Significant car designs - Vintage Mustang Forums
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post #1 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-12-2016, 01:11 PM Thread Starter
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Significant car designs

Been a car fanatic for 60 years. Got to thinking what IMO really significant overall designs stand out. Not talking big sales, hot car etc. Here's my thinking.

o #1 Olds Toronado front wheel drive.

o #2 Dodge/Plymouth minivan

o #3 Cab forward Dodge Intrepid.

I'm a lifelong Ford guy but these are my top 3. Many will chime in on bad points. So what? These IMO were significant standout designs.

The Toronado was a modern day (at the time) Olds version of the Cord. Front wheel drive was far out back then. Lets try it on a luxury personal competing with the Big Bird.

Iococco's minivan is given credit by many for saving Chrysler.

The 1993 Intrepid was/is IMO an incredible overall design. If it had Camry reliability it would be Iconic!

The Taurus IMO also is in the top ten.

IMO much as I loved the 55-57 T Bird, the 65-73 Mustang they were nothing special from a design standpoint. I would put the Model T in this catagory, not the 32 Ford (all time iconic classic) but only the engine was really new.

Opinions, additions?


Slim

The 49 Hudson fits but it was before the mid 50s I was referring to.


My '64 1/2 vert. Ordered May '64. D code 4 speed, handling package, caspian blue, accent group, Ford blue manual top.

'68 vert. driver. Owned since Apr '78. C code AT, AC, PS, P disc B, PT lime gold, standard black interior and top. NOS RF fender and left quarter.New top and folding glass.

Last edited by slim; 09-12-2016 at 01:17 PM.
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post #2 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-12-2016, 01:28 PM
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If we're going back far enough, the Stout Scarab had plenty of innovations. It was basically the first minivan and had a table and chairs, it was an aluminum unibody vehicle with coil springs and independent suspension along with a rear mounted engine. That was in the early 30s.

1970 Mach 1 M code
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post #3 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-12-2016, 01:38 PM Thread Starter
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Sorry JD08 was trying to be specific my days, last 60 years. From 1890- 1955 lotta radical/original design occurred.


My '64 1/2 vert. Ordered May '64. D code 4 speed, handling package, caspian blue, accent group, Ford blue manual top.

'68 vert. driver. Owned since Apr '78. C code AT, AC, PS, P disc B, PT lime gold, standard black interior and top. NOS RF fender and left quarter.New top and folding glass.
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post #4 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-12-2016, 01:56 PM
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Well, if you are talking post 1955, that rules out Hudson's step down design. First car manufacturer to use the unibody design with a perimeter frame.
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post #5 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-12-2016, 02:32 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
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Well, if you are talking post 1955, that rules out Hudson's step down design. First car manufacturer to use the unibody design with a perimeter frame.
Notice I said Hudson would be one of my picks but was pre 50. That step down Hudson was way ahead of it's time and the Hornet twin carb 6 dominated stock car racing when actual stock cars were raced ! Hudson Hornets were beating Olds Rockets!


My '64 1/2 vert. Ordered May '64. D code 4 speed, handling package, caspian blue, accent group, Ford blue manual top.

'68 vert. driver. Owned since Apr '78. C code AT, AC, PS, P disc B, PT lime gold, standard black interior and top. NOS RF fender and left quarter.New top and folding glass.
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post #6 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-12-2016, 03:18 PM
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Seems like most entries involve packaging (FWD/Minivan).

I'll stick to straight design and start with the 50's.

'57 Oldsmobile. Take the timeless proportions of a Tri-5 Chevy and add the sophistication and rocket ship inspired elegance of the Olds and you get this:


Bullet Bird. The 61-63 T-Bird is a thing of beauty and one of the first "factory customs". Put some wheels on it, maybe lower it a tad and you're done.


Consider that it has one of the coolest interiors ever, and you're in thunderchicken heaven.


Last entry for now, continuing with the factory custom thing: 63-65 Buick Riviera. Just plain pretty.


(I swear, it's just coincidence that all of these examples are black.
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post #7 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-12-2016, 03:42 PM
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Hands down.
#1.) FORD. A car for everyone. The Model T changed the world.
#2.) TUCKER. Unreal how many innovations. Decades ahead of everyone.
#3.) TESLA.

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post #8 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-12-2016, 03:45 PM
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If we are going to be objective about this then Japan enters the equation. These three had tremendous impacts on the industry as a whole; Honda CVCC, Acura Legend, Lexus LS400. I chose that particular pic of the CVCC because, well, just because.
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post #9 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-12-2016, 06:56 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks people! One problem. I was asking for opinions of autos POST 50s of significant different design. Used the Toronado as an example. Corvette and small T Bird back then
were just small versions, sometimes restyled ordinary design. Mustang was just restyled Falcon.

Model T was pre 50s. ratlee got it!

