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All this talk of American iron reminds me how much I’ve come to appreciate the design of 50’s and 60’s US cars since being able to regularly attend Cars and Coffee type events in SoCal. Or Donut Derelicts in Huntington Beach, if anyone is in that area on a Saturday morning it’s a must do at least once. So much excess, so much chrome, interiors that are works of art.
 
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I agree. I had also heard that GM killed Pontiac, as they decided one of their lines had to go. It came down to Pontiac or Buick. And like you said, in China if you own a Buick you are in high cotton. No longer having Pontiac as their more youth oriented sporty option, that leaves a pretty large void in GMs line up. Pontiac always had slick styling (altho went to FWD). eg: Gran Prix, etc. In the mid-'80s I was considering two cars to buy new. The RWD turbo-charged Ford Thunderbird vs the Pontiac Gran Prix. I was torn between the sweet styling of the Pontiac and the RWD performance of the T-Bird. Never quite made my mind up... so didn't buy either in the end.

The later GTOs and G6 Pontiacs offered great RWD performance... but the styling suffered a ton on both.

The Cadillac Catera (based on an Opel) convinced GM that a more performance based mid-size model had a market over here. The styling was a bit stoggy, but sales were proof that they had a fresh market. That led to a major upgrade with the introduction of the CTS and CTS-V models as a Cadillac-worthy replacement to the Catera. At some point, I might look into a used CTS Coupe for myself.
 

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Ages ago I owned a '57 Cadillac Coupe de Ville. Still a beautiful car today. Back then the tail lights and rear end treatments were as important as the grilles. Today, nearly all of the tail light treatments look like they were picked out of a catalog that only offered a couple of styles. Just kind of stuck on there with no thought as to how they blended with the body shape. Over the '50s and early '60s, the designers must have had fun hiding the gas filler ports. Pity the poor gas station attendant that had to keep up with where they had been hidden on the new models. On my old '57 Caddy, if you look at the tail light/fin treatment... we called that 'the Martian'. The two round tail lights were its eyes, the exhaust outlets in the rear bumper was its mouth (with a surprised expression), and the reflector was its nose. The fin above made it a more alien than a human face. When you pushed his nose, the tail light pod would rotate upward to reveal the gas cap. Those ancient cars also came with signal-seeking radios (Wonder-Bar), and automatic headlight dimmers. So considerably ahead of their time. I put a set of new radials on the '57 and added stiffer springs. Huge difference in handling improvement. No longer a squishy land yatch in the corners.

There was a potential drawback to the auto headlight dimmer system tho. As a teenager driving my parents Caddy up the road... I came up behind a white pickup with the tailgate up. As I approached, the reflection of my headlights off the white tailgate told the system an oncoming car was coming. So it dimmed the lights. As soon as the lights went to dim the system read that as that car had passed, an switched back to high. beams. That triggered the 'eye' to dip the lights again. High, low, high, low... blink, blink, blink! The driver in the truck assumed I was signaling him to pull over. When I then flew by him to avoid an explanation, he must have been a bit pissed at me.

When you encounter these '50s and early '60s car at a car show, you should ask where they hid the gas cap. '56 and '57 Chevys, and Cadillacs from the early '50s thru mid '60s are a start.
 

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Peter you're right about the hidden gas fillers... and the hood latch releases were fun to try to locate, too! American cars at that time all pretty much had external hood latch releases, not inside the car.
 

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Spiders: 1971 red, 1971 white, 1973 yellow, 1974 Silver, 1980 Brown, 1982 Blue, 1992 and 93 Green
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I actually like the styling of 50's and 60's domestic cars. It showed the world that we were world leaders. Excess ... Yeah, we didn't have to be efficient, because we had so much! Seas of chrome ... the shinier the better! Big land yachts with a super smooth ride - we were cruising on our newly built interstate system - back in the late 80's to early 90's, I did a study on the Federal Highway Act of 1956. Until I looked into it, I didn't know we had an Act to complete and interconnect our highways - I always assumed there was one. I just took it for granted!

As a nation, we were doing incredible things. From building our interstate highway system to putting a man on the moon, we were something! The style of consumer products showed our confidence. Hey, we just won the war!

Fast forward to today and our autos have no personality. My better half is great source for me to get a feel for a design of a car. She can't tell a Honda from a Chevy, but she knows what looks good and what looks plain Jane. Most cars look like a Toyota or Honda to her. Not bad, but not interesting to look at. She loves our Alfa's and thinks the Fiat 850 is cute. She really likes our Boxster, but isn't a fan of our MR2 Spyder. She doesn't like any of our Volvos and thinks it doesn't show my personality - to her, a Volvo is the ultimate appliance ... dull with zero personality! Even if one of our cars is a Volvo 850R wagon! When I bring a trade in home, most times her response is of no interest. However, when I brought a Lexus CT200h home, she fell in love - it's now her daily driver! She once told me that the Porsche 944/968 looks like a Toyota! Being in the business, I become blind to vehicles and when I see something I think is gorgeous, most times it's because it's aesthetically appealing, but also different - every day, it's a sea of Camry, Corolla, Civic, Accord, Prius, RAV4, CRV, Tacoma, Highlander, Pilot, RX350, ES350, NX300, 330i, 530i, X1, X3, X5, C Class, GLC, GLE, E Class, A4, Q3, Q5, Q7, Silverado, F150, Ram 1500, etc. All the same! I actually do like the Toyota 4Runner - it's unique looking, quality built (all made in Japan), looks rugged, drives great, comfortable, roomy and has nice technology. But it's thirsty! And you have to climb in, so on Monday after a long hike on Sunday, I sometimes don't want to climb up and in!

Too much ranting - thanks for reading.
 
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