Article: Dream Cars – Favorite Convertibles Of The Fifties
Convertibles, let the word roll on your tongue. It tastes like freedom and summer, going wherever you want, feeling the wind in your hair.
Beautiful cars with a great, good looking design. Happy days indeed for those that where there. For the rest of us, we have to read articles like this or get a convertible of our own and try to recreate that special feeling of the golden age.
The fifties era
As we know by now. The fifties where seeing and incredible development in the world of cars. Especially convertibles had quite a move upwards in popularity. The cars still had those round curves that was a trademark of the beginning of the fifties, and the technological advancement of the cars moved ahead at a slow relaxing pace.
More modern curves
By the mid fifties, 1954-55 all American car factories introduced a more modern line of cars. Cars with gorgeous design, lots of chrome and even integrated rear bumpers. In the sales brochures, the convertibles was often the sales pitch, picturing open cars and the beach in the background.
One of the most known and reputable classics from the fifties is the 55 Chevrolet. An even more special brand is the Packard from the mid fifties as well as cars from Chrysler, which had a very good looking interior in those years.
Maybe the most beautiful convertible of all times, is the 1955-57 Ford Thunderbird, which was a tremendously popular car, and still is.
Here is a list of the convertibles I find most beautiful and memorable from this era, These are the ones that have had the most impact on my love for the fifties cars, not picking any over the other, they are all just beautiful cars.
1952 Studebaker1952 Studebaker
In 1952 Studebaker had a new 120 hp V8 engine. There was the Champion edition, which where a low cost version of the Studebaker, designed to give the buyer the most “bang for the buck”. The car had a nice, modern and aerodynamic look. The engine was designed to be light on the fuel, it was not dependent on so called “premium fuel”. There where also a Commander edition available.
The 1952 Studebaker highlights where self-adjustable brakes, a “hill-holding” feature that made the car stand still after you pressed the brake pedal, an “Automatic Drive” automatic transmission and the mentioned 232,6 cid V8.
1955 Ford Thunderbird1955 Ford Thunderbird
This was a really beautiful car, which was released as a direct competitor to the Chevrolet Corvette which was put on the market in 1953. As opposed to the Corvette’s fiberglass body, the Thunderbird was all steel.
It was a two seated car like the Corvette and had some beautiful and sporty curves. It was a low car with a real sports-car feel to it and it was possible to get a removable top for it, which in 1956 came with those legendary portholes windows.
Under the hood a solid and heavy 292 Y-block V8 where hiding, and you could get a manual transmission with or without overdrive, an automatic transmission was also available. In 1955 the total number of Thunderbird’s sold summarized to over 16000, in comparison to the Corvette, which sold around 700 that year.
1953 Chevrolet Corvette1953 Chevrolet Corvette
The Chevrolet Corvette is the bestselling sports-car of all time and is really a sport-car legend. Although the 1953 version of the car hardly could qualify as a sports-car performance vice.
Under the hood the Corvette had a 235 Blue Flame straight six, featuring a whopping 150 hp, which later that year where extended to 155 hp.
1955 Chevrolet Bel Air1955 Chevrolet Bel Air
No list is complete(although this list is not complete at all) without mentioning the 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air. This was Ed Cole, the Chevrolet boss, big triumph, and was the car that made Chevrolet cars enter the modern world.
It had a simple clean design with stylish lines and curves. The engine was the now so popular small block engine, a 265 cid V8 with 162 or 180 HP.
In comparison to the blue flame straight six, this was a whole new dimension, a better sounding and performing engine.
It had a 12 volt electrical system, new brake system, new suspension and a new power steering servo. This car has now proven to be one of the most sought after classic of all time.
1957 Chrysler 300C1957 Chrysler 300C
This is maybe the most bad-ass full-size of the fifties. A great car with a powerful engine and great drivability.
The engine was a 392 HEMI, featuring 375 raw horses, making the car a beast on the road. You could also get an even stronger edition of the same engine with 390 hp.
This power got transported to the rear wheels by a 4 speed manual transmission. Only 484 convertibles where ever produced of this car, making it a real hard find these days.
1957 Pontiac Bonneville1957 Pontiac Bonneville
This model represented an all new design path for Pontiac. As their flagship, the Bonneville was aimed to captivate the buyers interest in the Pontiac brand.
About 630 Bonneville convertibles where produced this year. The engine that came with the Bonneville was a 370 cid V8 with a mechanical Rochester fuel injection, it delivered proximately 317 hp at the rear wheels.
As standard, this car came with all possible options except air conditioning, making this a really well equipped car.
1958 Edsel Citation1958 Edsel Citation
Last, in this article, but not least, is the Edsel Citation. It did not become a success when it was released in 1958, but in the aftermath, this car stands on it’s own four wheels as a fully accepted fifties car. It had a very special design in the front, making it a love it or hate it type of car.
It came with a very powerful 410 cid V8 with 345 hp and a 3 speed automatic transmission. The car had a Teletouch press-button gear-selector mounted in the middle of the steering wheel. There where merely 1571 produced of this car in 1958, not the success that Ford was hoping for at all.
Website collected information from http://www.shorin-soccer.com