IMO I grew up in a great time for an automobile fanatic. The 50s and 60s spawned lots of really great styled and muscle cars.

62 Torinado front wheel drive V8 personal luxury car was a ground breaker.

85 (?) Mopar minivans were ground breakers (the Ford and GM small vans were small awkward versions of full size vans).

93 Intreped was IMO a clean paper design of 4 dr front wheel drive family sedan. IMO you can stand a 93 Intrepid ES in with 93-2016 sedans (that's 33 years) and it's still
contemporary or a lot better in many respects!

The SUV IMO goes back to the Jeep of WWII so doesn't count.

There were many great looking autos like the Riviara, Big Birds, loved several Olds and Pontiac but what was really unique other than styling.


My '64 1/2 vert. Ordered May '64. D code 4 speed, handling package, caspian blue, accent group, Ford blue manual top.

'68 vert. driver. Owned since Apr '78. C code AT, AC, PS, P disc B, PT lime gold, standard black interior and top. NOS RF fender and left quarter.New top and folding glass.

Last edited by slim; 09-12-2016 at 07:03 PM.
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post #10 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-12-2016, 08:08 PM
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1981 Cadillac V8-6-4. Brilliant idea that has come into widespread use. Problem was that 1981 technology just wasn't there yet.

Cadillac also gave us the first U. S. production car with air suspension. I'm pretty sure one of the European cars had it before then, but do French cars really count?
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post #11 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-12-2016, 08:10 PM
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Oh! How about the Ranchero? That was 57 I think and later copiedby GM in the form of So Camino and GMC Sprint.
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post #12 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-12-2016, 10:37 PM
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Well, since you asked....

1. '58 Thunderbird. Inspired the "Personal Luxury Car" concept.
2. '65 Mustang. Inspired the "Pony Car" concept.
3. '61 Econoline Inspired the domestic "Van" concept and, if you think of it, the "Minivan", too. It really was the '50 Volkswagen Type 2, but since that exceeds the 60 year spec.....
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post #13 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-12-2016, 11:21 PM
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"Just a restyled Falcon."

That one cut pretty deep.
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post #14 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-13-2016, 10:04 AM Thread Starter
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The 60s seemed to be a period (American cars) of bigger is better. Used to be incorporated in many ads. Longer and wider! I had a 63 Pontiac Star Chief. The trunk was so long a full size mattress would lay flat in it! Most cars looked like they took a 50s chassis and plopped a body on that was a foot longer and six inches wider on it. Looked to me like the car had little roller skate wheels.

In the 60s Pontiac introduced Wide Track Pontiac. The wheels were out where they should be. IMO the 60s was the time Pontiac was the leader of the GM fleet. My Dad (folks) had a dark blue 66 Pontiac Catalina. Flat out gorgeous car. Plus Pontiac had performance cars.

Japan car companies got the US leaning to the left (not politics) and they went right! We were going bigger on the outside, smaller on the inside, the heck with quality and economy. The Jap cars were small outside, ok inside, economical and high quality. Notably the early Honda and Toyota cars were worse rust buckets than American cars. People in the rust belt were used to rust. Quality, economy and reliability were and are important.

By the way. Considering Tucker. Just what was it that was ahead of it's time? Splain please. I mean in fact, not sales talk. IMO Preston Tucker was similar to the carpet bagger in Music Man.


My '64 1/2 vert. Ordered May '64. D code 4 speed, handling package, caspian blue, accent group, Ford blue manual top.

'68 vert. driver. Owned since Apr '78. C code AT, AC, PS, P disc B, PT lime gold, standard black interior and top. NOS RF fender and left quarter.New top and folding glass.

Last edited by slim; 09-13-2016 at 10:08 AM.
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post #15 of 32 (permalink) Old 09-13-2016, 10:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slim View Post
Thanks people! One problem. I was asking for opinions of autos POST 50s of significant different design.
Fair enough, sorry I colored outside the lines on that one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by slim View Post
93 Intreped was IMO a clean paper design of 4 dr front wheel drive family sedan. IMO you can stand a 93 Intrepid ES in with 93-2016 sedans (that's 33 years) and it's still
contemporary or a lot better in many respects!
Even though design by it's very nature is subjective, I'm gonna break the rules and say that this is objectively wrong. Cab-forward design was impactful (probably more impactful than the 50's Chrysler forward-look cars), but from a styling standpoint it has not aged well. That is of course more subjective opinion, so whatever.

Quote:
Originally Posted by slim View Post
There were many great looking autos like the Riviara, Big Birds, loved several Olds and Pontiac but what was really unique other than styling.
I guess I'll just play the ignorance card here. The word "design" is synonymous with "styling" in my personal thesaurus, but your point is well taken. Besides, I'd rather talk about pretty styling than front wheel drive cars, minivans and Chrysler sedans. Fun discussion either way.

I'm not an expert, but I play one on the internet.
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