1957 Dodge D-100 Sweptside
Dodge had a problem. They were a day late and a dollar short. Late, because Chevy was already out of the gate with the dressy, upscale Cameo Carrier pickup (and Ford was soon to follow, with their half car/half truck Ranchero). Short, because there wasn’t enough money on hand for anything more than a modest makeover.
1963 Chrysler New Yorker Salon hardtop sedan
Wrapping something old in something new is a time-honored practice for marketing. That’s certainly true for automakers, where the economics of manufacturing simply don’t allow for all new products, every year. True now, true then, and the lineup that Chrysler rolled out fifty years ago was a case in point. The chiseled, conservative styling for 1963 was new, courtesy of designer Elwood Engel. Beneath the skin, though, the cars were largely unchanged from 1962. However, Chrysler showed uncommon confidence in the carry-over. At a time when extended warranties were largely unheard of, the company announced a five year/50,000 mile plan for their 1963 models, and in the process, caught the competition napping.
1964 Studebaker Daytona
It’s said that the band on the Titanic continued to play, even as the vessel sank. For students of Studebaker’s history, that scenario sounds a little like the company’s final years. Nineteen Sixty-Four was a case in point. Sales of the 1963 lineup slumped 20% from the preceding year’s total, slipping below 70,000 units. A rearguard marketing action continued, trying to squelch rumors of Studebaker’s demise, even as they posted a net loss of $28,000,000.
Debuting in 1955, the MGA was a clear departure from MG’s past. Nowhere was that more clear than in its styling. The outgoing model was the last (and arguably the best looking) variation of MG’s traditional, T series. The TF’s graceful, final facelift was highlighted by a trimmer radiator and flowing fenders with faired-in headlights. The MGA that followed was all rounded lines and smooth edges – a major shove forward, stylistically, out of the post-war period, and into the 50’s (albeit, a decade already half over). Modern and sleek, the “A” looked particularly handsome in its fixed roof form.
1964 Pontiac GTO
GTO was the face of the muscle car era. You can argue whether the “Goat” was the first car to define the breed (a mid-size car with an oversize V-8 engine). But, there’s no denying the fact that this was the first car to popularize it.