Kilbey

Dec 062013
 

The Ford Galaxie was a full-sized automobile that was manufactured in the United States from 1959 through 1974. The name was used to appeal to the buying public based on the enthusiasm associated with the space race. The Ford Motor Company used the Galaxie name for the leading models in their full-sized assortment of cars from 1959 until 1961.

In 1959, Ford introduced the Galaxie lineup in the middle of the year. The range of six Galaxie models were high end versions of the Ford Fairlane. The Galaxie had a modified rear roofline that was similar to that of the Thunderbird. This was the era of two-tone, chrome and stainless steel outfitted cars, and the Ford Galaxie didn’t depart from that design. It was the image of American automobile superiority.

1959 Ford Galaxie Convertible

1959 Ford Galaxie Sunliner

1959 Ford Galaxie Sunliner Convertible White on Red

1959 Ford Galaxie Sunliner – White on Red

1959 Ford Galaxie Coupe

1959 Ford Galaxie Coupe

1959 Ford Galaxie Coupe - Blue

1959 Ford Galaxie Coupe – Blue

1959 Ford Galaxie Coupe - Red

1959 Ford Galaxie Coupe – Red



1959 Ford Galaxie Skyliner - Black

1959 Ford Galaxie Skyliner – Black

1959 Ford Galaxie Skyliner - Blue

1959 Ford Galaxie Skyliner – Blue

1959 Ford Galaxie Skyliner - Blue Interior

1959 Ford Galaxie Skyliner – Blue Interior

1959 Ford Galaxie Skyliner - White on Blue

1959 Ford Galaxie Skyliner – White on Blue

1959 Ford Galaxie Skyliner - White on Red

1959 Ford Galaxie Skyliner – White on Red



1959 Ford Galaxie Skyliner White on Red 2

1959 Ford Galaxie Skyliner – White on Red

1959 Ford Galaxie Skyliner - White on Red

1959 Ford Galaxie Skyliner – White on Red

1959 Ford Galaxie Skyliner White on Turquoise 1

1959 Ford Galaxie Skyliner – White on Turquoise

1959 Ford Galaxie Skyliner White on Turquoise 2

1959 Ford Galaxie Skyliner – White on Turquoise

1959 Ford Galaxie - White on Red

1959 Ford Galaxie – White on Red

                   

The 1959 Ford Galaxie featured the manufacturer’s new front seat safety anchorage. This feature locked the seat’s track structure to the frame of the car. Instead of the usual hand parking brake, the new ford was equipped with a pedal-activated brake. Ford was a front-runner when it came to safety features. The recessed steering wheel and double door locks came standard on the ’59 Galaxie. A padded dashboard, child-proof rear door locks, and seat belts were optional.

This was the last year for the Skyliner model, Ford’s hardtop convertible. The top of the car retracted and folded down intto the trunk. The feature was impressive, but it was also expensive and complicated. When the top was folded down, it left very little trunk room. The Skyliner was only produced for three years, from 1957 through 1959.

The 1959 Ford Galaxie was equipped with a 352 cubic inch power plant that produced 300 horsepower.

Nov 272013
 
1959 Impala Four-Door Hardtop 3

The Impressive Rear View of the 1959 Impala

The Chevy Impala, first introduced in 1958, is Chevrolet’s full-sized car. The Impala name was taken from a medium-sized African antelope. The Impala was Chevrolet’s highest priced passenger car from 1958 all the way through the 1965 model year. This was the era when full-sized cars led the American automobile market, and the Chevy Impala was the number one seller during this era, beating out the Plymouth Fury and the Ford Galaxie 500. Chevrolet’s primary engineer, Ed Cole, described the Chevy Impala as a “prestige car within the reach of the average American citizen.”

The Chevy Impala was discontinued in 1985 and the Caprice became the full-sized Chevrolet base model. Chevrolet reintroduced the Impala in 1994 as the Chevy Impala SS. The Impala was once again discontinued in 1996, along with the Caprice as well as the Buick Roadmaster. General Motors was devoting more and more assembly lines to sport utility vehicles. Chevrolet resurrected the Impala name once again in 2000, this time to replace the failure known as the Chevy Lumina.

The 1959 Chevy Impala was a relatively dramatic change from the previous year’s model. The new body shell was shared with Pontiacs, Buicks, and Oldsmobiles. This was a move by General Motors to save money, and it was moves like this that led in part to the decline of the US automobile industry.

1959 Impala Convertible 1

1959 Impala Convertible

1959 Impala Four-Door Hardtop 4

1959 Impala Four-Door Hardtop

1959 Impala Four-Door Sedan 20

1959 Impala Four-Door Sedan

1959 Impala Front View 14

1959 Impala Front View

1959 Impala Two-Door 11

1959 Impala Two-Door



1959 Impala Convertible 2

1959 Impala Convertible

1959 Impala Convertible Dash 18

1959 Impala Convertible Dash

1959 Impala Four-Door Hardtop 5

1959 Impala Four-Door Hardtop

1959 Impala Four-Door Interior 10

1959 Impala Four-Door Interior

1959 Impala Four-Door Sedan 21

1959 Impala Four-Door Sedan



1959 Impala Two-Door 12

1959 Impala Two-Door

1959 Four-Door Hardtop 16

1959 Four-Door Hardtop

1959 Impala Convertible 6

1959 Impala Convertible

1959 Impala Convertible Interior 8

1959 Impala Convertible Interior

1959 Impala Four-Door Hardtop 9

1959 Impala Four-Door Hardtop

 

The wheel base for the 1959 Chevy Impala was 1.5 inches longer than the 1958 model. The chassis for the 1959 Impala was built on an updated X-frame chassis. The body of the car was two inches wider than on the 1958 model, and the roof was three inches lower. Unlike other cars of the time, the fins on the ’59 Chevy Impala didn’t protrude upward. Instead they protroded outward. Along with the large teardrop-shaped taillights, this gave the car a very distinctive appearance. Due to the look of the rear of the car and the taillights specifically, the 1959 Impala was called by some the “Eyebrow Chevy.” Other nicknames for parts of the car were “cat’s eye taillights” and “bat wing fins” The car also had a very long decklid, long enough, according to some, to land a small airplane.

The 1959 Impala became a separate series of cars. The following body styles were available in the series:

  • Four-door sedan (distinguished by the B-pillar)
  • Four-door hardtop (distinguished by the absence of a B-pillar)
  • Convertible
  • Two-door Sport Coupe

The two-door Sport Coupe was distinguished by a wrap-around rear window and a reduced roof line. The rear window provided a better, almost unlimited rear view. The front of the car featured a compound windshield that also provided a better view out of the front. The four-door hardtop, also called the Sport Sedan, had a pillar-free rear window that was enormous, and an overhanging “flying wing” roof line.

