Car tattoos are a recent tattoo design choice, as cars have only been around for little over a century. Whether car tattoos are of classic, vintage automobiles or sleek and modern racing cars, the symbolism remains the same; the tattoo owner is expressing his love for cars, speed and the joy of driving.
Vintage Car Tattoo Designs
Antique cars are automobiles that were built in the late 19th century and early 20th century. These early cars included wood panelling and leather upholstery and were very similar in design to the horse-drawn carriages of the time. Early cars couldn’t go very fast, but they were still quite dangerous. The glass in the windows wasn’t shatterproof and there were no seat belts or airbags. Shock absorbers hadn’t yet found their way into cars, so even if you got to your destination safely, you’d probably feel a bit like you’d been scrambled.
The term “vintage cars” refers to cars that were built between 30 and 60 years ago. These are the cars that were featured in popular films like Grease, which showed scenes of teenage mechanics working on their cars. American cars from the 1950s reflect the mind set of the era in that gas (petrol) was cheap, so cars were larger and used a lot more fuel than modern cars. Cars of the 1950s and 1960s were grand and comfortable and were built to last.
In the early 20th century, it became apparent that some car manufacturers were building cars to be luxurious displays of wealth and comfort, whereas other companies aimed to build cars that were utilitarian. Names like Rolls Royce and Mercedes Benz soon became associated with wealth and luxury, while companies like Volkswagen and Ford became known for their reliable, family-oriented vehicles. One of the most popular cars to be built in the 20th century was the VW beetle. This car, with its distinctive beetle shape, was very popular during the 1960s hippy era and has since been associated with the fun and freedom of the era.
Speedsters on Skin
Car races began to be held shortly after the motor car was invented. Although there weren’t many races in the last two decades of the 19th century, by the time the First World War began, motor car racing was a popular sport, drawing hoards of onlookers to parks and fields where the crowd would picnic and socialize while various daredevils raced against each other. The early days of racing had few rules, and many of the cars were modified by the racers in an attempt to gain the upper hand. These early cars could reach speeds of around 100km/hr (60 m/hr), a speed that felt enormously fast to people of the time.
During the 20th century, auto racing gained popularity and is now one of the most followed sports in the world, with racing tracks across the globe drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. The sport has become far more high tech, and each car now has a team of expert mechanics who can change wheels, top up the oil and perform other tasks on the car in a matter of seconds.
The Meaning of Car Tattoos
Car tattoos can be a way of expressing a love for cars, or to celebrate the memory of a loved one. Many people have fond memories of parents, grandparents, spouses or friends who either owned a car or had a passion for cars. A tattoo of a deceased loved one’s favorite automobile honors the life of that person by celebrating something that brought them joy.
Tattoos of vintage cars can also be an expression of yearning for a time gone by. Films like Grease remind us of how different the world was just half a century ago, and many people wish for the safety and peace of the 1950s and 1960s. Iconic cars like the VW beetle and VW van are a symbol of the peace, love and happiness that encapsulated the 1960s hippy era and are often chosen as a tattoo to commemorate the utopian ideals of this time.