'America on the Move: 50s Sporty Cars' Postage Stamps and Postal Cards Roll Out of Detroit

Aug 20, 2005, 01:00 ET from U.S. Postal Service

    DETROIT, Aug. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Millions of classic cars from the 1950s
 rolled out of the Motor City today, guaranteed to cross the country for just
 37 cents. Available in five makes and models, the "America on the Move: 50s
 Sporty Cars" commemorative stamps hit the road following a first-day-of-issue
 dedication ceremony in Detroit today. These collectables -- a '53 Chevrolet
 Corvette, '54 Kaiser Darrin, '52 Nash-Healey, '53 Studebaker Starliner, and a
 '55 Ford Thunderbird -- are also available as stamped postal cards, and can be
 driven off the lot of Post Offices and Philatelic Centers nationwide beginning
 Aug. 21.
     "Automobiles have always been a clever way of celebrating our American
 history and culture," said Patrick Donahoe, Deputy Postmaster General and
 Chief Operating Officer, U.S. Postal Service, in dedicating the stamps at the
 Michigan State Fair. "These cars are a perfect reminder of the 1950s and
 America's optimism that the nation's future was looking bright."
     The new stamps highlight the sporty look of American cars designed in the
 1950s with sleek, aerodynamic lines and the innovative styling of the types of
 European sports cars American GIs favored upon their return from World War II.
     Joining Donahoe in dedicating the stamps was Noland Adams
 (http://www.solidaxle.org), owner of the '53 Corvette that was the model for
 the stamp. Adams, an author of several Corvette restoration books, served as
 the Postal Service's technical advisor for the Corvette stamp.
     "I know Corvette and other classic car enthusiasts will be thrilled to see
 America's first sports cars immortalized on stamps," Adams said, whose '53 --
 number 284 of 300 Corvettes produced in 1953 -- was on display at the event.
 "The stamps will make for great collectables."
     The "America on the Move: 50s Sporty Cars" are available in a booklet of
 20 stamps (five designs) for $7.40 and as a booklet of 20 stamped postal cards
 (five designs) for $9.75.
     Carl Herman of Carlsbad, CA was the stamp designer. Art Fitzpatrick, who
 was once a car designer and a long-time advertising designer and illustrator
 for General Motors, was the stamp artist (see following). Fitzpatrick was only
 20 when he designed the Packard four-door convertible and hard-top sedans.
 While working for noted car designers and coach builders John Tjaarda (Briggs
 Body), Werner Gubitz (Packard), and "Dutch" Darrin, Fitzpatrick custom built
 cars for personalities such as Clark Gable, Errol Flynn and Al Jolson.
     '53 Chevrolet Corvette
     The fiberglass-bodied two-seater Corvette captured the public's
 imagination with its sleek styling and sense of fun. Only 300 hand-built,
 white, with red interior and black convertible-top models were produced in
 1953. A marked departure from other GM designs, its sporty appearance promised
 speed and high performance. In 1955, GM added a V-8 engine to raise the bar
 for the competition.
     '54 Kaiser Darrin
     The two-seater featured retractable doors that slid forward into the front
 fenders; a clever pointed, compact grille; long sloping lines; and a three-
 position Landau top. Nine months after it went into production, the last of
 435 Kaiser Darrins rolled off the assembly line. It could not compete with the
 Corvette which boasted more horsepower and sold for slightly less. Dutch
 Darrin himself bought 100 of the left-over cars and refitted them with
 powerful Cadillac V-8 engines.  They sold quickly, but the Kaiser era had
     '52 Nash-Healey
     An elegant little sports car famous for its hybridized styling drew on the
 creative genius of three countries. The U.S. created the six-cylinder engine,
 England engineered the chassis, and Italy added the body before returning it
 to the U.S. With only 150 made, it priced itself out of the market. Sold
 exclusively in the U.S., the high-performing hybrid had a moment of glory when
 it came in first in its class and third overall in the 1952 LeMans sports car
 race in France.
     '53 Studebaker Starliner
     The Starliner was low-slung, long and wide, and light on the chrome to
 give it a sophisticated, European look. Some considered it "the first American
 sports car." It was proclaimed "a work of art" by the Museum of Modern Art in
 New York, which selected the Starliner as the lone American representative for
 the 1953 exhibition, "Ten Automobiles."
     '55 Ford Thunderbird
     Ford introduced the flashy 1955 Thunderbird in 1954 and dubbed it "a
 sports car with luxury" -- a contradiction in terms, since sports cars at that
 time were built for appearance and performance, not comfort. The Thunderbird
 featured a steel body, interchangeable hard and soft tops, an overhead valve
 V-8 engine, and roll-up windows, as well as a host of luxury options. Styling
 remained essentially the same until 1958 when Ford converted it to a four-
     There are five philatelic products available for the "America on the Move:
 50s Sporty Cars" stamps issue:
      * First-Day Cover (set of 5) $3.75 (Item 673863)
      * Stamped Postal Cards (Booklet of 20) $9.75 (Item 673866)
      * Digital Color Postmark First-Day Cover (Random single) $1.50 (Item
      * Digital Color Postmark First-Day Cover (set of 5) $7.50 (Item 673868)