The base engine for the 1959 Impala was a conservative 235 cubic inch inline six cylinder that produced 145 horsepower. With the six cylinder engine, the sticker price for the car was $2849. Chevrolet provided plenty of other engine options including the following:

  • 283 cubic inch carbureted small block V8 producing 170 horsepower
  • 283 cubic inch carbureted small block V8 producing 185 horsepower
  • 283 cubic inch carbureted small block V8 producing 230 horsepower
  • 283 cubic inch fuel injected small block V8 producing 250 horsepower
  • 283 cubic inch fuel injected small block V8 producing 290 horsepower
  • 348 cubic inch carbureted big block V8 producing 320 horsepower
  • 348 cubic inch carbureted big block V8 producing 335 horsepower

The interior of the 1959 Impala was high-class, featuring the following luxuries:

  • Dual sliding sun visors
  • Electric clock
  • Crank-operated front wing windows
  • Front and rear arm rests
  • Six-way power seat

The interior also featured deep-set gauges in a contoured instrument panel. The gauges were hooded to prevent glare, making them visible even on the sunniest mornings and evenings. Also included was a gadget called the “Speedminder.” The operator could set a needle to a specific maximum speed and a warning buzzer would sound if the speed was exceeded.

1959 Impala Convertible 7

1959 Impala Convertible Rear View

1959 Impala Four-Door Hardtop 13

1959 Impala Four-Door Hardtop

1959 Impala Convertible 15

1959 Impala Convertible

1959 Impala Four-Door Hardtop 17

1959 Impala Four-Door Hardtop

1959 Impala Four-Door Hardtop 19

1959 Impala Four-Door Hardtop

 

My favorite things about the 1959 Chevy Impala are the fins, the curves, the lines, and the chrome, and I also have to mention those tear drop taillights. The fins are unique in that they are horizontal while all other fins were vertical. The lines and curves of the 1959 Impala are most impressive around fin and deck lid area. I really like the way that the deck lid curves in toward the middle, and is accented by the strip of chrome all the way down the middle of the deck lid. The chrome comes to apoint at the rear of the deck lid, meeting the chrome trim along the rear edge. At the point where they meet is the badge with stars and the Chevrolet chevron in the center, just above the key insert. The front and rear glass, the overhanging flying wing roof line… there are a lot of unique lines and curves on this car, particularly on the rear.

While the Chevy Impala is still made today, it now looks very similar to every other car made by every other automobile manufacturer. It’s disappointing that the Amercian automobile industry has fallen to this after making some of the highest quality and most impressive looking machines during the post-war era.

Nov 212013
 
1957 Chrysler Imperial Crown Two-Door Southampton

1957 Chrysler Imperial Crown Two-Door Southampton

The Chrysler Imperial was the high end luxury brand of automobile produced by the Chrysler Corporation between 1955 and 1975. The Imperial made a short-lived return in 1981 until 1983.

Chrysler had made use of the Imperial moniker since 1926, yet it was not ever a distinct make, merely the top end Chrysler. Nevertheless, in 1955, the company made the decision to spin the Imperial brand off as its own make as well as division to compete more effectively with its rivals, Cadillac and Lincoln. Chrysler unveiled new body designs for the Imperial every two to three years. All variations of the Imperial were equipped with automatic transmissions and potent V8 engines, together with other technological advances that filtered down to Chrysler’s various other models.

The brand new Imperial, first produced in 1955, was the brainchild of Virgil Exner. Exner had been a successful automobile designer for General Motors, Studebaker, and Chrysler. Exner was recognized for his outstanding ‘Forward Look’ automobile designs that were altogether unique in his day, and for his fondness for fins for both aerodynamic and cosmetic reasons.

1957 Chrysler Imperial Two-Door Southampton

1957 Chrysler Imperial Two-Door Southampton

1957 Chrysler Imperial Two-Door Southampton

1957 Chrysler Imperial Two-Door Southampton

1957 Chrysler Imperial Crown Two-Door Southampton

1957 Chrysler Imperial Crown Two-Door Southampton

1957 Chrysler Imperial Crown Two-Door Southampton

1957 Chrysler Imperial Crown Two-Door Southampton

1957 Chrysler Imperial Crown Two-Door Southampton

1957 Chrysler Imperial Crown Two-Door Southampton



1957 Chrysler Imperial Crown Two-Door Southampton

1957 Chrysler Imperial Crown Two-Door Southampton

1957 Chrysler Imperial Crown Two-Door Southampton

1957 Chrysler Imperial Crown Two-Door Southampton

1957 Chrysler Imperial Crown Two-Door Southampton

1957 Chrysler Imperial Crown Two-Door Southampton

1957 Chrysler Imperial Crown Two-Door Southampton

1957 Chrysler Imperial Crown Two-Door Southampton

1957 Chrysler Imperial Crown Convertible

1957 Chrysler Imperial Crown Convertible



1957 Chrysler Imperial Crown Convertible

1957 Chrysler Imperial Crown Convertible

1957 Chrysler Imperial Crown Convertible

1957 Chrysler Imperial Crown Convertible

1957 Chrysler Imperial Crown Convertible Interior

1957 Chrysler Imperial Crown Convertible Interior

1957 Chrysler Imperial Four-Door Sedan

1957 Chrysler Imperial Four-Door Sedan

1957 Chrysler Imperial Four-Door Sedan

1957 Chrysler Imperial Four-Door Sedan

Chrysler launched an all new Imperial for 1957. It was obtainable in four body styles.

  • Sedan (Pillared four-door)
  • Two-door
  • Four-door hardtop
  • Convertible

Beginning in 1957, the Imperial was also available in three different levels of trim.

  • The standard Imperial, or Imperial Custom
  • The Imperial Crown
  • The Imperial LeBaron

With these four body styles and three levels of trim, the Imperial was available in a total of nine different variations.

1957 Chrysler Imperial Four-Door Sedan

1957 Chrysler Imperial Four-Door Sedan

The Imperial Four-Door Sedan

The 1957 Chrysler Imperial four-door sedan had the pillared four-door body style. The illustration shown is from a sales brochure for the car. Here is a quote from the same brochure.

Finest Expression of the Forward Look

In the fine car field, both of foreign and American make, there is a new Look of Motion–a new motif of motor car styling of brilliant originality, distinctive design, and charming appearance.

It is the new luxurious, exclusive Imperial for 1957–the finest expression of the Forward Look–a car of such distinction, such obvious individuality of design, that it, with full justification, actually merits the use of the much over-used superlative “incomparable.”

It is another forward step in the evolution of the Flight-Swept styling that has set the new trend of motor car design, which is being followed, reluctantly, surely, in varying degrees, by so many of our contemporaries, not only in the fine car field, but also, in all price classes.

Your agreement with our assertion of its superb styling will most likely come after you have looked at, and studied the design of the Imperial, as shown in the beautiful illustrations in this brochure. And, we believe, your agreement will be even more enthusiastic, after you have had the opportunity to compare all of the other fine cars with the new Imperial.

 

1957 Chrysler Imperial Two-Door Southampton

1957 Chrysler Imperial Two-Door Southampton

The Imperial Two-Door Southampton

The 1957 Chrysler Imperial Two-Door Southampton featured the landau-type roof design. This body style had no pillar. Here’s another quote from the sales material for the car.

