Daily Features

NOVEMBER 8, 2013: WAS 1959 THE MOST SPECTACULAR YEAR FOR FIFTIES AUTOMOTIVE STYLE?

By on November 8, 2013
59-bimgp7496-001

59-bimgp7496-001

 

The 1950s were an incredible decade for cars because it began with the shoebox look of cars like the ’50 Ford or Merc and ended with the Jetsons look of Exner Mopars and Cadillacs.

 

Was 1959 the pinnacle of 50s automotive style?

 

 

59-imgp5816

 

The last year of the rock and roll decade was a goldmine for major events. It began with a bearded guy named Fidel Castro in a country called Cuba. He took over a tropical paradise and turned it into a communist paradise overnight.

 

The cool part was that his adventures in political upheaval left a lot of 1959 American iron in a Caribbean time warp that lives to this day.

 

 

American Pie was a song about “the day the music died” and that precise day was February 3 1959 when Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and The Big Bopper died in a plane crash.

 

Lee Petty won the first Daytona 500 in a ’59 Olds before he switched to Plymouths later that year and the Soviet Union sent Luna 1 past the moon in the first man-made object to leave Earth’s orbit.

 

59-imgp5686

 

The Space Race was real in 1959 and the cars reflected this emphasis on all things chromed and finned. The fin craze peaked with the Mount Everest-sized 1959 Cadillac rear stabilizers.

 

59-imgp5489

 

Prior to this pinnacle year in the history of 50s fins there was a guy named Virgil Exner and he was solidly behind the jet-age look at Chrysler.

 

59-imgp8875

 

Dodge, Plymouth, DeSoto and Imperial had some of the most spectacular lines in the history of North American cars under Exner’s watch.

 

59-imgp3182

 

1959 was a more refined look for Exner fin cars but the tradition of all things push-button and ready to launch continued in Mopar world.

 

59-imgp2319

 

General Motors was definitely in the space-age game and it was reflected in some of the coolest rides to ever come out of the gate at GM. The ’59 Impala was a great example of how far you could go with a completely re-skinned look in the fifties.

 

59-imgp1623

 

Olds retained its understated (in 1959 terms) cool factor with a long, low and wide definitive turnpike super star.

 

59-abimgp6108-001

 

Oldsmobile cousins like Pontiac and Buick also had their own distinctive look in an automotive era that had legendary individuality from bumper to bumper.

 

59-imgp5815

 

Ford also brought the “A game” in 1959 in the Mercury division after the 1st Gen Turnpike Cruiser era ended because these next-Gen Mercs were lower, wider and a little more refined.

 

59-imgp5683

 

The bread and butter Ford line kept the retractable hardtop option and added some giant taillights to the package. There were a few more distinctly ’59 touches to the entry-level Fords so they kept right up with the competition.

 

59-imgp5849

 

Last, but certainly not least was the Rambler line at American Motors. They didn’t have the same kind of financial clout at AMC but they certainly kept pace with the Big Three.

 

59-imgp8829

 

The biggest thing about 1959 was that it was the last year Detroit went flat-out in styling because the next year produced milder versions of the previous year. They knew that the 60s were destined to leave the 50s behind for a more functional design so excess would give way to cleaner, non-finned cars.

 

59-imgp2949

 

That’s a travesty because there wasn’t an automotive era that defined change and optimism more than the 50s. The pre-war styling shackles were tossed away and replaced with designs that reflected a new age of jet-age travel and rocket ships.

 

 

1959 was the last, best year of an incredible decade.

 

Jerry Sutherland

Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter

Follow us on Pinterest

print

3492 Total Views 1 Views Today

About admin

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Facebook

Featured Ads

Rear View Mirror

apr12-rickimgp1745-002

APRIL 6, 2012: THE STORY BEHIND ONE GUY’S REMARKABLE BARN FINDS–THEY WERE NEVER LOST

  Rick Hartley is a hard-working owner/operator of a trucking operation who is also a heart and soul car guy.   The trouble for Rick is that the car...

April 6, 2012 View more...
apr1157chevyaimgp2436-1

APRIL 3, 2011: STAR TRUCKIN’: 1957 CHEVY-THE TRUCK CHOICE FOR TRI-FIVE CAR GUYS

  GM tended to lead the styling pack in the mid-50s and nowhere was that more evident than the 1955 Chevrolet pickup. This truck pointed the direction for the...

April 3, 2011 View more...
my star year imgp9670

APRIL 28, 2010: OUR FIRST ANNIVERSARY–A YEAR DOWN THE ROAD IN CYBER-WORLD

  We started a bold new adventure a year ago with the launch of our website mystarcollectorcar.com in April, 2009.   ‘The whole concept is basically a steep learning...

April 28, 2010 View more...
march09 anglia pix -a

APRIL 30, 2009: MAY 2009 -A 1948 ANGLIA SAVED FROM A FAST POST-RETIREMENT LIFESTYLE

  This little British subject landed in the colonies back in 1948 where it served as transportation for security at a power plant.   Apparently the security work didn’t...

April 30, 2009 View more...

Most Viewed

My Star Showcase

news-mill-jjmscc_Neon-001

SIGN UP FOR THE MYSTARCOLLECTORCAR DAILY NEWSLETTER!

