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I spotted an (insert obscure car name here) classic car today!

19409419439459461099

Comments

  • bhill2bhill2 Posts: 1,406
    Now contemplate, if you will, the Corvair. I can't remember where the gas tank exactly was, but the filler was about 6 inches in front of the driver's door so the tank was up there somewhere. It was a potent incentive to not rear-end the car in front of you.

    2009 BMW 335i, 2003 Corvette cnv, 2001 Jaguar XK cnv, 1985 MB 380SE (the best of the lot)

  • bhill2bhill2 Posts: 1,406
    the Falcon was probably looking pretty ancient by '63, and it couldn't have gone on another year with that rounded body.

    I suspect that they couldn't put a V-8 into the 60-'63 body without major structural reinforcement. The V-8 debuted in the Falcon along with the '64 body.

    2009 BMW 335i, 2003 Corvette cnv, 2001 Jaguar XK cnv, 1985 MB 380SE (the best of the lot)

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,152
    I suspect that they couldn't put a V-8 into the 60-'63 body without major structural reinforcement. The V-8 debuted in the Falcon along with the '64 body

    Hmm, I hadn't thought about that. Was the '64 really that structurally different, though? I thought it was just a facelift? And, I was always under the impression that Ford made their smallblock as small as they did, specifically so it would fit in the compact cars?

    IIRC, a V-8 also wouldn't fit in the engine bay, initially, of the '63-66 era Valiant/Dart. I think they had to modify the engine bay in '64 to accommodate it. The 273 "LA" V-8 wasn't particularly small compared to a Chevy or Ford smallblock, but it was fairly light, at least.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,555
    The V8 was introduced in the Falcon line for the '63 model year.

    I was always surprised that until midyear '63, you couldn't even get a V8 in a Rambler Classic, yet an American. In fact, you couldn't even get a Classic or Ambassador hardtop in '63. I do think it's a good basic bodystyle though.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,338
    Saw a Fiat 2000 Spider and a Mercury Topaz this afternoon.
  • bhill2bhill2 Posts: 1,406
    The V8 was introduced in the Falcon line for the '63 model year.

    I am not doing well today. When I cast my mind back I remember seeing the V-8 symbol on '63 Sprints. I made the mistake of looking in a brochure in the Old Car Manual Project web site and seeing only sixes offered. The brochure must have been from earlier in the year. Oh well, so goes my theory.

    2009 BMW 335i, 2003 Corvette cnv, 2001 Jaguar XK cnv, 1985 MB 380SE (the best of the lot)

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,990
    jay Leno has a '63 Sprint. You can see it on YouTube. Naturally, internally modified to resemble the Ford Monte Carlo Rally cars.

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  • berriberri Posts: 4,275
    1958-63 was not a high point in styling for American cars by any stretch of the imagination. There were some exceptions, but as an "era", not so good

    In all fairness, that assessment probably varies based on your perspective and reference points though. It was certainly an era where style changes (planned obsolescence) and customer excitement peaked. Model line changes, or at least noticeable updates meant consumers got curious about those dealer fenced off new car holding areas each fall and the soaped windows before model introductions tended to bring in the buyers. For example, in that relatively short period of time the Ford Thunderbird went from a two-seater to the Squarebird to the Bulletbird to the more formal 64 models in the fall of 63. The Big 3 certainly offered a lot of styling variation as well. A 61 Plymouth looked worlds different from a 61 Chevy or the relatively conservative 61 Ford. Same went for a Chrysler versus a Buick or Mercury. In 60/61 the Big 3 went seriously into compacts, followed shortly thereafter by intermediates whether by design at Ford (Fairlane) or by accident or screw up at Chrysler (downsized Fury and Polara).

