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Old 01-08-2009, 07:29 AM   #1
Ryan
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Default Top-5 American Automobile Designs

Every couple of years for the past decade, I've taken a minute to think about and list what I consider to be the top-5 best American Automotive designs in history. I do it without looking at or considering past efforts. This "clean slate" approach...

To read the rest of this blog entry from The Jalopy Journal, click here.
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Old 01-08-2009, 07:42 AM   #2
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Default Re: Top-5 American Automobile Designs

Ahh! Yes, another convert to the true beauty of the 38 Ford! I miss my 38....
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Old 01-08-2009, 07:44 AM   #3
oldandkrusty
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Default Re: Top-5 American Automobile Designs

Hmmmm, well I guess I have to get in on this one. So, here goes:

5) 1933 Ford 3-wdw (I prefer the simplicity of the grille over the '34):

4) 1937 Ford club coupe (could also include the '38 model - I just love the long top and short trunk lid design);

3) 1933 Buick '90- Series Victoria (the fact that I had one of these luscious beasts kind of taints my choice, but as it is mine, that's my choice and I'm sticking to it!);

2) Any Duesenberg or any Delahaye, I don't care. They are all just simply gorgeous and make me all weak kneed-when I see one!; and finally

1) 1940 Ford coupe, either Deluxe or Standard - Just perfect lines everywhere. You can't find a thing to change because it is styling perfection.
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Old 01-08-2009, 07:54 AM   #4
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Default Re: Top-5 American Automobile Designs

Not in order:
'65 Riviera
'33 Ford
'57 Chrysler
'39 Ford Deluxe Coupe
tie '63 Corvette Stingray/'69 Corvette "roadster"

Looks like I dropped the Stude coupes for the Riviera from last time... and added a tossup between the Corvettes.

I think the 67 Eldorado should get an honorable mention, I loves me some Mitchell.
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Old 01-08-2009, 07:54 AM   #5
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Default Re: Top-5 American Automobile Designs

1-1936 Ford 3W coupe or roadster
2-1938 Lincoln Zephyr (love the 37 too)
3-1953 Cadillac Eldorado
4-1932 Roadster
5-1959 Chevy
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Old 01-08-2009, 08:08 AM   #6
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Default Re: Top-5 American Automobile Designs

The original list seems a bit biased, dontcha think? That's okay, I get like that, too, but I'll try my best to be totally objective.
I can agree with a couple of 'em, like the 65 Riviera and the 36 Ford Roadster, those are just perfect designs, simple and elegant, a great representation of the style of their times.
I think the Continental is a bit ostentatious. It's a beautiful car, but there are things that could be changed. That's kinda my thought, I'm looking for a design that was pretty much perfect right from the factory, that was proportional, represents its era properly, and that no modifications (other than paint and maybe wheels) could make it look better.
Here's some of my picks, in no particular order:

68-70 AMC Javelin, most people would probably say the AMX, but I always thought the Javelin was a bit more proportional.

1955 Chevy, but it was a tough call between the equally-gorgeous 55 Ford

1965 Corvair, I know I'll catch a ton of slack for this one, but if you don't think about the sorta goofy-but-loveable first gen. Corvair, the 65 Corvair was just a great design.

1935-36 Ford, either the roadster or the coupe. The Boattail roadster was extra-nice, but not quite an "every-man's" vehicle the way the others were, but hell, they were all super-nice and just perfect.

And finally, I couldn't decide between the 1941 Plymouth and the 1966-67 Dodge Charger.
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Old 01-08-2009, 08:12 AM   #7
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Default Re: Top-5 American Automobile Designs

Now that I think about it, the '63 T-Bird was also just drop-dead gorgeous.
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Old 01-08-2009, 08:18 AM   #8
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Default Re: Top-5 American Automobile Designs

In no particular order...

- 810, 812 Cord
- Lincoln Mark II
- 1961-1964 Lincoln Continental
- 1937-1938 Lincoln Zephyr
- 1949-1950 Ford

Guess I'm somewhat partial to Lincolns.
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Old 01-08-2009, 08:18 AM   #9
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Default Re: Top-5 American Automobile Designs

34 ford
36 ford
40 ford
53 stude
57 chevy
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Old 01-08-2009, 08:19 AM   #10
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Default Re: Top-5 American Automobile Designs

1949-1950 Lincoln 9EL
1951-1952 Ford F1
1935-1936 3w, 5w or roadster
I know its not American, but damn is a 1952 Jaguar Xk120 sexy as hell!
1960 Cadillac Brougham
1950 Chrysler Town and Country Convertable
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Old 01-08-2009, 08:24 AM   #11
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Default Re: Top-5 American Automobile Designs

for the moment...