      * Booklet of 20 stamps and random Digital Color Postmark single $8.90
         (Item 673899)
     These products will be available while supplies last online at
 http://www.usps.com, and by telephone at 800 STAMP-24. To see the "America on
 the Move: 50s Sporty Cars" stamps and other images from the 2005 Commemorative
 Stamp Program, visit the Postal Store at http://www.usps.com/shop and click on
 "Release Schedule" in the Collector's Corner.
     Beautifully framed prints of original stamp art for delivery straight to
 the home or office are available at http://www.postalartgallery.com.
     Current U.S. stamps and stationery, as well as a free catalog, are
 available by calling 800 STAMP-24. In addition, a selection of stamps and
 other philatelic items is available at the online Postal Store at
 http://www.usps.com/shop. Custom-framed art prints of original stamp art are
 available at http://www.postalartgallery.com.
     How to Order the First-Day-of-Issue Postmark
     Customers have 30 days to obtain the first-day-of-issue postmark by mail.
 They may purchase new stamps at their local Post Office, by telephone at 800-
 STAMP-24, and at the Postal Store Web site at http://www.usps.com/shop. They
 should affix the stamps to envelopes of their choice, address the envelopes
 (to themselves or others), and place them in a larger envelope addressed to:
      America on the Move: 50s Sporty Cars
      1401 W. Fort St.
      Detroit, MI 48233-9998
     After applying the first-day-of-issue postmark, the Postal Service will
 return the envelopes through the mail. There is no charge for the postmark.
 All orders must be postmarked by September 19, 2005.
     How to Order First-Day Covers
     Stamp Fulfillment Services also offers first-day covers for new stamp
 issues and Postal Service stationery items postmarked with the official first-
 day-of-issue cancellation. Each item has an individual catalog number and is
 offered in the quarterly USA Philatelic catalog. Customers may request a free
 catalog by calling 800-STAMP-24 or writing to:
      DEPT 6270
      PO BOX 219014
      KANSAS CITY, MO  64121-9014
     Since 1775, the Postal Service has connected friends, families, neighbors
 and businesses by mail. An independent federal agency, the Postal Service
 makes deliveries to more than 142 million addresses every day and is the only
 service provider to deliver to every address in the nation. The Postal Service
 receives no taxpayer dollars for routine operations, but derives its operating
 revenues solely from the sale of postage, products and services. With annual
 revenues of $69 billion, it is the world's leading provider of mail and
 delivery services, offering some of the most affordable postage rates in the
 world. Moreover, today's postage rates will remain stable until at least 2006.
 The U.S. Postal Service delivers more than 46 percent of the world's mail
 volume -- some 206 billion letters, advertisements, periodicals and packages a
 year -- and serves seven million customers each day at its 37,000 retail
 locations nationwide.
                           Art M. "Fitz" Fitzpatrick
                      America on the Move: 50s Sporty Cars
                                  Stamp Artist
                (did not attend the First-Day-of-Issue Ceremony)
     Renowned automobile artist Art M. "Fitz" Fitzpatrick designed cars before
 he embarked on a decades-long career as an illustrator specializing in car
 advertising art. Fitzpatrick attended art classes at Detroit's Society of Arts
 and Crafts (today the College for Creative Studies) and the Detroit School of
 Art. He was only 20 when he designed the Darrin Packard 4-door convertible and
 hard-top sedans. While working for noted car designers and coach builders John
 Tjaarda (Briggs Body), Werner Gubitz (Packard), and "Dutch" Darrin,
 Fitzpatrick custom-built cars for personalities such as Clark Gable, Errol
 Flynn, and Al Jolson.
     After serving as a naval officer during World War II, Fitzpatrick turned
 to advertising art -- producing ads for General Motors, Lincoln/Mercury, Nash,
 Chrysler, Dodge, DeSoto, Plymouth, Kaiser, Studebaker, and Buick -- all the
 while turning down offers to return to the automotive industry. But, in 1953
 Buick signed him to an exclusive contract beginning what would become a 21-
 year association with General Motors automobiles: Buick, Pontiac, and Opel.
 For 13 years, he created an award-winning and widely imitated car advertising
 campaign for Pontiac. In 1958 he designed and produced the General Motors
 Golden Anniversary Book.
     In addition to his work for General Motors, Fitzpatrick also created
 product and graphic design and art for clients such as General Electric,
 Texaco, Quaker State, and Chris-Craft and editorial art for Life, Look,
 Esquire, and Automobile Quarterly. His art has been honored with more than 40
 art and design awards. A former member of the Society of Industrial Designers,
 Society of Automotive Engineers, and the Institute of Aeronautical Sciences,
 Fitzpatrick is today an honorary member of the Automotive Fine Arts Society
 and the Classic Car Club of America. His original art continues to be
 exhibited nationwide and Fitzpatrick himself often presents lectures as part
 of these exhibitions. The stamp art for "America on the Move: 50s Sporty Cars"
 is his first project for the U.S. Postal Service.

SOURCE U.S. Postal Service