    Personally, I liked all the differences and excitement back then. Granted, with that much change going on some of the models came off poorly, but many were quite nice looking as well. Consider a 61 or 62 GM bubble top, a 61/62 Lincoln Continental, or a 63 Riviera for example. The 63 Stingray was a head turner when it came out. Virgil Exner certainly created excitement and attention, albeit at both ends of the bell curve sometimes! I think Bill Mitchell is still one of the best designers in postwar American automobiles. Admittedly, most of the cars during that frame of reference probably didn't match the art and design success of many 57 or 65's and they certainly weren't decades earlier Pierce Arrows, Packards, or Cords - but they were produced and priced where the masses could afford them. I'll bet there are a lot of auto executives that would like to have that era back again!

    But I will give you that someone who lived through that era may well have a different opinion than someone younger looking back at those models. Nostalgia and association can affect attitude, but I'm trying to be objective about it. Ironically, I think some of the younger generation at old car shows are taken in a bit by some of the more extreme designs at old car shows. Observing, it seems like some of them look past a model we old timers might consider a classic, like a 63 Impala, and focus instead on something like a 60 Dodge or 58 Edsel. Maybe its the creative Asian Anime influence! Regardless of individual opinions though, it's fun stuff.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,990
    well sure depends on what you're looking at, which is why I used the word "era" (I think I did anyway).

    There were a handful of nice looking cars but generally the styling was, as you say, very offensive to contemporary eyes---we all knew when to hold our noses in other words, and when to applaud.

    I myself prefer styling that is harmonious. I don't like outrageous "birthday cake" designs---it's a cheap way to get attention and it ages badly.

    I think 58-63 was the Spinal Tap of car design :P

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  • berriberri Posts: 4,275
    I won't be around, but I sure wonder how today's cars (and trucks!) will be viewed 50 years from now? There is a lot of "Audi" sameness in so many models. Many of them look nice, but can lack differentiation. Actually, in that respect it reminds me a bit of the early 50's, although I think the big difference there is that you could pretty easily tell GM from Ford Motors from Chrysler Motors products in the early 50's, whereas today sometimes the different manufacturers product line ups can look similar to others. Ironically, I have the same attitude toward airliners. I like the old propliners and early jetliners better than a 747 or Airbus. Like cars, the latter are better equipment, but they just lack the panache or something of the past. Sometimes it's just hard to separate the heart from the brain I suppose (the old business school quant head versus poet syndrome)! Looking at the old liveries and uniforms can be as telling on culture and societal changes as looking at old cars and their ads and brochures.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,152
    I think 58-63 was the Spinal Tap of car design

    Maybe if you want to generalize. But, for 1958, I thought Chrysler was a bit late to the ugly party. Their cars were simply mild facelifts of the successful 1957 lineup, and in some cases (Imperial, Dodge, Plymouth), I think were actually an improvement over their '57 counterparts! A '58 Chevy's not a bad looking car, and I don't think a Pontiac or Caddy is, either, although the Caddy was a bit heavy-handed compared to '57. And, I know I'm in the minority here, but I actually prefer the '58 Ford to the '57!

    '59 was the year it all bottomed out, but even here, I think there were some decent looking cars. The Pontiac, Olds, Mercury, Desoto, and Chrysler weren't too bad looking. The Chevy was kinda wild. Ford was heavy-handed, but that T-bird inspired look was really popular. The Plymouth was looking a bit out there, like they didn't know what do do to facelift the '57 body.

    By '60, Ford and GM were starting to tone it down. So were Chrysler and Desoto and Dodge, but I have no idea what they were thinking, with the '60 Plymouth. My theory is they made it look ugly on purpose so people would pay a few extra bucks for a Dodge!

    By '61, GM and Ford were getting downright tasteful, but Chrysler, again late to follow a trend, decided to make 1961 their equivalent of GM's 1959!

    I think GM really hit their stride by '62-63. Fords and Lincolns were attractive for the most part, if conservative in some cases. However, sometimes it seemed like they didn't know what to do with Mercury. Whereas GM could make you see that a Pontiac, Olds, or Buick was a step above a Chevy, often a Mercury just looked, well, different, but not necessarily upscale, from a Ford.

    Chrysler was starting to have the same problem with Dodge and Plymouth, which were starting to become parallels of each other, rather than Dodge being a step up.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,990
    Well some people like Elvis paintings done on velvet, or George Kincade, and this is their constitutional right, but there are basic principles to styling that I think should be met by anyone claiming to be a designer.

