Tag Archives: Convertibles

American Cars: “1953 Buick Skylark Convertible”

1953 Buick Skylark Convertible Interior RM Sotheby's AuctionsThe Buick Skylark is a passenger car produced by Buick. The model was made in six production runs, during 46 years, over which the car’s design varied dramatically due to changing technology, tastes and new standards implemented over the years.

Created to mark Buick’s 50th anniversary, the Roadmaster Skylark joined the Oldsmobile 98 Fiesta and Cadillac Series 62 Eldorado as top-of-the-line, limited-production specialty convertibles introduced in 1953 by General Motors to promote its design leadership. Of the three, the Skylark’s run of 1,690 units proved the most successful, and an amazing sales feat considering the car’s 1953 list price of slightly in excess of US$5,000 was over 50% more than the well-equipped US$3,200 Roadmaster convertible on which it was based. Nevertheless, many languished in dealer showrooms and were eventually sold at discount.

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Production ran for two years. Based on the model 76R two-door Roadmaster convertible, the 1953 Skylark (designated model 76X) had identical dimensions (except height), almost identical appearance, shared its drive train, and had all its standard equipment, plus its few remaining options, including power windows, power brakes, full carpeting, and a “Selectronic” AM radio. Only A/C was not offered, unnecessary in either convertible.

From Wikipedia

American Classic Cars: “1959 Chevrolet Impala”

1959 Chevrolet Impala Interior Classic DriverThe Chevrolet Impala is a full-size car built by Chevrolet for model years 1958 to 1985, 1994 to 1996, and 2000 onward. The Impala is Chevrolet’s popular flagship passenger car and is generally among the better selling American made automobiles in the United States.

The 1959 Chevrolet Impala was redesigned. Sharing bodyshells with lower-end Buicks and Oldsmobiles as well as with Pontiac, part of a GM economy move, the Chevrolet’s wheelbase was 1-1/2 inches longer. Using a new X-frame chassis, the roof line was three inches lower, bodies were two inches wider, and curb weight increased. Its tailfins protruded outward, rather than upward. The taillights were a large “teardrop” design at each side, and two slim-wide nonfunctional front air intake scoops were added just above the grille,

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Classic Driver logoThe Impala became a separate series, adding a four-door hardtop and four-door sedan, to the two-door Sport Coupe and convertible. Sport Coupes featured a shortened roof line and wrap-over back window. The standard engine was an I6, while the base V8 was the carryover 283 cu in (4.6 L), at 185 hp (138 kW). Optional were a 283 cu in with 290 hp (220 kW) and 348 cu in (5.7 L) V8 up to 335 hp (250 kW). Standard were front and rear armrests, an electric clock, dual sliding sun visors, and crank-operated front vent windows. A contoured hooded instrument panel held deep-set gauges. A six-way power seat was a new option, as was “Speedminder”, for the driver to set a needle at a specific speed and a buzzer would sound if the pre-set was exceeded.

From Wikipedia

American Classics: “1937 Cord 812” – Front Wheel Drive, Hidden Headlights

1937 Cord 812 Interior Classic DriverThe Cord 810, and later Cord 812, was a luxury automobile produced by the Cord Automobile division of the Auburn Automobile Company in 1936 and 1937. It was the first American-designed and built front wheel drive car with independent front suspension. It followed the 1934 Citroën Traction Avant and the Cord L-29, both of which also had front wheel drive. Both models were also the first to offer hidden headlights.

Classic Driver logoThe styling of the Cord 810 was the work of designer Gordon M. Buehrig and his team of stylists, which included young Vince Gardner and Alex Tremulis. While the first American front-wheel-drive car with independent front suspension, it had an archaic tube rear axle with semi-elliptic rear springs. Power came from a 4,739 cc (289 cu in) Lycoming V8 of the same 125 hp (93 kW) as the L-29. The semi-automatic four-speed transmission (three plus overdrive) extended in front of the engine, like on a Traction Avant. This allowed Buehrig to dispense with the driveshaft and transmission tunnel; as a result, the new car was so low it required no running boards. It had a 125 in (3,175 mm) wheelbase (shared with several 812 body styles), and in 1936 came in four models: the entry-level sedan at US$1995, the Beverly sedan ($2095), Sportsman ($2145), and Phaeton ($2195). The 1937 812s had the same models, priced $2445, $2545, $2585, and $2645, plus two more, on a 132 in (3,400 mm) wheelbase, the $2960 Custom Beverly and $3060 Custom Berline.

