24 February 2014

Car Stuff: Fantasy Garage #2

From 1961-66, American car styling hit peak after exhilarating peak. The excesses of the late 1950s were largely swept away and replaced by clean designs with less reliance on chrome decoration and more effort placed on pleasant, refined looks.

General Motors was on top, as it had been for some time. The company's hierarchy of five car brands shared certain platforms and styling components like roof panels, but otherwise the offerings presented distinctive and attractive looks to the car-buying public. Buicks and Oldsmobiles, being higher-priced, had cars based on two bodies, the larger of which was shared with Cadillac.

As much as I like the Cadillac design of 1961-62, I slightly prefer the Oldsmobile 98, specifically the four-door hardtop with a third side window behind the rear door, called the "Holiday Sedan" in Olds marketing lingo. Maybe an Olds was a couple of steps down from a Cadillac, but the 98 was less fussy-looking. (While it's also true that my grandfather had a '62 Olds, it was a less glamorous Dynamic 88 four-door sedan.)

I don't have any scale die-cast version to show you for this one, but there are illustrations around online from the brochure:
Google's image search wasn't quite as helpful as I'd hoped, but I did find this one:
I was hoping for a photo with the side windows open, but this at least gives a sense of the roofline. Besides great color choices inside and out, one other thing I miss about cars is lots of glass area. In newer cars, designers have raised the side window sills relative to seat height to enhance the sense of safety, but at the cost of visibility. I suppose in a few more years almost all cars will come with backup cameras standard, but I think some people would still prefer being able to see out of the car all around.

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