    Everything on a car should be there for a reason.

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  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,152
    True, but I don't think that everything was utter chaos in 1963 and then in '64 it was suddenly rainbows, lollipops, and unicorn farts.
  • berriberri Posts: 4,275
    but there are basic principles to styling that I think should be met by anyone claiming to be a designer.

    In general I don't disagree with that thought, but perhaps we might differ a bit on what those "principles" are. I think you're hitting the meat of the bell curve in that concept. However, like inventors, the truly great and remembered designers are those who can go beyond that box and differentiate (the edges of the bell curve so to speak). Of course that means failures and great successes sometimes. I think Exner hit it in 57 and swung and missed in 61, but he's remembered. Many stylists are not, even if their work was successful. Now Bill Mitchell had far more hits than misses (and he's a favorite of mine), but Harley Earl was a leader in implementing automotive design so he probably gets more recognition in the history books.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,990
    Well sure there is "vitality", even if misplaced vitality, but then there is chaos, ugliness, laziness and inattention to function.

    A car is, after all, a CAR---the design should have a basic intelligence. If the back half of the car has no relation to the front half, that is not intelligent. It might be "fun", or "outrageous" or "so bad it's good", but it's not intelligent.

    If just "getting attention" was a sign of talent, god knows who we would call intelligent on TV. :surprise:

    EXAMPLE:

    First, HARMONY:

    image

    Second: CHAOS:

    image

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,990

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  • stickguystickguy Posts: 15,676
    no idea of the trans, but there is one of those at a house just outside my neighborhood. pretty sure that year.

    guy has a number of old cars none of which look all that nice. Some 50s Mopar, a 73ish Barracuda, the t Bird, and a couple others under cheap tarps that I am not sure what they are.

    2015 Hyundai Sonata 2.4i Limited Tech (mine), 2013 Acura RDX (wife's) and 2007 Volvo S40 (daughters college car)

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,990

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,990
    A 59 T-Bird with "3 on the tree" is pretty rare.

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  • bhill2bhill2 Posts: 1,406
    A 59 T-Bird with "3 on the tree" is pretty rare.

    And with overdrive, yet. Actually that would be kind of a kick. Probably gets comparatively good highway mileage (note the use of the term 'comparatively'). I am assuming that it has power steering. Otherwise, dealing with the steering and the stick would be kind of gnarly.

    2009 BMW 335i, 2003 Corvette cnv, 2001 Jaguar XK cnv, 1985 MB 380SE (the best of the lot)

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,990
    Hmm...might not have PS--usually a lux car with a stick shift means a 'stripper' .

    That would be bad. :(

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  • bhill2bhill2 Posts: 1,406
    Yup, and PS was indeed an option.

    2009 BMW 335i, 2003 Corvette cnv, 2001 Jaguar XK cnv, 1985 MB 380SE (the best of the lot)

  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,555
    I do agree on the '59 Ford...to me it's almost cartoonish.

    I know you don't like Avantis, but I have a factory video of a '64 Avanti passing a base-level '59 Ford on a highway outside of Chicago and the Ford looks like it was much older than five model years older than the Avanti. Different types of cars, I realize.

    That said, there are quite a few '58-63 cars I think are handsome. I do put a big divide between '64 and '65 though as it seems like a lot of mainstream cars were redesigned for '65.
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,208
    Geeze, two classics immediately come to mind for 1963:

    Buick Riviera
    Corvette Sting Ray
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,152
    To me, a '59 Ford looks a bit like it's stuck in transition, between the late 50's and early 60's. While features such as the wraparound windshield, headlights above the grille, fins, and heavy-handed chromework still give it off as a 50's design, it still looks like they were trying to square it off and tone it down a bit, a hint of things to come in the 60's.

    In contrast, I think of a '59 Chevy as a 60's car that hasn't totally shaken off its 50's excesses yet. And, the fact that the design lasted through 1964, just toned down a bit each year, seems to support that idea.

