One of the first pre-war sets I got was the 1938 Churchman’s Kings of Speed. It’s a fun set which captures a moment in time as it relates to how fast humans can travel. While much of the Churchman’s set involves athletes, there are also a decent number of drivers and pilots as well. Meanwhile there’s a great companion set, also from 1938, which has the exact same theme but features the planes, trains, and automobiles instead of the men who drove them.
This set is from Will’s cigarettes and is just named “Speed.” It’s got a lot of great artwork and is catnip for anyone who likes the look of 1930s industrial design as applied to transportation.* I like the way the vehicles are depicted in their environments and especially like the wide-angle view that shows up in the Mormon Meteor and Super Chief cards.
*Sadly no 20th Century Limited or Coast Daylight card though.
With a lot of the cards there’s not just the sense that the subject is moving fast, it’s also incredibly powerful to the point that it threatens to burst out of the card frame. There are a bunch of great-looking images (though I’m partial to the trains) but I only chose eight which show the breadth of the set coverage.
As an American the Santa Fe card is particularly great because it’s also one of the entry-level Bachmann Trains sets. A lot of the vehicles in the set look pretty dated but the Santa Fe engine is one I’ve been familiar with my entire life.
The backs tend to be very technical in how they include both under-the-hood information as well as streamlining details. I don’t have much to comment on besides to note that the Amtrak still operates the Chief and Zephyr lines. The Chief is much the same (though is 40+ hours instead of ~39) while the Zephyr now extends past Denver to California.
Definitely a fun set to have in the binder right after the Carreras Famous Airmen and Airwomen and I’m glad I picked it up at the end of last year.