SIGN UP FOR THE MYSTARCOLLECTORCAR DAILY NEWSLETTER!   Are you too busy to check out MSCC regularly? That’s too bad because MyStarCollectorCar is updated every day.   You don’t...

October 25, 2017 View more...
IMGP2365

WHY CLASSIC PICKUP TRUCKS ARE ON THE RISE IN PRICE AND POPULARITY

  It is no secret to car guys that vintage trucks are the rising rock stars in the hobby.   Classic trucks have taken a generous hike in prices...

October 18, 2017 View more...
My Star logo1-001

MSCC MARKET REPORT 2017

  MSCC MARKET REPORT 2017   Welcome to the newest feature at MyStarCollectorCar.   This will be a regional look at prices for collector vehicles based on actual sales...

August 3, 2017 View more...
products-IMGP5647

MSCC Products and Services Showcase

These are all great businesses and they support MyStarCollector Car through their advertising  so we can continue to bring you our  insight into the old car hobby 365 days...

July 13, 2016 View more...

More At My Star

THE CORVAIR IN ACTION! – A PRE- RALPH NADER PROMOTIONAL FILM BY THE GENERAL

  Corvair was General Motors’ answer to this question in 1960: how did the Germans manage to outgun us after World War Two?   The problem for GM was the wildly popular Volkswagen Beetle after it invaded the North American market during the post-war era.     In fact, the VW factory in Germany produced See More

THE 1958-59 CHEVYS AND FORDS: THE TIMES THEY WERE A-CHANGING

  One of the fundamental principles of a bygone automotive era was annual change.   This time of year (autumn) was an exciting time at car dealerships because they were able to unveil the next year’s car lineup months before a New Year’s Day hangover was even upon them.   The annual style changes for See More

NOVEMBER 17 MSCC FIVE FOR FRIDAY QUESTIONS ABOUT LOW AND SLOW: DOES YOUR RIDE NEED TO SLAMMED?

  The title of this piece uses the term “slammed” and most MyStarCollectorCar readers will know it refers to a vehicle that has been lowered closer to the pavement.   The natural ride height of most vintage vehicles is much higher because they were built during a different era when factory vehicles were taller and See More

IT’S CAR SEASON ALL YEAR IN WARMER PLACES—THE THIRD ANNUAL ADA CHARITY FUNDRAISER CAR SHOW

  Those of us who live in the northern regions of the continent are already getting an introduction to a nasty winter.   Car shows are something polar car guys can only dream about until next spring but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a deep interest in car shows down south.   Take a look See More

Editor’s Picks

IMGP9271

NOVEMBER 2017: THIS 1977 FORD IS SO MUCH MORE THAN A PRETTY TRUCK

  A beautiful 1977 Ford pickup truck is a worthy story in its own right.   However, the story behind this particular ’77 Ford involves triumph over senseless tragedy....

November 11, 2017 View more...
IMGP5559

NOVEMBER 2017 MSCC ROAD WARRIORS—THEY’RE LITERALLY ALL OVER THE PLACE

  Road Warriors are extremely popular at MSCC because old iron isn’t meant to be hidden in a museum, trailer or garage.   These old classics look best on...

October 31, 2017 View more...
sein

CONNECTING WITH SEINFELD—THE FRATERNITY OF THE JEROMES WASN’T ENOUGH

  MyStarCollectorCar is based on the average guy in the car hobby—the kind of guy who puts gallons of blood, countless hours of sweat equity, and a big pile...

October 11, 2017 View more...
IMGP7176-001

THE GUILD GARAGE: WHEN A HALF HOUR CAR SHOW JUST SEEMS LIKE AN HOUR

  Restoration Garage always lived up to its non-car guy producers’ goal to produce a docu-drama.   The producers appeared to believe in the standard TV playbook wherein a...

August 3, 2017 View more...

Car Shows and Events

2018 show-001
CONTACT MSCC ABOUT YOUR 2018 CAR SHOWS, CLUB MEETINGS AND CLUB RELATED EVENTS

  CONTACT MSCC ABOUT YOUR 2018 CAR SHOWS, CLUB MEETINGS AND CLUB RELATED EVENTS   Have you already scheduled your car show for 2018?   “Send MSCC the information...

October 9, 2017
57-1
MICHENER ALLEN AUCTION OCTOBER 28, 2017: 1957 CHEVY 1500 STREET ROD

1957 Chevrolet Street Rod 1500      Make:   Chevrolet            Model:                 Street Rod 1500 Drivetrain:           RWD      Ext Color:             White Engine:                 4Spd Automatic TR700  ...

June 19, 2017
BACH2
10TH ANNUAL RED DEER FALL FINALE & SPEED SHOW

 10TH ANNUAL RED DEER FALL FINALE & SPEED SHOW     COLLECTOR CAR AUCTION – CLASSIC CAR AUCTION The 10th Annual Fall Finale Classic Car Auction September 8th-10th, 2016 –...

April 21, 2017
IMGP8131
NOVEMBER 2017 CAR SHOWS, EVENTS AND CLUB MEETINGS: MYSTARCOLLECTORCAR

NOVEMBER 2017 CAR SHOWS, EVENTS AND CLUB MEETINGS: MYSTARCOLLECTORCAR   **Let us know about all your club meetings and community car shows and  we’ll list them here FREE-we average...

October 9, 2015

Ads

Ads responsive