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Post Info TOPIC: The Style of Cars


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The Style of Cars

I've often wondered how the style of cars evolved.  Was it function that caused the evolving style?  Or, would have they evolved naturally or even was it because of WWII and the eventual advent of jet aircraft?

I think it's a little of all of these.  Did the cars get lower and wider due to the function of increasing speed?  Certainly the Art Deco period resulted in some of the style of less squared off fenders and grills.  But what caused the big change after WWII?  It seems to me there are a few great time periods:

1949 basically ended the late pre-war designs for all US manufacturers.

1957 was a big change in design for Chrysler. 1958 for Ford and GM.

1959 was a big change as compact cars appeared from the big three.  Although American Motors adopted compact cars way earlier.

1974 The US Government caused the big bumpers.

I do think that Packard, Studebaker, Hudson were all faster to change style wise than the Detroit big three but they didn't survive the recession in the 50's.  Studebaker certainly had low and wide back in 1953 with the first Starliner coupe that was the basis for Hawk and Commander coupes.


Just thinking.

If it's not broken then I haven't fixed it.


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Posts: 240

A good topic, nay, a great topic!

I cannot say that I have given the matter a whole lot of thought?  I do feel, as you pointed out, there was a definite line drawn between 1949 and later years.

For me, GM/Chevy seemed to make the big break from the past in 1955, and continued evolving.  Part of the GM marketing strategy was to make the earlier styles obsolete.   It did so with a dramatic redesign every 3 years or so.

I also do feel the advance of jet airplane technology was a factor.  Designers had their eye on what was going on with airplane design.

The sad thing today is, virtually all makes look like clones of each other!  For some it is hard to tell they even come from different companies.  A line could be producing the Lexus on M-W-F and Acura on Tu-Th?

A good topic to exlplore more -


Dave Yaros
Forum Admin
1955 Cadillac Coupé de Ville
1962 Oldsmobile Dynamic 88 Conv
1992 Cadillac Allanté

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