The landau section, defined by the gracefully curved chrome molding, has the same color as the body, with the forward section of the roof finished in a different color.

Dual headlights permit easier control of light patterns–one set for city and both sets for country driving. Optional on Crown and LeBaron, extra on Imperial.

1957 Chrysler Imperial Four-Door Southampton

1957 Chrysler Imperial Four-Door Southampton

The Imperial Four-Door Southampton

The 1957 Chrysler Imperial Four-Door Southampton was the standard base Imperial four-door non-pillared hardtop. I’m not exactly sure of the distinction between the Imperial and the Imperial Crown other than some of the trim package. There may also have been more options available on the Imperial Crown. I’m sure it’s really a matter of personal preference, but I believe the absence of the B pillar gives the automobile a more sporty appearance. I really enjoy the old illustrations from the original sales brochure for the car, as well as the sales copy in that brochure. Here’s what the Chrysler marketing department had to say about the car in 1957.

The Four-Door Southampton has the landau-type roof design, which adds a smart note of distinction and individuality. The landau section, defined by the gracefully curved chrome molding, has the same color as the body, with the forward section of the roof finished in a different color.

1957 Chrysler Imperial Crown Convertible Coupe

1957 Chrysler Imperial Crown Convertible Coupe

The Imperial Crown Convertible Coupe

The 1957 Chrysler Imperial Crown Convertible Coupe was Chrysler’s luxury convertible for the year. The illustration is from a sales brochure, and here’s the quote from the same brochure.

The comparatively fortunate few who are proud possessors of the Imperial Crown Convertible cannot help but derive a deep satisfaction and a warm glow of pride out of the exclusiveness of the most stunning car America has seen in many years.

Wherever it goes, it will be the center of attraction, viewed and admired, not only for the smart beauty of the car itself, but also for the discriminating taste of the owner it its selection.

The assimilated rear deck tire mount adds just another note of distinction and exclusiveness to the car.

1957 Chrysler Imperial Crown Four-Door Southampton

1957 Chrysler Imperial Crown Four-Door Southampton

The Imperial Crown Four-Door Southampton

The 1957 Chrysler Imperial Crown Four-Door Southampton in the hardtop four-door body style, distinguishable by its lack of a pillar. The Imperial Crowns were distinguishable from the standard Imperials by the crown emblems just above the headlights.

The Imperial Crown Four-Door Southampton–a car of exquisite beauty and charm, both inside and out. But, of equal importance is the spaciousness of the interior, both in the front and rear compartments; and the wide-opening doors that permit easy getting in and out of the car. There is legroom, and headroom, and visibility through the wide front, side, and rear windows that give you the freedom of the convertible body type. Note also, the beautiful lines of the windshield, roof, and rear window, and the low, long graceful silhouette of the car. Windows operate electrically.

The Imperial Crown Four-Door Sedan
1957 Chrysler Imperial Crown Four-Door Sedan

1957 Chrysler Imperial Crown Four-Door Sedan

Then of course there was the 1957 Chrysler Imperial Crown Four-Door Sedan, which was the pillared four-door body style. Despite my opinion that the hardtops, without the B pillar, give the car a sportier appeal, I think I like the sedans a little better. It would also seem that the B pillar would strengthen the car in the event of a rollover, but I’m not sure that the ’57 Imperial really needed any strengthening. It was one of the most durable automobiles ever made. The quote from the sales brochure is very descriptive.

You will not find a car, anywhere in the world, that looks like the Imperial Crown Sedan, illustrated above. Whether or not you think it is the most beautiful car in the world is entirely a matter of your own decision. However, if you are tired of the similarity of all other cars, and want something different, something with smart individuality we suggest that you see, carefully inspect, and drive the Imperial.

1957 Chrysler Imperial Crown Two-Door Southampton

1957 Chrysler Imperial Crown Two-Door Southampton

The Imperial Crown Two-Door Southampton

The 1957 Chrysler Imperial Crown Two-Door Southampton is the two-door body style with the mid-range trim. From the sales brochure:

The illustration of the Imperial Crown Two-Door Southampton gives a perfect picture of some of the many design characteristics of this beautiful car. The broad front fenders; the expansive windshield; the massive grille and bumper; the upsweeping rear fenders; and the spaciousness of the luxurious interior, all combine to make the Imperial a car of unique distinction, and a possession of unlimited pleasure and pride of ownership. Incidentally, the rear deck has plenty of storage space for a lot of luggage for the long trips. The floor and the spare tire cover have a rich gray carpeting and the torsion bar hinges make opening and closing the deck lid an easy matter.

1957 Chrysler Imperial LeBaron Sedan

1957 Chrysler Imperial LeBaron Sedan

The Imperial LeBaron Four-Door Sedan/Four-Door Hardtop

The 1957 Chrysler Imperial LeBaron (not to be confused with the cheaper Chrysler LeBaron which came later) was the high end luxury Imperial for 1957. The LeBaron had a more conservative style. It was only available as a four-door in solid colors on the interior and exterior. The car could be obtained in either a sedan (with B pillar) or hardtop (without B pillar). From the sales brochure:

The Imperial LeBaron–America’s Most Distinguished Car

The LeBaron, a four-door body type, retains, of course, all of the superb, exclusive styling and the engineering excellence of the new Imperials. Its distinction and charm lie in the ultra-conservative design and decor of the interior; in the long list of standard equipment; and in several distinguishing marks of identification on the exterior of the car. It is available only in solid colors of rhe exterior and luxurious, conservative monotone interiors of the finest broadcloth. The LeBaron was created especially for a very distinct clientele, and will be available only in limited numbers.

 

1957 Chrysler Imperial Crown Assimilated Flite Sweep Deck Lid

1957 Chrysler Imperial Crown Assimilated Flite Sweep Deck Lid

All four of the 1957 Imperial body styles had more distinctive styling than the previous models. Sales were robust and quickly surpassed those of their competitor, Lincoln. The Imperial had its best sales year ever in 1957, selling 37,593 units.

The 1957 Chrysler Imperial is almost certainly the most popular and most sought-after Imperial in history. The incomparable Virgil Exner once again managed the styling for the automobile, and his affinity for fins shows on this model. The model was based on his “Forward Look” concept to an even higher degree.

The curved window frame of extruded aluminum and the curved window glass, which maintained the smooth flow of the body line from the roof to the bottom of the side sill, gave the Imperial a low, sculpted look. The curved glass was remarkable in that the Imperial was the first American made automobile to make use of such a thing. The complex front end of the car featured brand a brand new quad headlight arrangement and a bulleted grille. The model also had the Imperial signature gun sight taillights.