1912 Mercer 35J Raceabout
1941 GP "Jeep"
1955 Chrysler 300
1984 Dodge Caravan
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Old 01-08-2009, 08:28 AM   #12
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Default Re: Top-5 American Automobile Designs

It all depends on perspective and what I see burgeoning here is a 'personal preference' list influenced by hot rodding and 'everyman' cars.

How about some of the truly world class American designs, that have influenced styling outside America and spawned imitators and variations on a theme - look at the finned era's influence on world car styling - hell even Ferrari got into the game, as did the Italians - the quintessential automotive stylists. Cord, Duesenberg, Pierce Arrow Silver Arrow, Auburn Speedster, V16 Cadillacs, 1920s and 1930s Packards, some of Raymond Loewy's designs, Virgil Exner's Forward Look, Gordon Buehrig, Harley Earl, Tom Tjaarda, Alex Sahofsky, Alex Tremulis, Amos Northup - to name but a few - the list is huge and hardly a Ford to be seen!
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Old 01-08-2009, 08:31 AM   #13
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Default Re: Top-5 American Automobile Designs

63-65 Riviera's (got a '63 and I want to build another...a 2 door hardtop wagon!)
53 Studebaker (high on my wish list)
38 Zephyr (outta my price range)
Shoebox Ford (had one and shouldn't of sold it)
49-51 mopar business coupes (I have had a couple of them and love their lines)
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Old 01-08-2009, 08:33 AM   #14
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Default Re: Top-5 American Automobile Designs

Any list not having a 1957 Ford convertible with the paxton supercharged 312 isn't a good list. However, i love all the ones listed above
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Old 01-08-2009, 08:38 AM   #15
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Default Re: Top-5 American Automobile Designs

Your list seems good enough, just one question though; "Why do the '65 Riv's always have the headlight doors open?" Kinda spoils an otherwise clean design.(RichardD readin' this?)
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Old 01-08-2009, 08:48 AM   #16
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Default Re: Top-5 American Automobile Designs

In no order
63-65 Rivi's
mid 50's Buick's ( I can't decide which year I like best 55 or 56)
59 Chevy
40 Ford coupe
53 Studebaker
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Old 01-08-2009, 09:03 AM   #17
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Default Re: Top-5 American Automobile Designs

Here's my list for 2009:
55 Chevy
53 Studebaker
49 Ford
63 Vette
36 Zephyr
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Old 01-08-2009, 09:10 AM   #18
Dreddybear
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Default Re: Top-5 American Automobile Designs

1. 1933 Cadillac V16 Convertible


2. 1929 Duesenberg Model J Convertible


3. 1954 Buick Skylark


4. 1936 Ford 3 Win Coupe (This one will do)


5. 1953 Corvette
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Old 01-08-2009, 09:30 AM   #19
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Default Re: Top-5 American Automobile Designs

Quote:
Originally Posted by Unclee View Post
Your list seems good enough, just one question though; "Why do the '65 Riv's always have the headlight doors open?" Kinda spoils an otherwise clean design.(RichardD readin' this?)
From a great article on the Riviera Owners Association website:
http://rivowners.org/features/evolution/evpt65.html

"The first noticeable changes took place in the third year of the Riviera with hidden headlights and a restyled rear bumper. GM's chief stylist Bill Mitchell had originally wanted the headlights hidden in the fenders as shown in the preliminary drawing of the XP-715 project model. However, the engineering had not been completed in time for the earlier models. The ribbed clamshells were controlled by a single electric motor located behind the front bumper, and operated automatically when the headlights were turned on or off. As much as the hidden headlight added to the cleaner appearance they also added to frustration if they didn't work. Most often the problem occurred when the arms out to the clamshells were not kept lubricated and the motor burnt out. The only other GM car with the hidden headlight in '65 was the Corvette Sting Ray, which had a similar motor."
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Old 01-08-2009, 09:44 AM   #20
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Default Re: Top-5 American Automobile Designs

How did that '38 sneak in there! I could never get past the eagle beak nose on the hood. But maybe that's what makes it interesting........
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