Last post on Apr 05, 2010 at 12:57 PM
You are in the Classic Cars
What is this discussion about?
Automotive News, Classic Cars, Coupe, Convertible, Truck, Sedan, Wagon
Apr 04, 2010 (7:42 am)
I sort of look at '59 cars as evolutionary models, crawling out of the muck and slime of 1958 but still not quite fully out of mutant status. The '59s have many very nice styling elements but the silly fins on most of them really push the cars into parody and excess. They are forever doomed to ridicule and snickering, even if we celebrate the excess. We can gawk at an overweight Elvis in his sequins, and honor his accomplishments, but we know he's not the man he used to be.
#387 of 405 Re: well.... [Mr_Shiftright]
Apr 04, 2010 (8:47 am)
I sort of look at '59 cars as evolutionary models, crawling out of the muck and slime of 1958 but still not quite fully out of mutant status.
Yes! Exactly so. I'm still amazed that it only took two model years to exit the tailfin era.
#388 of 405 Re: well.... [fezo]
Apr 04, 2010 (9:32 am)
I always wondered how 57 could be such a good year for auto styling and then it so quickly trashed in 58? I guess that was the appropriate year for the intoduction of Edsel. The nicely styled 57 Ford became overstyled in 58 with a way too big looking booty. Whether you liked them or not, the 58 Chevy was kind of interesting for its time and the Impala became a bit of an icon. But the Olds and Buick - sheesh, it was like a young New Jersey tart got her first make up kit and troweled herself into a whore.
I think 59/60 may have gone beyond evolutionary into a weird dream or something. Its interesting that neither outgoing Harley Earl, nor incoming Bill Mitchell took credit for those beasts. Of course, Ford only outsold the 59 Chevy because it was too extreme for many buyers. The 59 Ford wasn't really a looker. It had a boxy front end, too thick of a greenhouse on the sedans and a bit strange rear end. The 59 Plymouth was maybe the best of the truncated finned 59 Mopars, although there were mixed feelings about its fake wheel embossed into the trunk lid. The 60 just odd, but unfortunately would become the good looking one when its 61 sister came out.
Apr 04, 2010 (9:58 am)
This tail fin styling was the response to jet aircraft development as well as possible the UFO/Sci-Fi craze, and Americans rejection of the past and their yearning for the future--for "futuristic" things, like flying cars and all-electric kitchens, etc.
Auto styling is also a cultural phenomenon as you know. By 1960, jets were common in the skies, and the media had been pretty relentless in making fun of styling excess.
#390 of 405 Re: well.... [berri]
Apr 04, 2010 (10:46 am)
I think 1961 is also an interesting styling year...it really bridges the gap between the flamboyant excessive 50s and the relatively clean and modern 60s. Most cars from that year have elements of both.
#391 of 405 Re: well.... [fintail]
by MrShift@Edmunds HOST
Apr 04, 2010 (11:02 am)
Here's my glib view of American car styling in those days:
1955-57 -- Coming into the Modern Age
1958-59 -- A Brief Descent into Madness
1960-63 -- Age of Reconstruction & Experimentation
1964-1971 -- 2nd Golden Age (1st being early to mid 30s)
1972--1985 -- Loss of Faith/ Detroit in Retreat
1985-1995 -- Rocky V (or IV or VI)
1996--present Brave New World
#392 of 405 Re: well.... [Mr_Shiftright]
Apr 04, 2010 (12:46 pm)
1996--present Brave New World
I think I'd call it "Been There, Done That, Got the T-shirt". That's about the time retro started becoming the in-thing. Round headlights made a comeback with cars like the Neon and some Benz models. The Dodge Ram went for a retro look that combined the 50's with a bit of big-rig thrown in, and suddenly became a serious contender for Chevy and Ford for what was probably the first time in history. The New Beetle came out. Then cars started getting taller, shorter, and boxier, like how they were in the late 40's/early 50's. Then we got the likes of the PT Cruiser, HHR, SSR, the retro Mustang, and a dusting off of old names like "Charger", "Impala", "300C", the rebirth of the Challenger, and then the Camaro.
I think the cars are advancing very quickly when it comes to the technology involved, complexity, reliability, etc. But style-wise, it's pretty much been baby steps ever since the mid 80's. And in many cases, it's been a step back.
#393 of 405 Re: well.... [andre1969]
Apr 04, 2010 (2:39 pm)
"And in many cases, it's been a step back."
I couldn't agree more. It amazes me whey an entire lineup of cars get restyled, with one, two, or more turning from swans to dogs...here are my grades for several brands recent restyles:
Audi A-, like the new ones, except those LEDs in the headlights I'm not sure about
BMW A-, get 'most improved', but the new 5 and 7 aren't very distinctive
Ford A, they're on a roll
GM B, mixed bag bad (GMC Terraine) with the good (Chevy Malibu)
Honda D, from mediocre (Accord) to poor (CRV, Crosstour)
Acura F, not a good looker among them, they inherit the 'what were they thinking' award from BMW
Toyota C, some OK (Camry), some not so hot (new SUVs)
Lexus C, would have been better before the HS
Edit - I almost left off two of my favorites:
Hyundai B, OK overall but I'm no fan of the new Sonata
Kia A+, some of their new ones near 'best in class' in terms of styling.
#394 of 405 Re: well.... [texases]
Apr 04, 2010 (4:55 pm)
Compared to the 2009 Jag XJ8, the 2011 comes out with a beautious design.