1957 Chrysler Imperial Dash Transmission Control Panel

1957 Chrysler Imperial Dash Transmission Control Panel

The Imperial was given its own unique platform for the 1957 model year, establishing it as a completely separate Chrysler division. The Imperial retained its own platform through the 1966 model year. Imperials throughout this time period were considerably wider, both on the inside and the outside, compared to other Chrysler products. The shoulder area in the 1957 Imperial was 64 inches in the front and 62 inches in the rear. This front seat shoulder room dimension is still an unrivaled record for Imperial and would remain the record for any kind of automobile right up until the 1971-1976 General Motors full-sized cars were produced. After Lincoln reduced the size of their cars in 1961, this particular generation of Imperial had absolutely no genuine competition for the title of the largest automobile for the remainder of its ten year life span.

Here are some of the specifications of the 1957 Chrysler Imperial.

Engine

The Imperial sported a “FirePower” high compression ninety degree V8, airplane-type engine with hemispherical combustion chambers and overhead, laterally inclined valve arrangement. This engine was, of course, better known as a “Hemi.” The Hemi in the Imperial had a displacement of 392 cubic inches.

1957 Chrysler Imperial Curved Window Frame and Glass

1957 Chrysler Imperial Curved Window Frame and Glass – An Industry First

Fuel System

The Imperial had a four-barrel carburetor with vacuum-controlled secondary draft system and an integral automatic choke. The Oilite fuel filter was located in teh gas tank, which had a capacity of twenty-three gallons.

Electrical System

Among other things, the electrical system included a push-button starter, electric power windows, and six-way power seat.

Transmission

The Imperial featured Chrysler’s new Torque-Flite transmission with automatic torque converter and three speed planetary gear set. It was controlled via push-buttons located on the dash panel to the left of the steering wheel. The neutral button was also used to start the engine after the ignition key was placed in the on position.

Suspension

One of the best features of the 1957 Imperial was the Torsion-Aire suspension. More about this suspension later.

Dimensions

The 1957 Chrysler Imperial was, of course, huge. The wheelbase was 129 inches. The overall length of the car was 224 inches (almost 19 feet!). The width was 81.2 inches, and the loaded height was 57.5 inches.

The 1957 Chrysler Imperial was one of the first cars to have dual headlights.

The 1957 Chrysler Imperial was one of the first cars to have dual headlights.

Optional Equipment Available at Extra Cost
  • Airtemp air conditioning
  • Solex glass
  • Custom Condition-Air heater
  • Instant-Heat airplane-type heater
  • Transistorized Electro Touch-Tuner radio with rear seat speaker, power antenna and foot control
  • Highway Hi Fi record player
  • Rear window defroster
  • Safety seat belts
  • Two-tone paint
  • Assimilated rear deck tire mount

One particular advantage that the Imperial possessed over the other cars of that era was its toughness. The Imperials were so durable that they were prohibited from almost all demolition derbies. All of the other Chrysler makes (Dodge, Plymouth, Chryler, De Soto) initiated unibody construction in 1960. The Imperial held on to independent full perimeter frames for stiffness and rigidity all the way through 1966. These substantive frames had a box-shaped section in which crossmembers formed an X. The drive shaft passed through a hole in the X-shaped frame. The emergency braking system gripped the drive shaft, and wasn’t attached to the rear drum brakes before 1963.

The Imperial had another big advantage in that all Chrysler products including the Imperial were given “Torsion-Aire” suspension in 1957. Torsion-Aire was an independent front wheel suspension system with torsion bar springs that decreased unsprung weight as well as moved the center of gravity rearward and downward. Tapered-leaf outboard rear suspension springs compounded with the new torsion bar suspension on the front delivered superior handling and a significantly smoother ride. Oriflow shock absorbers were used all the way around.

An opinionated automobile critic, Tom McCahill, quipped that the Imperial “cornered at speed flatter than a tournament billiard table, ” uncommon for a vehicle of its enormous weight and extreme size. He was known for his colorful metaphors. McCahill grew to be a devoted customer, purchasing a brand new Imperial every single year from 1957 all the way through 1964. His observable and eager recommendation made it easier for Imperial to forge a good reputation as the “driver’s car” among the big three luxury makes.

McCahill also offered this observation in 1964: This is what I told them in California. When I hit the road with hundreds of pounds of baggage, typewriters and testing equipment, I’m not out there just to have fun. I want to get from here to there, which may be thousands of miles away, with as much comfort as possible. Besides, Boji [his dog] now demands comfort. So does my wife. I’ve been on some pretty fancy trains, including private cars, and to this writing, I have never found anything quite as comfortable or more capable of getting me to my destination as the 1964 Chrysler Imperial LeBaron. It’s a great automobile.

Nov 172013
 
Blue 1969 Chevy Camaro Z28

Blue 1969 Chevy Camaro Z28

The very first generation of the Chevy Camaro was seen in Chevrolet dealerships on September 29, 1966. These initial Camaros were manufactured for the 1967 model year. They highlighted a completely new rear-wheel drive General Motors F-body platform. This first generation model would be available as a convertible, coupe, two plus two seat, or two door with a choice of either a V8 or a six cylinder engine. The first generation Camaro lasted all the way through the 1969 model year.

The Camaro’s standard drivetrain was a 230 cubic inch straight six power plant rated at 140 horsepower. This engine was backed by a Saginaw three speed manual transmission. There were several different transmissions available for the first generation Camaros. For the 1969 Chevy Camaro, there were twelve diverse motors available. The car came equipped with a three speed manual transmission, but a four speed tranny was an available alternative.

For the 1969 model, the three speed “Turbo Hydra-Matic 350” supplanted the two speed “Powerglide” automatic transmission as the most popular transmission option. Then there was the larger Turbo 400 automatic three speed that was an option on the SS 396 Camaros.

There was a variety of additional selections obtainable for all three model years, most notably three predominant bundles:

  • The RS (Rally Sport) package was an aesthetics arrangement that incorporated concealed headlights, modified taillights along with back-up lamps underneath the back bumper, RS badging, and outer vibrant trim. The RS package was obtainable on any model.
  • The SS performance arrangement consisted of a 350 or 396 cubic inch V8 power plant as well as chassis enhancements for improved handling and to cope with the increased power. Non-functional air inlets were placed on the hood. The SS featured SS badging and special striping.
  • The Z28 high performance package was developed (with additional improvements) to compete in the SCCA Trans-Am series. It had two wide sport stripes down the hood and decklid. It also featured power disc brakes and was powered by a solid lifter 302 cubic inch V8 with a four speed transmission.

Almost all of the Camaros built form 1967 through 1969 were manufactured in either Van Nuys, California or Norwood, Ohio.

