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)]

Join the conversation
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.

  • Sayahh Is it 1974 or 1794? The article is inconsistent.
  • Laura I just buy a Hyndai Elantra SEL, and My car started to have issues with the AC dont work the air sometimes is really hot and later cold and also I heard a noice in the engine so I went to the dealer for the first service and explain what was hapenning to the AC they told me that the car was getting hot because the vent is not working I didnt know that the car was getting hot because it doesnt show nothing no sign no beep nothing I was surprise and also I notice that it needed engine oil, I think that something is wrong with this car because is a model 23 and I just got it on April only 5 months use. is this normal ? Also my daughter bought the same model and she went for a trip and the car also got hot and it didnt show up in the system she called them and they said to take the car to the dealer for a check up I think that if the cars are new they shouldnt be having this problems.
  • JamesGarfield What charging network does the Polestar use?
  • JamesGarfield Re: Getting away from union plantsAbout a dozen years or so ago, Caterpillar built a huge new engine plant, just down the road here in Seguin TX. Story has it, Caterpillar came to Seguin City council in advance, and told them their plans. Then they asked for no advanced publicity from Seguin, until announcement day. This new plant was gonna be a non-union replacement for a couple of union plants in IL and SC, and Cat didn't want to stir up union problems until the plan was set. They told Seguin, If you about blab this in advance, we'll walk. Well, Seguin kept quiet as instructed, and the plan went through, with all the usual expected tax abatements given.Plant construction began, but the Caterpillar name was conspicuously absent from anywhere on the site. Instead, the plant was described as being a collective of various contractors and suppliers for Caterpillar. Which in fact, it was. Then comes the day, with the big new plant fully operationa!, that Caterpillar comes in and announces, Hey, Yeah it's our plant, and the Caterpillar name boldly goes up on the front. All you contractor folks, welcome aboard, you're now Caterpillar employees. Then, Cat turns and announces they are closing those two union plants immediately, and will be transporting all the heavy manufacturing equipment to Seguin. None of the union workers, just the equipment. And today, the Caterpillar plant sits out there, humming away happily, making engines for the industry and good paying jobs for us. I'd call that a winner.
  • Stuki Moi What Subaru taketh away in costs, dealers will no doubt add right back in adjustments.... Fat chance Subaru will offer a sufficient supply of them.