grille immediately in front of it.

1931 REOs: click to enlarge.  The Flying Cloud and the new Royale line shared Northup's styling features.  Windshields slope slightly to the rear while the transition to the roof is rounded.  Perhaps this was considered justification for the word "Aerodynamic" in the headline.  The hood is integrated with the rest of the body with no change in profile or cut-line accent as seen for 1930.  A grille blended into the hood sits well in front of the radiator.

Advertisement showing Royales front and rear with their cleaned-up (compared to 1930) styling.  The next step Northup took was adding skirts to the sides of the fenders, but he did that on 1932 Grahams.

Photo of a 1931 REO Royale Victoria Custom Convertible.

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