Black 1969 Chevy Camaro

Black 1969 Chevy Camaro

Blue 1969 Chevy Camaro Convertible

Blue 1969 Chevy Camaro Convertible

Blue 1969 Chevy Camaro SS

Blue 1969 Chevy Camaro SS

1969 Chevy Camaro SS

1969 Chevy Camaro SS

Orange 1969 Chevy Camaro Rally Sport

Orange 1969 Chevy Camaro Rally Sport



Blue 1969 Chevy Camaro SS

Blue 1969 Chevy Camaro SS

Blue 1969 Chevy Camaro SS

Blue 1969 Chevy Camaro SS

Rear of Blue 1969 Chevy Camaro SS

Rear of Blue 1969 Chevy Camaro SS

Red 1969 Chevy Camaro SS

Red 1969 Chevy Camaro SS

Red 1969 Chevy Camaro SS

Red 1969 Chevy Camaro SS



1969 Chevy Camaro Indy 500 Pace Car

1969 Chevy Camaro Indy 500 Pace Car

Blue 1969 Chevy Camaro SS

Blue 1969 Chevy Camaro SS

1969 Chevy Camaro Interior

1969 Chevy Camaro Interior

Blue 1969 Chevy Camaro

Blue 1969 Chevy Camaro

Blue 1969 Chevy Camaro

Blue 1969 Chevy Camaro

For the 1969 year model, Camaro retained the drivetrain and primary mechanical elements from prior years. The trunk lid and hood also remained the same, but the rest of the car received a sheet metal makeover. The new sheet metal provided the car with a significantly sportier appearance. The grill was designed with a V-shaped angle and the headlights were inset. Completely new rear quarter panels, rear valance panel, and door skins all provided the 1969 Camaro with a broader, lower, considerably more aggressive appearance. This design was for the 1969 model only.

The RS (Rally Sport) alternative featured:

  • Hidden headlights
  • Headlight washers
  • An ebony colored grille
  • Sport striping on the fenders
  • Simulated louvers on the back fenders
  • Black body sill
  • RS insignias on the rear panel, grille, and steering wheel
  • Front and rear wheel opening moldings
  • Back-up lamps underneath the rear bumper
  • Bright accented taillights
  • Rally Sport front fender insignia plates
  • Bright roof drip moldings on the Sport Coupe

In addition to the Rally Sport, the Z28 configuration was also still obtainable for 1969 with the 302 cubic inch small block engine. It was also equipped with a Muncie four speed transmission and a Hurst shifter. The 302 cubic inch small block power plant boasted an 11:1 compression ratio and featured a forged steel crank shaft and connecting rods, a solid lifter cam shaft, forged pistons, and a Holley carburetor mounted on a dual-plane intake manifold. The dealer could also install a dual four barrel crossram intake manifold at the customer’s request.

General Motors employed a policy that prohibited Chevrolet from installing engines larger than 400 cubic inches. Some dealers were installing 427 cubic inch power plants in the Camaro, and these dealers began requesting that Chevrolet do the same. Chevrolet used a special ordering process to circumvent the GM policy and began offering Camaros equipped with 427 engines.

One of the engines used in these Camaros was the L72 which produced 425 horsepower. Chevrolet dealer Don Yenko bought 201 of these cars to produce the legendary Yenko Camaro. Several other dealers also ordered the Camaro with this engine package, and around 1000 Camaros were equipped with the L72 engine.

The other engine used was an all aluminum 427 cubic inch power plant known as the ZL-1. This engine was designed exclusively for drag racing, and was a concept of drag racer Dick Harrell. Only 69 Camaros were equipped with this engine as the cost of the engine alone was over $4000. The ZL-1 was capable of producing more than 500 horsepower. The engines were assembled by hand and took 16 hours each to put together. They were assembled in a “clean room,” meaning that the room was surgically clean.

The 1969 Chevy Camaro is a widely sought-after classic car. As of this writing, typical V8 models might sell for anywhere from $21,000 for the base package with the smaller engine up to $86,000 for the Z28 package. Some of the models that were equipped with the L72 427 cubic inch engines sell for much higher prices, anywhere from $130,000 to about $200,000. The models equipped with the ZL-1 racing enging now sell for $325,000 to $350,000.

 Posted by at 11:39 pm
Sep 032013
 
1957 Chevy 210 Club Coupe

1957 Chevy 210 Club Coupe

My earliest memories of the 1957 Chevy Bel Air are from around 1973 when, as a boy, I saw many of them racing at my local stock car race track. These cars dominated the divisions in which they competed. Some of them were beautiful race cars while others had a lot of dents and dings. I remember all of them having a whole lot of character. Personally, this is my favorite car of all time, and I also believe it is the best car ever built. You could use it for a family car, you could win just about any kind of race with it, and you could even win a demolition derby in this car. It was a very versatile automobile. It was mechanically simple, relatively easy to work on, and parts were cheap.

Chevrolet introduced its now-famous small-block V-8 engine in 1955, a 265 cubic inch power plant. This was the first V-8 engine available in a Chevrolet since 1918. Prior to 1955, Chevrolet offered an in-line 235 cubic inch displacement in-line 6-cylinder engine only. The lightweight Chevy Bel Air, in concert with the powerful overhead valve V-8 small-block, thrust the company into the arena of competitive motorsports. With this car, Chevrolet became a formidable force in stock car racing. In 1956 the Chevy Bel Air was lengthened in front and the body was given a more squarish treatment. Under the hood, horsepower was increased and a Chevrolet Corvette engine was made available for the first time in a full-size passenger car. In NASCAR racing, the 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air 283 cubic inch engine with its increased horsepower gave the car an extraordinary advantage over the smaller 265 V-8 of the earlier models. NASCAR held the competition, especially the 1955-1957 Chevrolets to a cubic inch restriction because of all the races the ’57 Chevys were winning. This restriction stayed with these models until they were grandfathered out of the lower NASCAR divisions in the 1970s, when the ’57 Chevys were still beating virtually all in their class.

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1957 Chevy Bel Air 2-Door

1957 Chevy 2-Door

1957 Chevy 2-Door 

1957 Chevy 2-Door

1957 Chevy 2-Door 

1957 Chevy 2-Door Hardtop

1957 Chevy 2-Door Hardtop

1957 Chevy 2-Door Hardtop

1957 Chevy 2-Door Hardtop



1957 Chevy 2-Door Sport Coupe

1957 Chevy 2-Door Sport Coupe

1957 Chevy 4-Door Hardtop

1957 Chevy 4-Door Hardtop

1957 Chevy 210 Club Coupe

1957 Chevy 210 Club Coupe

1957 Chevy 210 Club Coupe

1957 Chevy 210 Club Coupe

1957 Chevy 210 Sedan

1957 Chevy 210 Sedan



1957 Chevy 210 Sedan

1957 Chevy 210 Sedan

1957 Chevy 210 Wagon

1957 Chevy 210 Wagon

1957 Chevy Convertible

1957 Chevy Convertible

1957 Chevy Convertible

1957 Chevy Convertible

1957 Chevy Convertible

1957 Chevy Convertible

The 1957 Chevy Bel Air won all three possible NASCAR drivers championships as well as 25 NASCAR convertible races, more than any other car. The 1957 Chevy Bel Air also won 49 NASCAR Grand National races (the most of any car in NASCAR history), and won the Southern 500 in 1957, 1958, and 1959 becoming the only car to win the 500 three times. The earliest victory for a ’57 Chevy in a titled NASCAR Grand National Series race was the 1957 Virginia 500 which was shortened due to an extremely violent accident.

