Saturday, May 30, 2015

28 Classic US Cars - 1950's & 1960's

The Corvette C3, Cadillac Fleetwood, Cadillac Eldorado Coupe, Cadillac Coupe DeVille, Cadillac Series 61, Cadillac Series 63, DeSoto, Dodge Polara, Dodge Coronet, Plymouth DeLuxe, Ford Monterey, Ford Thunderbird, Ford Fairlane, Pontiac Catalina, Pontiac Bonneville, Chevrolet Bel Air, Chevrolet DeLuxe, Buick Wildcat, Buick Century Series 60, Buick Special, Oldsmobile Super 88 Holiday, Edsel Citation

The Cadillac Series 61 was the Cadillac family's basis model, which replaced the Series 60, built between 1936 and 1938, as reasonably priced model. Initially built only until 1940, some 5913 units of the primary variant of the Series 61 rolled off the belt. Throughout its entire period of making, the traditional American company Fisher Bodies supplied the car's body. In the model year 1940 the Series 61 was replaced by the Cadillac Series 62. Just a year later it was revived and replaced the suspended brand LaSalle, this way its own success story was continued. Even after World War II the Cadillac remained unaltered. Only in 1948 the model was given a new stylistic element, a tail fin inspired by the warplane Lockheed P-38. Eventually, the Series 61 was replaced by the Series 62 in 1951.

Plymouth DeLuxe. In 1946 the Plymouth Deluxe was the first Plymouth built after WW II. This model was supposed to revive the successful series, which had already been in existence from 1933 to 1942. Before the war the Deluxe replaced the Plymouth New Finer, in 1942 it was the company's best equipped model. Additionally, an even more luxurious Plymouth Special Deluxe was introduced to the market in 1941. Eventually, the last Deluxe was built in 1951 and was replaced by the Concord, the Cambridge and the Cranbrook.

Buick. In 1949 a new series of Buick Special was introduced. It featured a new body and was the first series entirely designed after World War II. In 1954 the Special was once more released with a completely new body, this time a ponton body. What is particularly striking about this design is the slight 'hip swing' in the rear part of the doors and the panorama windshield. The 1955 Special's look is characterized by the large 'shark mouth' front part and the then modern small tail fins. While the cubic capacity remained the same, the engine's output was increased to 188 hp. Until 1957 the Buick featured three of the famous VentiPorts on each side. The Buick 1958 came with a completely new appearance. The 'shark mouth' look had been changed to a grid across the car's entire width with double headlamps throning above it. The tail fins were huge and the rear doors and rear car wings had broad chromed side strips on them. The last model year of the Special did not undergo any technical changes. The following year it was replaced by the LeSabre. Over the five years of production some 1,265,605 units of the Series 40 were built.

DeSotoThe brand DeSoto was founded by Walter Chrysler in 1928, in order to compete in the medium price segment. Soon after the introduction of the model year 1952 a new 4.5 liter V8 engine called Fire Dome Eight was offered. In 1953 the model types Deluxe and Custom were abandoned. From then on the six cylinder models were called Powermaster Six and the V8 models Firedome 8. At the peak of their popularity the Firesweep, Firedome and Fireflite were De Soto's best selling models. The DeSoto Firedome was a large passenger car offered between 1952 and 1959. Its position, however, changed constantly in those seven years: During the first two years of production the Firedome was the brand's top model, in 1955 and 1956 it was the least expensive model, over the last three years it eventually occupied a mid position. The Firedome was introduced in 1953, shortly before the 25th birthday of DeSoto, it replaced the Custom, production of which had been suspended in 1952. The six-seater was available as 4-door sedan, as 5-door station wagon, as 2-door coupé or as 2-door convertible. In 1955 DeSoto abandoned the Powermaster with a six cylinder engine and produced the top model Fireflite instead, so that the Firedome with its V8 engine would serve as basis model from that point on. However, two years later the series was upgraded within the range of model types when DeSoto offered the Dodge-based, smaller Firesweep in 1957. Production of the Firedome ended in October 1959.

