Supposedly my first word was “Buick”. That’s what my parents told me, so I might as well believe it.

I was born in the 1950s, a time of soaring optimism, expressed in every way. Not the least of that expression came from Detroit, where the wildest dreams of the Space Age somehow ended up in mainstream America’s driveways and highways. And as far as the designers reached, they usually held it together somehow without descending into chaos. It was a lot for us little kids to take in, and it left a lasting impression on many of us.

It’s hard to believe how far we have proceeded into the 21st Century. This is the “future” we yearned for, but it’s less futuristic than those dreams from so long ago. In fact, it’s become relatively boring, in many ways, not the least being our cars.

 I have been creating these behind-the-wheels views of past scenes as a mission of sorts. This isn’t “nostalgia”, which to me implies a packaged view of the past, tinged by sentimentality. What interests me about the past, particularly mid-century America, is its variety and color. It’s not always beautiful, and certainly not always sentimental, but it is always interesting. It is the behind-the-wheels scenes that define Wheels of Time. I hope you enjoy these, and the detailed shots of automotive designers’ artistry.

- Roger Cantrell 


Mr. Cantrell is licensed as an architect, and has won numerous awards as an urban design consultant to various cities.  His attachment to cars, a lifelong affliction, is fortunately addressed by Wheels of Time.