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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Automobiles > America's Favorite Cars series (Corvette/Mustang/Fords of the 50s)

America’s Favorite Cars (DVD-Video series)


The Complete Corvette 50th Anniversary

The Complete Mustang 40th Anniversary

Fabulous Fords Of The 50’s


Picture: C+    Sound: C+     Extras: C-     Main Programs: B- each



The DVD-Video market has been flooded with many car titles, especially ones with souped-up ecocars and the lifestyle they entail, but there has been a glut in great cars of the past and great sports car marques.  We have already covered the first five titles in the Victory By Design series, including titles on Aston Martin, Maserati, Porsche, Jaguar and Alfa Romeo.  Now, Eagle Eye Media has issued three discs on two other great sports cars and the historical 1950s period of Ford, which includes the Thunderbird.


The Complete Corvette 50th Anniversary is a strong show produced in 1997 about the dawn of the model as a fancier regular car before being redesigned to be America’s perennial superexoticar.  Needless to say, from the production year, the latest revision of the vehicle is not included, but it is a great 50-minutes-long program that has tons of valuable footage of the car.  This includes some models rarely seen, special editions and footage from classic TV commercials that is still a must-have for fans and those who want to see the rise of an American classic.  Despite no reference to the car’s early film appearance in Robert Aldrich’s Kiss Me Deadly (1955), it manages to capture some great pop culture moments for the car and shows how the fan base for it has built up over the years, including a trip to a Corvette show like many that occur annually worldwide.  This is fun.


The Complete Mustang 40th Anniversary is just as long and was produced in 1991, so the actual show only goes up to it 25th anniversary, making these two otherwise fine volumes a bit mistitled.  What is fun about the tale here is that the car was meant as an inexpensive sporty model that took off in ways Ford cold never have imagined, plus the standard inclusion of an 8-track tape stereo player in this car single-handedly launched the car stereo movement.  The fanfare that builds around the car has an even larger Pop effect than even the ‘Vette in many ways, spurred on by Carroll Shelby’s involvement with the car in the 1960s and how the abilities of its high-performance seemed to keep evolving until the model was rolled-back in edge, power and excitement in the 1970s.  Again, it missed great appearances in films like Jean-Luc Godard’s Alphaville (1965) and the James Bond films Goldfinger (1964, the same model/reviewed elsewhere on this site) and the great Mach One in Diamonds Are Forever (1971, reviewed elsewhere on this site).  It was also the car on the great, influential Cult TV classic Kolchak: The Night Stalker (1974-1975), though the model used was from the 1960s and is a better one than any form the 1970s or recent revival of the series.  Still, this is as solid a volume as its predecessor.


Fabulous Fords Of The 50’s was produced in 1990 and ironically is the episode that does not need to be updated in any way, shape or form.  The program has been divided into five sections and runs the longest.  The first three chapters deal rather thoroughly with the Ford, Mercury and Lincoln divisions respectively, with the wild card being in how the then-new medium of television turned out to be a major factor in making the public aware of the latest models.  After all the successes and failures are shown, we are reminded of how extremely collectible all the cars produced became.  That is even more obvious in the section on Thunderbird and a great joke in the final segment on the disastrous release of The Edsel.  They are also covered in great detail, with the Thunderbird launch and resulting huge response as impressive as those of Mustang and Corvette, while the launch for Edsel is funny, but shows the kind of serious effort the company made to get them to sell.  They did not, but it was not for lack of ambitious marketing.  When the public is not interested, you can forget it.


All three are produced on older analog NTSC videotape at the 1.33 X 1 aspect ratio, but they look good for their age and the film footage is often in better shape than expected.  The footage is usually in color on all three discs, but there is occasional black and white, while some color footage may be fading in patches.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo sound is fine for what it is, but simply does not offer any kind of Pro Logic surrounds and in some cases, like an awful remake of The Troggs’ classic Rock hit Wild Thing in the Mustang DVD we can all do without, especially in any kind of surround.  Either way, the performance is fine for its age and will not get in your way, as they are all well narrated just the same.  The one odd extra on all three DVDs are a DVD-ROM only feature that offers the script of the program on each respective disc to those interested.  This is odd, but what the Corvette and Mustang discs really needed was a new featurette to update their programs to fit their titles.  Why this was not done is odd, but these are all great, collectible DVDs and are available at an exceptionally low price that will make everyone happy.


For more on great cars, try these links:


Alfa Romeo



Aston Martin















Clarkson – Heaven & Hell




-   Nicholas Sheffo


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