Chevrolet DeLuxeIn its second generation, introduced in 1953, the Chevrolet Deluxe was also called Series 210. The Two-Ten replaced the first generation and mainly differed in terms of optical modifications: The number of chrome teeth in the radiator grill was reduced to three, combined position- and indicator lights were integrated and small tail fins became manifest on its rear end. Production of hatchback- and hardtop models was stopped and the 5-door station wagon was available with 6 seats. In 1954 lights were removed from the radiator grill again. The convertible and the eight-seater station wagon were not available any longer. The two coupé models (sport and club) were combined and offered with the name Del Ray-Coupé. The output of the basis engine was enhanced to 115 hp, the Powerglide engine to 125 PS. Over two years the 210 was exactly built 1,173,043 times.

Oldsmobile Super 88In 1958 the Oldsmobile Series 88 was given the sobriquet Dynamic, along with a broader radiator grill and double head lamps. The rear mudguards are adorned with three decorative chromed stripes on each side, making for a washboard-like appearance. The series' number 88 references the car size and the number of cylinders

The Buick Century Series 60 was revived in 1954 and used the secret of success of its precursors: The smaller and more lightweight body of the Buick Special coupled with a strong high-torque V8 engine. The Century Series 60 was considered Buick's prime model in terms of performance. A performance that also convinced the California Highway Patrol, for whom the Buick had been the car of their choice since 1955, as it guaranteed its drivers to come out on top. In 1957 the Century's most characteristic stylistic elements - the tail fin and the "hip swing" at the rear wheel guard - were once more enlarged and made for an even more impressive appearance. Another stylistic element in line with contemporary trend was the integration of details from military aircrafts into the car's design. For the Buick it was the VentiPorts: Three to four valves at the front sides were supposed to improve the engines ventilation. Production of the Century was stopped in 1958 and it was replaced by the Buick LeSabre.

The Dodge Coronet was a large passenger car that Dodge made in the model years 1949 and 1959 and from 1965 to 1976. Just as its is the case with most American model names, Coronet was used as designation for the highest model class, just in order to describe the lowest model class in another type series. This is a Coronet from 1959, when the chassis frames for the models Coronet, Royal and Custom Royal were all made by the company DeSoto.

The Edsel Citation was built by Ford under the brand name Edsel only in the model year 1958. Just as the Edsel Corsair, the Citation was also based on the longer Edsel platform, which it had in common with Mercury vehicles. Together with Pacer, Citation was one of two Edsel model names that other automobile manufacturers would also use later on. The Citation was the most luxurious car in the range of Edsel models. The luxurious interior featured a revolutionary 'teletouch' automatic gear shift on the steering wheel, however, it disappeared again shortly after its introduction, because it caused too much trouble. Even though the introduction in autumn 1957 was accompanied by a great advertising campaign, sales figures were quite disappointing and production of the two Edsel models was stopped in the model year 1959. However, this rareness makes sure these models are so much sought-after.

The Ford Thunderbird, also called T-Bird, is considered a classic of American automobile engineering. It is a symbol of American automobile culture of the 1950s and 1960s. Its name is the longest used type designation in automobile and industrial history - comparable with the American icons Corvette and Mustang. Originally the Thunderbird was in direct competition with said Corvette and the V8 engine even put it ahead of its competitors. Unfortunately, the Thunderbird series became more and more common and the vehicle lost its reputation as technical and stylistic pioneer. The models made from 2002 to late 2005 were intended as homage to the original versions and tried to revive the spirit of one of the most legendary cars of its days.

Pontiac Bonneville. The name Bonneville was used for many Pontiac models. Introduced in 1957, it stood for an exclusive and powerful convertible. In 1958 Pontiac's top model was called Bonneville. Between 1970 and 1975 the Pontiac Grand Ville occupied the position above the Bonneville.

Pontiac Catalina. In 1959 Pontiac renamed its basis model Chieftain Catalina and gave the newcomer an entirely new look. The double headlamps, arranged side by side in a two-part radiator grill which has a center beam in the car's color between the hoof-shaped limitations which are directed against each other. The then omnipresent tail fins are a real eye-catcher, as they are attached to the car's side like wings. The Catalina was available as a 2- or 4-door sedan, 2- or 4-door hardtop model, 2-door convertible and as 5-door station wagon with six or nine seats. The car was driven by an overhead V8 engine with 90° cylinder angle and 6.375 ccm, making 180 kw. An enhanced version with 206 kw was also available. In 1960 the Catalina was slightly revised: The two-part hoof-shaped grill was replaced by a grill with horizontal chrome bars. The engines still had the same size and an output between 158 and 208 kw. Between 1958 and 1981 a total of 3.76 million units of the Catalina were built.

