Curbside Classic Clue
March 9th, 2010 1:48 PM Share
We tried an interior shot, but did that slow you guys down? Not. The ’57 Beetle’s radio grille looked familiar to willbodine, on the second guess of the day. Let’s move back outside and see what you make of this.
Published November 30th, 2009 5:27 PM
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5 of 11 comments
A quick and simple image search made this one easy, it is indeed a 1958 Thunderbird.
A 1958 T-bird fits the CC mold for revolutionary models, if that's the correct guess. If you're puzzled about it, you'll just have to wait for Paul to explain it to you, if that's the correct guess. It's significant, even without the batmobile connection, if that's the correct guess.
First retractable hardtop? Is that really revolutionary? I honestly don't understand what seems to be widespread fascination with automobiles that may allow unobstructed rainfall on the center consoles (convertibles and sunroofs). They suffer from less structural rigidity and higher weight than their appropriately fixed-roof brethren.
Believe it or not, back in the 1950s Consumer Reports was the print equivalent of TTAC in key respects. It had the only rigorous road tests, but just as importantly the magazine also offered some pretty critical punditry regarding the Detroit automakers. CR editors noted that in the 1958 recession only two US-built cars saw sales increases: the just-revived Rambler American and the new, four-seater T-Bird. Both of these niche cars turned out to be pioneers of two major trends. The T-Bird led to the rise of "personal coupes," and the American helped spur the Big Three to introduce a wave of compacts. That said, it may be going too far to call the four-seater T-Bird revolutionary because in a very real sense it was merely Ford's cheesy rendition of the 1953-55 Studebaker Starliner coupe. That was America's first popular-priced personal coupe. I doubt Ford would have attempted a four-seater T-Bird if Studebaker hadn't found some sales success with the Starliner, which in 1956 was renamed the Hawk. To me the 1953 Starliner is more interesting than the 1958 T-Bird. This is partly because it is such a beautiful design. The Starliner also has a certain tragic quality because it helped kill Studebaker, which arguably didn't have the economies of scale to keep current a low-slung coupe body and a relatively distinct, taller body for its sedans.