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HarleyEarl

American Luxury in 1960

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Just a look back at distinctly American luxury in 1960. People the world over aspired to these cars. Some of their options are just now becoming mainstream. Here's the Cadillac, Imperial and Lincoln.

cadillac60vo6.jpg

wowowovh5.jpg

60lincolnconvertco6.jpg

Edited by HarleyEarl
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Feeling nostalgic, aren't we? :smilewide:

Any particular reason?

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Beautiful, beautiful tributes. How could we let our way of life slip through our fingers?
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Feeling nostalgic, aren't we? :smilewide:

Any particular reason?

Ya, a little. The American dream. What once was and could be again. And heck, I just love looking at these cars. They are rolling sculpture. Only Americans could do cars like this. They were futuristic, optomistic, fresh, modern, lively...American.

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Beautiful, beautiful tributes. How could we let our way of life slip through our fingers?

When I read your post, Blu, I almost got a bit emotional. Sure, they are just cars form another period. But they represent so much about American (and Canadian) culture. It's not just nostalgia. Like you said, it's about a way of life that has slipped away.

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You should have picked a year later for the Lincoln...I'm not really a fan of the 1960 Lincoln.

1961 on the other hand.. :)

1961-Lincoln-Continental-sedan-honey-bei

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Just this past summer I had a chance to look over about 4 '58-60 Lincolns- one being a hideously rare '60 Lincoln flower car (could not get pics due to the tight quarters & poor light). The exteriors are funky & polarizing to be sure, but having never really looked these over in person before, I was really amazed at some of the detailing- wild sh!t. IIRC- that 4-pod interior is from '58 HE, no? Top-shelf design, fantastic stuff. I gained a new respect for them that day.

Same place had a '61 sedan, and while the exteriors are almost painfully clean, the interior lost all that upscale funk- got a big Meh from me there. Frankly- I sometimes think the '61-up Lincolns get a smidge too much credit for beauty.

I LOVE the '60 Imp- those huge gauge pods and the 'square' wheel ~ happysigh!

I once pursued getting a green '60 Cadillac Series 62 coupe- would still love to have one of those one day- drives like whipped butter. I believe that's Persian Sand up above. Nice pics- HE!

Edited by balthazar
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Hey Balthazar, sir. I have to agree with you, I like the clean exterior styling of the '61 Lincoln, but as you say, the interior, maybe too minimalistic. Which got me to thinking, maybe designs like the '61 Lincoln were the beginning of the end for purely American design.

Oh man, some of the great details in the '60s interiors. Surprisingly Cadillacs of the era were fairly restrained in their dash design.

I believe that Lincoln dash photo is a '60. If you look at the exterior shot, you can see the top of the 4 pod cluster.

Because I'm such a GM fan, I sometimes overlook other makes that did some great stuff. With this thread, I thought it was a nice opportunity to hilight some of that.

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Front view of the Imperial, I like that roof detail. This car had some nifty options like self-dimming headlights, self-dimming rearview mirror and swivel front seats...

impfy8.jpg

Edited by HarleyEarl
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Seems like an odd setting for that Imperial photo, but I'll take it. The styling apologizes to no one on that car...
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>>"Which got me to thinking, maybe designs like the '61 Lincoln were the beginning of the end for purely American design."<<

Excellent observation. There certainly was a 'tic' in the timeline there; a shift in design consciousness. I blame Exner :wink: (tho in this case it's Elwood who's 'guilty').

And I think that 'tic' reset the end point (today) of the line to a degree. If you look at auto design broadly, there were major characteristics of design in each rough decade, and there just has not been much in way of fundamental progress since the 'shrink-wrap' '80s. And by the '00s, were stuck with shuffling details as 'design progress' and homogenization is SOP.

As an indication: take a '40s, '50s & a '60s windshield and lay them on the ground. Even the most cursory car person could likely peg them, timewise. I doubt even the most ardent enthusiast could separate an '80s, '90s and '00 windshield.

>>"I believe that Lincoln dash photo is a '60. If you look at the exterior shot, you can see the top of the 4 pod cluster."<<

Gotcha- correct. '60 has the coolest interior of '58-60... then '61 falls fairly flat -unhappysigh.

I've searched the internet a few times unsuccessfully for a pic- I still recall opening the door of a '56 DeSoto in a junkyard circa '90: the stamped aluminum sill plate had an integral triangulated 'placard' -not unlike a traditional desk nameplate- that stood upright alongside the front seat, with stamped & painted 'DeSOTO' script- so anyone looking @ the car from the side would know it (if the sweep spear wasn't doing it's job). My mouth must've dropped open, and that detail has stuck with me ever since.

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Seems like an odd setting for that Imperial photo, but I'll take it. The styling apologizes to no one on that car...

Ya, hehe....it should be pulling up to a ritzy resturant in Beverly Hills. My take on it is, 'honey, let's go for a Sunday drive in the new Imperial'....they head out on Route 66, when suddenly the lady of the house has to pee, husband pulls over and well, she's behind the car, squatting. Not a pretty picture on some levels.

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>>"Front view of the Imperial, I like that roof detail."<<

Imperials in the '59-61 era had some interesting & unique roof treatments. Pretty sure those inserts on your '60 pic are of stainless, this is definately brushed stainless on this '59:

59ImpLeftssided2.jpg.JPG

Different models had different (or no) treatments. Sometimes the trim was there without the stainless inserts.

Obviously influenced by the full stainless top of the '57-58 Eldorado Brougham.