Oldsmobile Super 88 HolidayFrom 1951 to 1964 models of the Super 88 series featured a combination of the Series 88 body and the larger engine of the Series 98, accordingly, they offered a unique driving experience. In 1959 the style of the Oldsmobile cars, including the Super 88, was completely worked over. The tail fin reached its biggest size and the broad radiator grill had double headlamps with position lamps in between. The hood is slightly lowered in the middle. Just as it was the case with the 98, the Super 88 also had a bigger engine with 315 hp. The two-door sedan was not sold any longer.

The Cadillac Coupe DeVille is the prototype of American road cruisers. Hardly any other vehicle has been referred to in popular culture, in song titles or in movies as often as this car. Especially the DeVille Series 63, worked over in early 1959, embodies American lifestyle like no other car does. The covered rear wheels, the pointed tail fins and the rocket-shaped rear lights strike at once. The rear lights on the rear bumper call reminiscence of rocket nozzles, which are stylistic elements characteristic of Futurism. In 1960 some of these extravagant details gave way to more conventional forms: The rocket-shaped rear lights were replaced by more sensible vertical ones. However, the alterations did not stop the fascination for the Cadillac Coupe DeVille, which both young and old still feel today.

Ford Fairlane. With the name Fairlane Ford introduced its best equipped model range on the American market in the model year 1955. The Fairlane was available as sedan, coupé and convertible, as well as with a six or an eight cylinder engine. Its panorama windshield, the standard tail fins and the striking bi-color paintwork exactly matched popular taste of this epoch. From 1957 to 1959 Ford offered the Fairlane as convertible: On the one hand with a common cloth roof with the type designation Sunliner, on the other hand with a then extremely sophisticated foldable hardtop - the Fairlane Skyliner. In 1959 the Fairlane lost its top position and the Ford Galaxy would henceforth be the company's ultimate model.

DeSotoThe brand DeSoto was founded by Walter Chrysler in 1928, in order to compete in the medium price segment. Soon after the introduction of the model year 1952 a new 4.5 liter V8 engine called Fire Dome Eight was offered. In 1953 the model types Deluxe and Custom were abandoned. From then on the six cylinder models were called Powermaster Six and the V8 models Firedome 8. The Firedome was introduced in 1953, shortly before the 25th birthday of DeSoto, it replaced the Custom, production of which had been suspended in 1952. The six-seater was available as 4-door sedan, as 5-door station wagon, as 2-door coupé or as 2-door convertible. In 1955 DeSoto abandoned the Powermaster with a six cylinder engine and produced the top model Fireflite instead, so that the Firedome with its V8 engine would serve as basis model from that point on. However, two years later the series was upgraded within the range of model types when DeSoto offered the Dodge-based, smaller Firesweep in 1957. Production of the Firedome ended in October 1959.

DeSoto. The first generation of the DeSoto Fireflite, introduced to the market in 1955, found its spot in the product range above the DeSoto Firedome. Several versions of the Fireflite were available: a convertible, a two-door coupé and a four-door sedan were produced. Until the following year the Fireflite was the brand's top model, in 1957 the new Adventurer took this spot. The Fireflite embodied the "100-Million-Dollar-Look", introduced by the automobile designer Virgil "Ex" Exnerm, which gave the 1955 Fireflite its extravagant appearance. This 'design philosophy' was slightly reduced in the entire Chrysler company in 1956 and 1957 and was henceforth called 'Forward Look' which was also designed by Virgil Exner. The Fireflite owed his straight-lined and pointed tail fins to this design - according to the advertising campaign, they were supposed to provide increased stability when going high speed. However, the tail fins actually did not impact the handling at all. A golden-white Fireflite convertible was even used as official Pace Car for the legendary Indianapolis-500 race in 1956. In the following, DeSoto made around a hundred replicas of this model. 1960 was the Fireflite's last year. For the model year 1961 DeSoto abandoned all type classifications and just called the cars DeSoto.