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Cars: “1961 Dodge Dart Phoenix Convertible”

1961 Dodge Dart Phoenix D-500 Convertible Coupe Interior RM Sotheby's Auction 2020For the 1961 model year, the Dart continued as the smallest full-size Dodge. It retained the 118 in (2,997 mm) wheelbase, and was restyled to emulate the larger Polara. The same three trim levels were available: the premium Phoenix, mid-range Pioneer, and base Seneca. Once again, wagons shared the Polara’s 122 in/310 cm wheelbase; they also shared the Polara’s unique side-mounted taillights.

The Dodge Dart is a line of automobiles marketed by Dodge from the 1959 to 1976 model years in North America, with production extended to later years in various other markets.

RM Sotheby's AuctionsThe Dart name originally appeared on a 1956 Chrysler show car featuring a streamlined body designed by the Italian coachbuilder Carrozzeria Ghia that was later modified and renamed the Dart Diablo. The production Dart was introduced as a lower-priced, full-size Dodge in 1960 and 1961, became a mid-size car for 1962, and then was a compact from 1963 to 1976.

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American Classics: “1949 Cadillac Series 62”

1949 Cadillac Series 62 Interior Classic DriverThe Cadillac Series 62 is a series of cars which was produced by Cadillac from 1940 through 1964. Originally designed to replace the entry level Series 65, it became the Cadillac Series 6200 in 1959, and remained that until it was renamed to Cadillac Calais for the 1965 model year. The Series 62 was also marketed as the Sixty-Two  and the Series Sixty-Two.

The Cadillac Series 62 Coupe de Ville was introduced late in the 1949 model year. Along with the Buick Roadmaster Riviera, and the Oldsmobile 98 Holiday, it was among the first pillarless hardtop coupes ever produced.mAt $3,496 it was only a dollar less than the Series 62 convertible, and like the convertible, it came with power windows standard. It was luxuriously trimmed, with leather upholstery and chrome ‘bows’ in the headliner to simulate the ribs of a convertible top.

55,643 Series 62 Cadillacs were produced in 1949 out of a total volume of 92,554 vehicles.

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Classics: “1971 Plymouth Barrauda Convertible”

1971 Plymouth Barracuda Interior Classic DriverThe Plymouth Barracuda is a two-door pony car manufactured by Plymouth from 1964 to 1974.

The third generation, offered from 1970 to 1974, was no longer based on the A-body, but on the Chrysler E-body. The completely new design was similar to the Dodge Challenger and available in hardtop and convertible body styles. The Barracuda was discontinued after the 1974 model year.

Classic Driver logoThe redesign for the 1970 Barracuda removed all its previous commonality with the Valiant. The original fastback design was deleted from the line and the Barracuda now consisted of coupe and convertible models. The all-new model, styled by John E. Herlitz, was built on a shorter, wider version of Chrysler’s existing B platform, called the E-body. Sharing this platform was the newly launched Dodge Challenger; however no exterior sheet metal interchanged between the two cars, and the Challenger, at 110 inches (2,794 mm), had a wheelbase that was 2 inches (51 mm) longer than the Barracuda.

The E-body Barracuda was now “able to shake the stigma of ‘economy car’.”

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Classic American Cars: “1957 Ford Thunderbird”

1957 Ford Thunderbird Interior Classic DriverFord Thunderbird (colloquially called the T-Bird) is a nameplate that was used by Ford from model years 1955 to 1997 and 2002 to 2005 over eleven model generations. Introduced as a two-seat convertible, the Thunderbird was produced in a number of body configurations through its production life, including four-seat hardtop coupe, four-seat convertible, five-seat convertible and hardtop, four-door pillared hardtop sedan, six-passenger hardtop coupe, and five passenger pillared coupe, with the final generation produced as a two-seat convertible.

The Ford Thunderbird began life in February 1953 in direct response to Chevrolet’s new sports car, the Corvette, which was publicly unveiled in prototype form just a month before. Under rapid development, the Thunderbird went from idea to prototype in about a year, being unveiled to the public at the Detroit Auto Show on February 20, 1954. It was a two-seat design available with a detachable glass-fibre hard top and a folding fabric top.

Classic Driver logoThe Thunderbird was revised for 1957 with a reshaped front bumper, a larger grille and tailfins, and larger tail lamps. The instrument panel was heavily re-styled with round gauges in a single pod, and the rear of the car was lengthened, allowing the spare tire to be positioned back in the trunk. The 312 cu in (5.1 L) V8 became the Thunderbird’s standard engine, and now produced 245 horsepower (183 kW). Other, even more powerful versions of the 312 cu in (5.1 L) V8 were available including one with two four-barrel Holley carburetors and another with a Paxton supercharger delivering 300 horsepower (220 kW). Though Ford was pleased to see sales of the Thunderbird rise to a record-breaking 21,380 units for 1957, company executives felt the car could do even better, leading to a substantial redesign of the car for 1958.

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