Edited by balthazar
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Whoa Mr. Earl, thank God for 6 ft. high fins then.:AH-HA_wink: Edited by ocnblu
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I've searched the internet a few times unsuccessfully for a pic- I still recall opening the door of a '56 DeSoto in a junkyard circa '90: the stamped aluminum sill plate had an integral triangulated 'placard' -not unlike a traditional desk nameplate- that stood upright alongside the front seat, with stamped & painted 'DeSOTO' script- so anyone looking @ the car from the side would know it (if the sweep spear wasn't doing it's job). My mouth must've dropped open, and that detail has stuck with me ever since.

You have such a good eye for those details. To me, it's what makes design intriguing. And American cars used to be so good at that.

Back to the discussion on the '61 Lincoln. I may be wrong, but to me it was the start of the German, teutonic design, almost Bauhaus, clean and functional to the point of utter boredom that has become so pervasive in automotive design and engineering. I can enjoy a cleanly designed sofa...no emotional attachment there, but when it comes to cars, that's a different story, I WANT emotional involvement.

Edited by HarleyEarl
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Different models had different (or no) treatments. Sometimes the trim was there without the stainless inserts.

Obviously influenced by the full stainless top of the '57-58 Eldorado Brougham.

I think that the Imperial Southampton had the wraparound rear window and the Imperial Le Baron has the formal roofline?

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Agreed. Somehow for me, this also extends back thru the '40s & '30s; I feel I can gleam some of the latent fire & inspiration of the men who designed & built these cars, even in the more plain '40s cars. A guy I know has a '41 Plymouth- I stopped in as he was starting to take it apart (hot rodding it)- and even a 'plain jane' like that still has more passion in it that a 200x mercedes. Some of that is my dreamy eye, I'm sure, but not all of it.

The 'tic''s effect was gradual, of course, and in many instances it worked extremely well ('60s GPs & the B-59, for instance), but I still have often wondered what would have transpired had the original course remained the guiding one.

Some pundits have surmised in hindsight that a course change was neccessary, to the point of being inevitable, but I disagree. An element of the passion & the forward push was lost, and it was that element that would have course-corrected itself, but along a different line than the one we went down.

Does this make any sense, or am I rambling now ?? This is not the easiest thing to articulate since it's so intangible & subjective.

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Thanks Harley, although if I was picking one each (Lincoln, Imperial, Cadillac) it would be these IMO... Of the ones you posted the Imperial has the nicest interior IMO, the Cadillac not far behind.

KTedsel-CG61cont-107-re.jpg

1962_Imperial_4-Door_Southampton_Burgund

1956_Cadillac_limo.jpeg

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The '61 Continental would get my vote...very clean, understated for it's time. It was a move away from the finny, over-trimmed '50s luxury cars.

For GM of that era, I love the '63-65 Riviera and the early GPs and Starfires.

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I will only say, that the fins and detailing were the rage in those times. Clean, simple design has been so long with us, the fin era looks extreme.

I still believe there is a distinct American design sensiblity that needs to proudly re-assert itself again. We've aped Euro car design too long. Their sensibilities are built on a very different culture and history. We were mistaken in following their lead. It should have been the other way around.

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Does this make any sense, or am I rambling now ?? This is not the easiest thing to articulate since it's so intangible & subjective.

Makes perfect sense. It is intangible and subjective definitely, but I think there was a shift in American vs European design.

And like I mentioned in the earlier post, there are fundimental differences based on culture and history. Not to put too fine a point on it, but American culture, or the American dream had an affect on design and engineering in every product you can think of. That wide-open, optimistic, the furture is bright, gung ho, cheerul, new world, anything is possible mind set that most Americans (and some Canadians too) used to have. I believe that some insecurities set in, that the Europeans were better than us now, heck, many American car magazines said so. And then the Euroshift began. And it's still with us.

Beautiful, pure, simple, minimalistic, elegant design is very finite and very hard to do in a memorable way. All others are boring and forgotten, disposable.

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>>I've searched the internet a few times unsuccessfully for a pic- I still recall opening the door of a '56 DeSoto in a junkyard circa '90: the stamped aluminum sill plate had an integral triangulated 'placard' -not unlike a traditional desk nameplate- that stood upright alongside the front seat, with stamped & painted 'DeSOTO' script- so anyone looking @ the car from the side would know it (if the sweep spear wasn't doing it's job). My mouth must've dropped open, and that detail has stuck with me ever since.

56 Desoto was one of the best 50's designs. They paced the Indy 500 that year, IIRC.

One of the best reads I ever read was about an American serviceman who bought a 56 DeSoto in the wilds of Iraq and managed to drive it back somehow through Turkey, and then through Europe, and then get it shipped back to the US.

Forget where I read about that trip...wish i could remember.

Cadillac IMHO had the best 60 design...I love what they did with Plum and Iris colored cars during this era.

One of my fav. GM cars of all times was a 396 powered 65 Impala in that Iris color (Iris Mist as a Pontiac color, not sure of the Chevy name) with a white interior. Used to run around my old home town of Muncie, Indiana. Wound up on a used car lot next to a 65 Galaxie 500 Xl, White with a black vynal top and red interior.

Wish that the collector car hobby paid more tribute to full sized cars. Around here, a ton of Mustangs, Camaro's, GTO's, TA's Vettes' etc. show up for cruise in's and car shows. But it is very uncommon for a fullsize car to show up any more.

Chris

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I will only say, that the fins and detailing were the rage in those times. Clean, simple design has been so long with us, the fin era looks extreme.

I still believe there is a distinct American design sensiblity that needs to proudly re-assert itself again. We've aped Euro car design too long. Their sensibilities are built on a very different culture and history. We were mistaken in following their lead. It should have been the other way around.

Which is why I love the Solstice and Sky so much. To me they are the purest example of American car design currently being built.

Chris

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