The 283 cubic inch GM engine was placed from the factory behind the centerline of the front wheels of the 1957 Chevy. This placement made the car handle better on dirt tracks and paved short tracks as well. This mechanical advantage, coupled with the reliable 283 cubic inch power plant earned the ’57 Chevy the nickname “king of the short tracks”. With the fuel injected 283, the one-fifty model two door sedan version, called the “Black Widow”, was the first car that was outlawed by NASCAR as it proved almost unbeatable on virtually all the NASCAR tracks in early 1957. NASCAR wasted no time in outlawing the Black Widow. After the ’57 Chevy was grandfathered out from the NASCAR Grand National division in 1960 and relegated to the lower local track sportsman divisions, they were the car to beat for years. The ’57 Chevys were subsequently used up in stock car racing at a very high rate. Surprisingly enough, the ’57 Chevy also won a disproportionate amount of demolition derbies as well. The car was difficult to disable due to the fact that the radiator was set further back from the grill. The additional advantage of having the last double lined trunk, coupled with a strong frame, made it a surprisingly common winner in the demolition derbies during the late 1960s and early 1970s. By the 1970s, the ’57 Chevy became a collector car.

The 1957 Chevy Bel Air was introduced by Chevrolet in September of 1956. This classic car icon was made available in three series models: the one-fifty, the midrange two-ten, and the upscale Bel Air. The Nomad was the two-door station wagon version of the 1957 Chevy Bel Air. Chevrolet also made a version of the two-ten 2-door sedans that featured an upscale trim option. This version was known as the “Delray”.

The 1957 Chevy Bel Air is a popular collector’s car and is often sought after. Some collectors restore the ’57 Chevy to its original condition while others choose to modify the car in some way.

General Motors brass had initially sought a completely new design for the 1957 Chevrolet, but it was decided to continue to use the 1955-1956 design for another year due to delays in production. Chevrolet’s chief engineer Ed Cole directed a sequence of improvements that substantially boosted the price of the automobile. These improvements included a newly designed dashboard, a sealed cowl, and air ducts were moved into the headlight pods. The relocation of the air ducts resulted in the distinguished chrome stainless headlight which aided in making the 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air a classic. Earlier models used fifteen-inch wheels. These were replaced with fourteen-inch wheels which lowered the stance of this model compared to previous models. The car had a broader appearance when viewed from the front due to a new wide grille design, and the famous 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air tail fins provided a wider look for the rear of the car. These models were trimmed in gold: the chevrons on the front fenders, grille, trunk script, and hood were all beautifully rendered in anodized shiny gold. The ’57 Chevrolet base engine was known as the Blue Flame Six, an inline 6-cylinder power plant. The engine was more fuel efficient and ran smoother than the V-8. Carburetion was provided by a solitary one-barrel carburetor.

1957 Chevy Dash

1957 Chevy Dash – Click to Enlarge

1957 Chevy Dash

1957 Chevy Dash – Click to Enlarge

1957 Chevy Dash

1957 Chevy Dash – Click to Enlarge

1957 Chevy Dash

1957 Chevy Dash – Click to Enlarge

1957 Chevy Dash

1957 Chevy Dash – Click to Enlarge

Body style options for this model included:

  • The two-door Sport Coupe has no post between the door windows when the windows are rolled down. This car is sometimes referred to as a two-door hardtop.
  • The two-door Utility Sedan which has a cargo shelf instead of a back seat.
  • The two-door and four-door sedans can be identified by the posts between the front and back windows.
  • The 210 two-door sedan with deluxe interior was called the Delray club coupe.
  • The Sport Sedan is also known as a four-door hardtop.
  • The rudimentary Handyman station wagon had an upright B-pillar and a C-pillar. The four-door wagons only have one pillar. This body style was only made available in the 150 and the 210 trims.
  • The top-of-the-line Bel Air Nomad station wagon featured a sloped pillar behind the hardtop door and sliding rear door windows.
  • The four-door station wagon that seated nine passengers was called Beauville for the Bela Air version and Townsman in the 150 series.
  • The four-door, six-passenger station wagon.
  • The convertible.

In contrast to most of the competition, the 1957 Chevy four-door hardtop included a fortified rear roof design that provided additional rigidity as well as a distinct silhouette appearance. Some referred to the 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air as a “Baby Cadillac” due to the fact that the styling was similar to Cadillacs of the time. Cars with the V8 power plant got a large gold “V” under the script on the rear deck lid and hood.

The two-door station wagon was not available with the same trim as the Bel Air except as the upscale Nomad model which had its own exclusive styling, mainly in the areas of the rear deck and the roof line.

There were four standard engine selections available for the ’57 Chevy.

  • A 235.5 cubic inch in-line 6-cylinder engine that produced 140 horsepower
  • A 265 cubic inch V-8 Turbo-Fire power plant that produced 162 horsepower
  • A 283 cubic inch V-8 Turbo-Fire engine with a two-barrel carburetor that produced 185 horsepower
  • A 283 cubic inch V-8 Super Turbo-Fire engine that produced 220 horsepower

Chevrolet also offered an additional engine option that featured the renowned Duntov cam, solid lifters, and two four barrel carburetors. This power plant produced 270 horsepower. Chevrolet first offered the option of fuel injection in 1957. A 283 cubic inch fuel injected engine equipped with the same Duntov cam and solid lifters which developed 283 horsepower. Chevrolet continued to offer fuel injection as an alternative for the duration of the early 1960s; however, the majority of the mechanics of that particular time weren’t familiar with fuel injection technology and didn’t have the practical experience needed to keep the engines operating properly. This fact led most consumers to opt for conventionally carbureted engines.

1957 Chevy Delray

1957 Chevy Delray – Click to Enlarge

1957 Chevy Delray Front

1957 Chevy Delray Front – Click to Enlarge

Fuel Injected 1957 Chevy

Fuel Injected 1957 Chevy Bel Air

1957 Chevy Hardtop

1957 Chevy Hardtop – Click to Enlarge

1957 Chevy Hardtop

1957 Chevy Hardtop – Click to Enlarge

There were numerous options offered on the 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air. Most of the options offered by Chevrolet were designed to make the car more luxurious and comfortable. The choices included:

  • Power brakes and power steering.
  • An AM radio that boasted the capability to seek out a signal and a power antenna. The ‘57 Chevy radio utilized vacuum tubes which required a plate voltage of only 12 votes. Additionally, a transistor was used in the output stage of the amplifier. This technology lowered the electrical power depletion on the battery to a negligible amount when the engine was off. Using the radio with traditional vacuum tubes for prolonged periods of time would drain the battery to the degree that it could not start the car.
  • Power windows and seats were offered.
  • Air conditioning was available but wasn’t popular with consumers.
  • A padded dashboard was available.
  • Chevrolet also offered something called an “autotronic eye.” This was a gadget that was bolted onto the dashboard and sensed the light from oncoming traffic, dimming the headlights automatically.
  • Chevrolet also offered the option of a rear speaker. This speaker called for the installation of a separate volume knob in the dashboard, beside the radio. This rear speaker was promoted as rendering “surround” sound.
  • Another unique option was an electric razor which was connected to the dashboard.
  • The dashboard clock was self-wound as well as self-correcting. The clock’s rate was regulated by moving the hands to correct the time. The dashboard clock was exceptionally accurate after a few corrections.
  • The traffic light viewer was another unique dashboard-mounted gadget in the ’57 Chevy. This simple item consisted of a ribbed plastic visor that was mounted just over the speedometer. The 1957 Chevy roof made it difficult for the driver to see overhead traffic lights due to the fact that it extends so far forward. Chevrolet’s answer was the traffic light viewer. This device caught the reflection of the traffic lights. The driver only needed to look at the traffic light viewer. There was no need for the driver to lean forward in order to see the traffic light beyond the edge of the roof.

