QOTD: Are You All Out of Love?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
qotd are you all out of love

My bedroom as a kid was pretty typical. While there wasn’t much in the way of sports paraphernalia (and certainly no trophies… God, no), there were cars on the wall. Glossy, glitzy side-on shots of all the cars a young boy in the late ’80s would want.

There was a Countach and a Testarossa (kids aren’t known for their subtle and refined taste), plus the appropriately revered and attainable Mustang GT. I don’t think Vanilla Ice had yet come out with his one hit, so I was ahead of the curve on that, at least among my classmates. Keep in mind that I grew up in a land populated primarily by Oldsmobile and Chevy sedans — no one owned a sports car of any pedigree, and it was the early 1990s before a German came to town.

Ah, but the classics. That’s truly where my heart lay. Joining those Miami Vice denizens on my bedroom walls was a quintessential American classic that couldn’t have churned greater excitement and awe in young Steph’s heart. I roll my eyes at this vehicle now.

It’s the 1957 Chevrolet, be it in Bel Air, 210, or 150 form. That thing’s a grotesquery.

Young Steph admired the machine for not being his grandfather’s 1986 Olds Cutlass sedan, or perhaps the first-gen Ford Tauruses he saw cruising past the schoolyard. It was not his mother’s Pontiac Phoenix, either. It has style popping out of its bra — er, bumper guards. That pair of rakish tailfins could slice deli meat all day. And wrap-around windshields? Ka-pow!

Again, kids aren’t always paragons of good taste. I’d have probably said that sherry cask single-malt was gross at the time, but adulthood taught me otherwise. It also taught me that there’s far greater ’57 American cars to look at and long for — practically all of them. Yes, Studebaker included.

Janet Leigh’s ’57 Ford Custom 300 in Psycho? A beauty, and apparently a decent used buy for embezzlers on the run. Any ’57 Plymouth? Same deal, though owners probably wished they’d picked up the Chevy after a few year’s time. You’re also more likely to beat the Chevy in a race (especially on a twisty course). Dodge and Imperial? Bingo. The Buicks and Olds models of ‘1957, especially in two-door form, were underrated styling successes, innocent to the bloat that would occur in a year’s time. The same can be said of Lincoln.

In comparison, the ’57 Chevy is a desperate attempt to tart up a ’55 model with the “Suddenly, it’s 1960!” styling cues that so tempted buyers that year. Its base six-cylinder belonged to an engine family that originated in 1937. General Motors swapped the ’56 model’s 15-inch wheels for 14-inchers on the ’57 in an crass attempt to lower the bulky brick and give it a slinkier, road-hugging appearance. Over at Chrysler Corp, the cars actually hugged the pavement. Meanwhile, the profile-lengthening tailfins didn’t jibe with the model’s blunt, conservative face.

There’s better ’57s to lust after, and they’re everywhere. Yes, several innovations appeared on the secretly old ’57 Chevy, among them fuel injection and tubeless tires, but we’re all about looks today.

What’s your story? What vehicle did you spend years lusting over as a kid, only to reverse course in the years since?

[Image: Greg Gjerdingen/ Flickr ( CC BY 2.0)]

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2 of 52 comments
  • THX1136 THX1136 on Dec 12, 2018

    Always like the 55 better than the 57 Chevy. Don't really know why other than it "looked" faster, if that makes any sense. Since the question was what has flipped since "way back when" I'd have to say nothing has so far. I do think I appreciate some models more now as their lines have become a bit more appealing than when they first appeared. Most likely due to what I was comparing them to at the time.

  • JohnTaurus JohnTaurus on Dec 12, 2018

    I thought of an answer, the "aero" Ford Crown Victoria (1992-1997, esp. the 95-7). Always thought they were good looking and that I'd love to have one...till I grew up and drove a few, then the lust turned into loathing.

  • Theflyersfan As a kid, a neighbor had one of these full-sized conversion vans with the TV and wet bar in the back. And it was so cool to go in - as a kid it was, driving it had to be terror at times with blind spots, iffy power and brakes, and the feeling that you're hauling your living room with you! Kids of the 1970s and 1980s had this experience. Afterwards with minivans and then CUV everything, not so much.And I'm crushed that a 1977 van doesn't have some kind of mural on the sides. Coyote howling at the moon, American flag, Confederate flag, bright stripes, something! You can't have a 1970's era van with plain sides! At least a "Don't Laugh. Your daughter's in here" bumper sticker on the back. I always get a Gacy or Bundy vibe with these vans...
  • Jeff S In the EV market Tesla is not a niche player it is the major player. According to the latest data of the California-based vehicle valuation and automotive research company  Kelley Blue Book, Tesla has the lion’s share with 75 percent market share in  the electric vehicle market in the first three months of 2022.Tesla has dominated the electric vehicle market for years in the United States. The electric vehicles manufactured by Tesla accounted for 79 percent of the new electric vehicles registered in the United States in 2020 and 69,95 percent in 2021. The decrease in the market share in 2021 might be explained by backlogs and the global chip shortage, but the company is ramping up its sales and has already increased its market share to 75 percent in the first quarter of the year. According to Kelley Blue Book, the top 10 EVs sold in the US in the first quarter of 2022 are;[list=1][*]Tesla Model Y[/*][*]Tesla Model 3[/*][*]Ford Mustang Mach-E[/*][*]Tesla Model X[/*][*]Hyundai Ioniq 5[/*][*]Kia EV6[/*][*]Tesla Model S[/*][*]Nissan Leaf[/*][*]Kia Niro[/*][*]Audi e-Tron[/*][/list=1]Tesla has delivered 310,048 vehicles in the first quarter of 2022, another first-quarter record. The success of Tesla is proven once again as the company has three electric cars in the top 10 most selling electric vehicles in the United States, while no other manufacturer has even two different models on the list.Tesla leads all others, selling slightly over 936,000 units in 2021. This gave the company a market share of nearly 14%.Mar 30, 2022https://interestingengineering.com/transportation/tesla-ev-market-75-percent-market-share
  • Jeff S I did not know Plymouth had a full size van prior to the mini vans. I did know about the Plymouth pickups and the Trail Duster.
  • Arthur Dailey When I grew tired of the T-Bird trying to kill me by refusing to start at the most inconvenient times/places, I replaced it with a '79 fullsized Dodge (Sportsman) van. Similar to this but with a different grille and rectangular headlights. The 4 'captains' chairs in my van were pretty much identical to the ones in this van. Mine certainly was not as nicely finished inside. And it was a handful to drive in snow/ice. One thing that strikes me about this van is that although a conversion it does not seem to have the requisite dark tint on the windows.
  • Jeff S I am not a fan of Tesla and they were niche vehicles but it seems that they have become more common. I doubt if I get an EV that it would be a Tesla. The electrical grid will have to be expanded because people over the long run are not going to accept the excuse of the grid can't handle people charging their EVs.