Chevrolet Bel AirIn 1958 the first model series of the Bel Air underwent an optical modification, giving the model from this year an entirely new facelift. The six cylinder models were called Series 1700 and had the in-line engine with 3,859 ccm from its precursor model. Six different V8 models were available in the Series 1800: The basis engine had 4,638 ccm, with 4,600 rpm it had an output of 185 hp (136 kw). Just like the preceding model, two sedans with two or four doors, a two-door hardtop coupé and a four-door hardtop sedan were offered. Instead of the single headlamps, as the previous model featured, it now had double headlamps. Due to the large number of different bodies and models, the Bel Air from 1958 was available with all extras and luxury features from the entire range of Chevrolet offers.

The Cadillac Coupe DeVille is the prototype of American road cruisers. Hardly any other vehicle has been referred to in popular culture, in song titles or in movies as often as this car. Especially the DeVille Series 63, worked over in early 1959, embodies American lifestyle like no other car does. The covered rear wheels, the pointed tail fins and the rocket-shaped rear lights strike at once. The rear lights on the rear bumper call reminiscence of rocket nozzles, which are stylistic elements characteristic of Futurism. In 1960 some of these extravagant details gave way to more conventional forms: The rocket-shaped rear lights were replaced by more sensible vertical ones. However, the alterations did not stop the fascination for the Cadillac Coupe DeVille, which both young and old still feel today.

Cadillac. The sky is the limit", something to this effect could have been the motto of the Cadillac Series 62, especially when taking the model series' long history into account. The Series 62 was introduced in 1939 and replaced the Series 61 - the by then least expensive model from Cadillac's model range. The 62 lost this status two years later when Cadillac's sister brand LaSalle disappeared from the market. The Cadillac Series 61 was reintroduced and classified into the Series 62. After production of the model continued in unaltered form after World War II, the Series 62 - just as it was the case with all Cadillacs in those days - got its first tail fins. In the 50s the range of models was extended: The models Coupe DeVille, Sedan DeVille and the Cadillac Eldorado (which was continued as independent series a little later), based on the body of the Series 62, were accompanied by an Extended Deck version as well as by the Town Sedan four-doorer. In the 1950s the Series 62 embodied an American lifestyle characterized by material wealth and a strong belief in a positive future. Exorbitant dimensions and stylistic elements modeled on aircrafts and rockets stood for the American expansion into space, which should also show in American automobile engineering. As of the model year 1965, after a total of 26 years, the Series 62 was replaced by the Cadillac Calais.

Cadillac Series 63The sky is the limit" something to this effect could have been the motto of the Cadillac Series 63, especially when taking the type series' long history into account. In the 50s the model range was extended, the models Coupe DeVille, Sedan DeVille, the Cadillac Eldorado (a little later continued as independent series), all based on the body of the Series 63, were accompanied by the Extended Deck version and the Town Sedan four-doorer. The Series 63 embodies a new American lifestyle in the 50s characterized by material wealth and a strong belief in a positive future. Exorbitant dimensions and stylistic elements modeled on aircrafts and rockets stood for the American expansion into space, which should also show in American automobile engineering. As of the model year 1965, after a total of 26 years, the Series 63 was replaced by the Cadillac Calais.

The Ford Thunderbird, also called T-Bird, is considered a classic of American automobile engineering. It is a symbol of America in the 1950s and 1960s. Its name is the longest used type designation in automobile and industrial history - comparable with the American icons Corvette and Mustang. Originally the Thunderbird was in direct competition with said Corvette and the V8 engine even put it ahead of its competitors. Unfortunately, the Thunderbird series became more and more common and the vehicle lost its reputation as technical and stylistic pioneer. The models made from 2002 to late 2005 were intended as homage to the original versions and tried to revive the spirit of one of the most legendary cars of its days.