In 1957, Chevrolet began to incorporate basic safety functions and features such as padded dash boards, crash proof door locks, seat belts and shoulder harnesses, and a steering wheel that was designed for safety and featured a recessed hub.

Chevrolet first offered the Turboglide transmission, a turbine transmission, in 1957. Buick had first developed the design concept of the Turboglide with the Buick Dynaflow transmission. The Turboglide was a complex transmission that carried with its complexity a reputation of being unreliable. Most consumers who opted for an automatic transmission sidestepped the Turboglide and gave preference to the Powerglide two-speed transmission that Chevrolet had provided since 1950. The Turboglide never recovered from its bad reputation and Chevrolet discontinued the option in 1961. Manual transmissions were to column shifted three-speed systems with synchromesh in second and third gears only.  There was also a four speed manual transmission available for an additional $188 charge. This transmission was only available as a dealer installed option. A 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air geared up with this transmission paired with the 270 horsepower engine and limited slip differential was the car to beat on the street as well as the drag strip into the mid 1960s.

From a sales standpoint, the ’57 Bel Air wasn’t as prevalent as the manufacturer had hoped. While the car was very popular, General Motor’s biggest competitor, Ford Motor Company, outsold Chevrolet in 1957 for the first time since 1935. It is believed that the main reason for the sales transformation to Ford was the fact that the 1957 Chevy Bel Air had the new tubeless tires, and was the very first automobile to have them. Consumers were skeptical of tubeless tires, and thus turned to Ford for their new car purchase. Ford’s sales numbers were also aided by the launch of a brand new body style that was wider, longer, and lower than the preceding year’s offerings. However, the ’57 Ford is not aggressively sought after by today’s collectors as is the ’57 Chevy Bel Air, with the possible exception of the rare retractable hard top model.

1957 Chevy Hardtop Rear View

1957 Chevy Hardtop Rear View – Click to Enlarge

1957 Chevy Nomad

1957 Chevy Nomad – Click to Enlarge

1957 Chevy Nomad Rear View

1957 Chevy Nomad Rear View – Click to Enlarge

1957 Chevy Original Interior

1957 Chevy Original Interior – Click to Enlarge

1957 Chevy Sport Coupe

1957 Chevy Sport Coupe – Click to Enlarge

1957 was the last year of the “shoebox” style Chevrolet. In 1958, Chevrolet introduced the significantly heavier and larger “X” framed Chevrolet. The relatively light weight of the 1957 Bel Air, paired with its perfect size in comparison to later model full-sized cars, has made it a favorite choice among all types of racers. The engine compartment was large enough to fit General Motor’s big block power plants, initially launched in 1958 and made popular in the 1960s by the Beach Boys in the pop tune “409”. The comparatively simple mechanical characteristics of the ’57 Chevy made it straightforward and relatively simple to maintain, customize, and upgrade with equipment such as air conditioning and disc brakes.

The launch of the Chevrolet big block engine, however, was not what made the 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air popular on the auto racing front; it was the launch of the low-priced, over-the-counter accessibility of the 327 cubic inch, 365 horsepower small block engine that was the breakthrough that made both the 1955 and 1957 Chevys able to beat the Ford hotrods with their flathead V-8s. This was a significant turning point in American racing of all kinds: Chevrolet had wrested control of the racing scene from Ford.

In the early 1990s, the value of properly restored 1957 Chevy convertibles was as high as $100,000. Various companies began selling restoration and reproduction replacement parts. Despite the fact that those peaks gave way considerably after 1992, the 1957 Chevy Bel Air has held its appeal as well as its economic value and is now positioned to surpass the previous peak.

Jul 022013
 
1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz

1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz

Cadillac designed and manufactured the Eldorado model from 1953 until 2002. The name for this model may have been based on the Spanish words “el dorado”, meaning “gilded one.” There is also a French resort community named Eldorado located on the Bay of Biscayne, north of the the Spanish border.

In the late 1950s, the US automobile market was filled with flamboyant cars with large, sharp tail fins and a lot of chrome. The 1959 Cadillac led the way in the big fin realm, and also featured distinctive twin bullet tail lights. It seems these large fins were a direct response to the large fins that first appeared on the market on 1957 Chrysler automobiles. In all fairness, Cadillac was the first to design a car with fins, and I suppose they felt that they should win the fin wars, and so they did with the 1959 Cadillac Eldorado.

There can be no doubt that the world of aviation had a profound influence on the designers at Cadillac. Cadillac was the first to introduce fins on a car, with the P-38 style tail fins of the late 1940s models. In 1959, airplanes had become an every-day thing, and the space program and rockets were now big news. The 1959 Cadillac Eldorado boasted the tallest tail fin ever found on a production vehicle at 45 inches in height, and the bullet-style twin tail lights, all reminiscent of rocketry.

Hand-built by Paninfarina in Italy, this model marked a significant change in style for the Cadillac. There were two different roof lines and roof pillar designs. The grill featured a jeweled styling with matching deck lid beauty panels, and of course there were the distinctive tail lights and tail fins. The 1959 Cadillac was Americana — it reflected the self-satisfaction and excitement of great success through hard work, all wrapped up in American steel and chrome, rolling on wide white wall tires.

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1959 Cadillac Eldorado Seville

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1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz

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1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz

1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz

1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz

1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz

1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz



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1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz

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1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz

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1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz

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1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz

1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz

1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz



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1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz

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Those Very Special Fins and Tail Lights

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Biarritz Interior

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Fins and Tail Lights

1959 Cadillac Eldorado Seville

1959 Cadillac Eldorado Seville

All of the 1959 Cadillac Eldorados had a three-deck, jeweled rear grill insert, and featured a 130 inch wheelbase. Other features varied on the different models. The Biarritz and the Seville featured full-length body sill highlights that curved over the rear fender profile and back along the belt line. These models had the Eldorado name in chrome just behind the front wheel.

Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz convertibles were among the most expensive luxury cars made by the manufacturer in 1959 with a whopping sticker price of $7401. This high price translated in to low sales numbers for Cadillac. There were only 1320 of these (the Biarritz) produced, making them a bit rare and valuable in today’s collector market. General Motors also introduced the brand spanking new four-door Eldorado Brougham hardtop, also hand-built in Italy, and priced at an astounding $13,075. There were only 99 of these sold. Oddly enough, the Brougham had unique tail fins that were much lower than those on the other models.

