Hello Friends and Family,

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

Barrett-Jackson Auto Auction, Part 9

The classic 1957 Chevy (seen last week) gave way to the totally redesigned '58. At the time, I thought they had produced a ruinous design. The passage of time has not done much to assuage my feelings. Just look — it gives me the impression that they took those cool fins, melted them and folded them into the fenders. However, I guess someone liked the design because Chevy retook the sales title back from Ford, who held it the previous year.

Curiously, the fins returned in the 1959 and 1960 Chevy models before disappearing for good.

One big development was the introduction of dual headlights. My impression of Chevy's design is a bigger, more aggressive car. It also incorporated a good design principal of repetition — dual headlights complemented with dual running lights. Still lots of chrome.

By 1958, most of the hood ornaments had diminished or disappeared altogether. Surprisingly, this one is found on a Nash Metropolitan Coupe.

While most U.S. automakers were following a "bigger-is-better" design philosophy, the Nash Motor Company targeted consumers looking for a more economical choice. At the time, the Metropolitan was considered an "economy car". Today we might call it a "subcompact".

This brings back a pleasant memory of my most recent stay on Lana`i. In front of the Dis N Dat shop sits an almost identical vehicle. If you would like to reminisce, click here and scroll down.

By 1954, Nash had merged with Hudson to create the American Motors Corporation. Subsequently, in the 1980s, Renault purchased a controlling interest in AMC and eventually sold the company to Chrysler in 1987. AMC's only surviving product line is the Jeep.

Ford introduced the Galaxie in model year 1959, proclaiming that year's lineup "The world's most beautifully proportioned cars" and the Galaxie to exude "Thunderbird Elegance".

According to Wikipedia, "That year, the Galaxie range of six models were simply upscale versions of Ford's long-running Ford Fairlane with a revised rear roofline that mimicked the concurrent Thunderbird. In keeping with the era, the 1959 Galaxie was a chrome and stainless steel-bedecked, two-tone colored vehicle. It was the very image of late-1950s American automobile excess, albeit somewhat tamer than its Chevrolet and Plymouth competitors."

Well, at least Cadillac had not abandoned its excessive fins of that era. And they added jet flame taillights to boot. I find them amusing and not very attractive. If I had been wealthy enough at that time to afford a Cadillac, I doubt that my sense of design would allow me to buy one — Cadillac prestige notwithstanding. However, it is still fun to look back.

To be continued...

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com