The Buick Wildcat began its career in 1962. Initially as sub series of the Buick Invicta, from which it differed with its single seats, the center console with rev counter, a vinyl rooftop and a special decor stripe at its side. What makes the Wildcat so unmistakable is the own logo: A stylized head of a cat of prey. In 1963 the Wildcat became emancipate as an own series and replaced the Invicta. The product range was increased by a four-door hardtop sedan, a two-door convertible and a five-door station wagon. In 1964 a four-door sedan with center pillar was introduced; the station wagon was abandoned, a year later only two trim lines were available: Standard and Custom. In the model year 1965 the Deluxe was introduced in order to fill in the center position. Between 1966 and 1969 the Standard line (with details from the 1965 Wildcat Deluxe generation) and Custom line were available again. Additionally, the performance-enhancing Gran Sport Performance Group Package was offered in the model year 1966. The Wildcat, sold only as Custom during the two last years of its production, was replaced by the Centurion in early 1971.

Ford MontereyAs of autumn 1951 the Monterey was an inherent part of the range of Mercury models and was produced until autumn 1974. Between 1951 and 1954 the Monterey was Mercury's top model, the Mercury Custom was the basis model. In 1955/1956 it was positioned between the Mercury Medalist and the Montclair, in 1957 it was the basis model. In 1961 and 1962 it again became the top model, ahead of the Mercury Comet. In the model year 1963 all big Mercury models went by the name Monterey.

The Cadillac Coupe DeVille is the prototype of American road cruisers. Hardly any other car has been referenced so often in pop culture, songs and films. In spring 1965 the Coupe DeVille was completely revised: The large tail fins were replaced disappeared and were replaced by smaller vertical ones, the body's rounded line had to give way to a clearer, more edgy style. It also had a new rear bumper face bar and tall, longish rear lights. In its front the double headlamps, arranged side by side were replaced by lamps arranged on top of one another, this way the radiator grill got even wider and more brawny.

Dodge PolaraIn 1965 Chrysler offered the model Dodge Polara, introduced in 1960, for the first time with the large Chrysler-C chassis frame, which it had in common with other Chrysler and Plymouth models. In the production range the Monaco was the top model in those days, the following year it got its own model series. Between 1965 and 1970 the Dodge was the only large car in the U.S.A. that was also available as convertible. A constant feature of models from between 1965 and 1968 was the edgy style that changed from year to year, in order to make sure the cars always looked new. In 1968 it became clear that especially the large Dodge models needed a fresher, more modern look. This led to a new philosophy in the Dodge company, a philosophy to which all future models became subject.

Cadillac Eldorado Coupe. In 1966 Cadillac presented the new Eldorado coupé, it had the front-wheel drive in common with the sister model Oldsmobile Toronado. The type was a long-running model and was part of the Cadillac program in five generations until 2003.

The four-seater coupé is characterized by its remarkably accurate edges for which the designer Bill Mitchell was responsible. The Eldorado largely owes its immediate market success to this clear design. The rear window with a 'center buckle' was very typical for the first three model years, as well as the so-called pop-up headlights: covered headlamps behind movable panels. This Eldorado Fleetwood Coupe from 1969 is recognizable as such by said rear window. Other striking features are the yellow paintwork and the comfortable silver interior of cloth and leather.

Cadillac FleetwoodThe model name Fleetwood is derived from the company name Fleetwood Metal Body Co., a formerly highly acknowledged independent maker of car bodies, that had made special luxury custom bodies before World War II. The Fisher Body Company bought the enterprise and together they went into the ownership of General Motors. Fleetwood became increasingly responsible for upscale features for the Fisher bodies made for the Cadillacs. In the model year 1971 Cadillac introduced the second Eldorado generation, which seemed quite bulky for its bellied shape and the coverings of the rear wheel arches. The cars offer so much space that the front bench easily sits three people. In summer 1976 Cadillac produced the last Eldorado convertible and thus the last remaining U.S. convertible of all.

The Corvette C3 was introduced as the third Corvette generation in autumn 1967 and was built until autumn 1982. Between 1969 and 1976 the model carried the world famous designation 'Stingray', which it also featured as lettering. The C3 was one of the most successful Corvette models ever. Its production period was between September 1967 and October 1982. A total of 542,861 Corvette C3 were built, among them 70,586 convertibles, which were built only between 1967 and 1975. The best production year in the history of the Corvette, 1979 with exactly 53,807 units, was during the era of the C3-Corvette.