The 1959 Cadillac Eldorado featured three Rochester two-barrel carburetors and a 390 cubic inch engine that delivered a steady 345 horsepower. This model came standard with power brakes, power steering, three-speed Hydra-Matic automatic transmission, back-up lights, two-speed windshield wipers, vanity mirror, six-way power seats, power windows, fog lights, remote control deck lid, radio with rear speaker and power antenna, power vent windows, air suspension, electric door locks, and license plate frames. Other options were available including air conditioning for an additional $474, cruise control for $97, tinted glass for $97, and bucket seats could be installed in the Biarritz convertible for no additional charge.

The 1959 Cadillac Eldorado was fitted with drum brakes that sometimes wore out pretty fast. It took a lot of friction to bring the big, heavy car to a stop. If the driver needed to make a U-turn, a parking lot might be required. The turning radius on these Eldorados was 24 feet.

These big cars seated six people comfortably. The head lights would turn on automatically at dusk, and switch from high beam to low beam automatically for oncoming traffic. They air suspension provided a comfortable, soft ride, and significant body roll when cornering. The big engine would take the huge car to sixty miles per hour in eleven seconds. These cars were built for style and comfort, not for sport.

Cadillac designed the 1959 Eldorado, but contracted the Italian Pininfarina to assemble the machines, and the cars were hand-built in Italy. Most experts are of the opinion that the build quality of the 1959 Cadillac Eldorados was not up to the standards of the Detroit hand-built models from previous years. These models do seem to be less desirable although they retain a high collector value, the Biarritz in particular. The current average value for a Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz in good condition is around $125,000.

Jun 302013
 
austin-mini-cooper-s-1963

1963 Austin Mine Cooper S – Click to Enlarge

The Mini was a very slight, economical automobile that was produced by the British Motor Corporation. BMC and its successors manufactured the Mini from 1959 until 2000. The original Mini is a British icon of the 1960s. The original Mini featured a front-wheel-drive design that saved space, allowing eighty percent of the car’s floor space to be used for cargo and passengers. This design influenced an entire generation of automobile manufacturers.

The two-door Mini was designed by Sir Alec Issigonis, and was manufactured in England, Australia, and later in Belgium, Italy, Chile, Spain, Portugal, Malta, South Africa, Uruguay, Yugoslavia, and Venezuela. There were several updates and variations on the original Mini, including a pickup truck, an estate car, a van, and the Mini Moke, which was similar to a Jeep. Among the different versions of the Mini were the sportier variations: The Cooper S and the Mini Cooper.

When the Mini was first introduced in August of 1959, it was promoted under the names Austin Seven and Morris Mini-Minor. The Austin Seven was renamed to the Austin Mini for 1962.

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1959 Morris Mini-Minor – Click to Enlarge

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1959 Morris Mini-Minor Interior – Click to Enlarge

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Cross Section of a 1959 Mini – Click to Enlarge

1967 Austin Mini Cooper S

1967 Austin Mini Cooper S – Click to Enlarge

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1964 M.C. S – 1965 Monte Carlo Rally Winner



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1966 Austin Mini Cooper S – Click to Enlarge

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1976 Austin Mini Cooper – Click to Enlarge

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1966 Austin Mini Cooper MK 1 – Click to Enlarge

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Under The Hood of a 1973 Austin Mini Cooper

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Another Beautiful Austin Mini Cooper



Red Austin Mini Cooper

Red Austin Mini Cooper – Click to Enlarge

Red Austin Mini Cooper S

Red Austin Mini Cooper S – Click to Enlarge

Austin Mini Cooper

Austin Mini Cooper – Click to Enlarge

Austin Mini Cooper

Austin Mini Cooper – Click to Enlarge

Austin Mini Cooper S

Austin Mini Cooper S – Click to Enlarge

The original Mini was equipped with a British Motor Corporation A-Series four-cylinder water-cooled engine. Since the Mini was a front-wheel-drive car, the engine placement departed from convention and was mounted transversely. The four-speed transmission was in the oil pan, lubricated by the engine oil. Nearly every small front-whee-drive car that has been manufactured since has used a very similar arrangement except that the transmission is in a separate enclosure and uses it’s own lubrication oil.

Sir Alec Issigonis had an associate by the name of John Cooper who owned the Cooper Car Company. Cooper designed and built Formula One and rally race cars. Cooper saw potential for the Mini as a competitive racing car. Initially, Issigonis refused to place the Mini into the role of a performance car. Cooper appealed to the management of the British Motor Corporation, and subsequently won his appeal. Issigonis and Cooper joined forces and the result was the Mini Cooper. The Morris Mini Cooper and the Austin Mini Cooper made their debut in 1961.

The original Morris Mini-Minor boasted am 848 cubic centimeter engine. This engine was given a longer stroke to increase its capacity to 997 cubic centimeters. This boosted the horsepower from 34 to 55. The car also featured a gearbox with a closer ratio, a racing tuned engine, front disc brakes, and twin Skinners Union carburetors (a sidedraught constant depression type carburetor). One thousand of these Mini Coopers were built to race in Group 2 rally racing. Rhodesian rally driver John Love was the first non-British driver to win the British Saloon Car Championship driving a Mini Cooper in 1962.

The Mini Cooper S was a more powerful version that was released in 1963. The Mini Cooper S boasted a 1071 cubic centimeter engine with a bore of 70.61 millimeters. It also had a nitride steel crank shaft and a strengthened bottom end. These advances allowed further tuning. The car also had servo-assisted disc brakes. There were 4030 Mini Cooper S cars built before the model was updated in August of 1964. There were two Mini Cooper S models that were built specifically for circuit racing. The smaller 970 cubic centimeter model was for the under 1000 cubic centimeter class, and the larger 1275 cubic centimeter model was designed for the under 1300 cubic centimeter class. Both of these models were also made available to the general public, but the model with the smaller engine wasn’t very popular and was soon discontinued. The 1275 cubic centimeter model was produced until 1971.

The Mini Cooper S was a successful rally racing car, winning the Monte Carlo Rally in 1964, 1965, and 1967. The Mini Cooper S also finished first, second, and third in the 1966 rally, but they were disqualified by French judges for a variable resistance headlight dimming circuit in place of the dual filament lamps. The Citroen DS that was given the win in 1966 competed with illegal white headlights but was not disqualified. Pauli Toivonen, the driver of the Citroen, reluctantly accepted the trophy but vowed that he would never drive for Citroen again. The British Motor Corporation received significant publicity for the controversial disqualification.

The very last Mini, a red Cooper Sport, was built on October 4, 2000. It was presented to the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust in December of 2000. After all of the remaining Minis had been sold, the name ‘Mini’ reverted to the ownership of BMW. The BMW Mini is technically unrelated to the original BMC Mini but does have the front-wheel-drive, transverse mounted four-cylinder engine, and the “bulldog” stance of the original MIni.

 Posted by at 8:09 pm