    Meanwhile, a '59 Plymouth just seems like it's still stuck in the 50's to me. It's like they took what had been modern and futuristic looking in 1957, and decided to out-do that, but unfortunately that wasn't really what the public wanted anymore.

    If I was forced to choose between a '59 Chevy, Ford, or Plymouth, I don't know which way I'd go. I'm not really a fan of any of them, although each one does have a few things I like. I kinda like the formal, upscale look of the Ford, although at the same time, I do find it a bit heavy-handed and fussy from some angles. I like the sleek, lowness of the '59 Chevy, but just not some of the excessive details. And the Plymouth, I like the overall shape, but just don't like the frenched headlights, the garish, two-piece eggcrate grill, or the "toilet seat" fake tire hump on the decklid.

    If I was a new car buyer in '59, I think I'd just try to save up a few more bucks and splurge on a Pontiac, Olds, Mercury, or DeSoto.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,555
    If I was forced to choose between a '59 Chevy, Ford, or Plymouth, I don't know which way I'd go.

    I'd just buy one of these instead:

    http://www.flickriver.com/photos/8490341@N04/2064108390/

    If I HAD to buy a '59 Chevy, Ford, or Plymouth, I'd probably buy a non-white, non-red, non-black, factory two-tone '59 Impala Sport Coupe. But I wouldn't be totally happy doing so. ;)
  • tjc78tjc78 JerseyPosts: 5,025
    Saw one of these beasts last night in a light blue color. I'm pretty sure I've seen it before, there can't be two of them running around south Jersey. I'm not even sure what the proper name is. I think it said Apache on the side, which makes sense.

    image

    1999 Chevy S10 / 2004 Merc Grand Marquis / 2012 Buick LaCrosse

  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,555
    That's a '61 Chevy Apache panel truck. The inserts in the 'cats eyes' are different between the '60 and '61.

    I think those are durable trucks but of no great styling integrity. I think everybody else's trucks of that period were better-looking. Just MHO of course.
  • berriberri Posts: 4,275
    Looking at Shifty's pix, I think he's a bit of a minimalist in his styling preferences. I doubt he has any Picasso hanging on his walls! I think one of the things that contributes to that 59 Ford view is that often squared off C pillars and long deck lids can look a bit out of balance, particularly in two doors. In the 58-63 time period, I think I liked the 60 Ford the least. It was like two cars. the front part was decent, but the back was odd. It had those goofy, truncated finlets and then the elongated half moon tail lights with inverted images embossed into the fender (which owners frequently filled in with red reflector tape that didn't really enhance it). Throw in that bulbous rear window on the lesser Fairlane models and Wuuf! I think the more squared off C pillar and smaller rear glass on the Galaxie worked better. IIRC Fintail liked the 60 Ford wagon. It was the last Big 3 wagon to still have a two piece tailgate, but it probably worked better on that particular design than a squared off roll down window one piece would have. I suspect back then though that Ford made the decision based on cost rather than aesthetics. I think the wagon looked better than the sedan too, but the Starliner coupe is probably a collector favorite. As for 59's, I'd go Chevy. My favorite Ford for of that era is the 63, although I know some don't like the tail light and rear fender interface. I think the FOMOCO's that had many less than attractive model years during that period is actually Mercury. If a Ford guy puts down a 59/60 Chevy, all the Chevy guy has to do is pull out a pix of a say 60 Merc and say "checkmate"!
  • jljacjljac Posts: 649
    I do agree on the '59 Ford...to me it's almost cartoonish.

    I agree. I think that the '59 Ford was the worst looking Ford produced during the 20 years following WWII. A guy on our block had a pink and white hardtop retractable convertible. It was horrible. The trunk looked massive - like a big, white food freezer we had in our basement. From the side it looked like a pick up truck (or El Camino).

    I thought that the 1960 was the best looking Ford of that era and 1958 was second best. Many don't like the 1958 Fords, but I did and still do, especially the hardtop. They seemed to be related to the Thunderbird of the same year. All the other Fords were OK with me, some quite nice, but the '59 s were "da woist."
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