Continental Congress (Part one)

Supersize becomes rightsize – how the 1961 Lincoln Continental subtly altered US luxury car design.

(c) Ford Motor Company

The 1961 Lincoln Continental is almost universally regarded as one of the finest car designs ever to come from the USA. Daringly sparse of embellishment and relatively compact (by the standards of the day at least); smoothly geometrical and slab-sided, it marked a breakaway from fins, complicated shapes, panoramic windshields, gaudy colour schemes and superfluous decoration.

This accomplishment would alas prove to be only temporary, as witnessed by the majority of American cars (Lincoln included), that would follow over the next decade. Nevertheless, the 1961 Continental was such an influential designgamechanger that its competitors Cadillac and Imperial reacted swiftly to Continue reading “Continental Congress (Part one)”

Theme: Romance – 6.7 litre V8’s, Chrome and Buttoned Velour

One’s understanding of this depends very much on how one defines or understands Romance. Looked at one way, the US has produced some highly Romantic vehicles.

1965 Chrysler Imperial: classiccarcatalogue.com
1965 Chrysler Imperial: classiccarcatalogue.com

It gets rather complicated or at least ambiguous when you look closer. One can explain the expressive, expansive and generous adornment of American cars (of the old school) by referring to what might have been a bias towards emotion over reason.  That is why the tailfins of the Cadillacs emerged for a short but memorable spell. People were excited by the drama of jet fighters and the imagery associated with them. The car sublimated that excitement.

The rest of the 60s and mid-70s saw remarkably expressive forms made manifest. Those long, long bonnets and stately (to some) grilles sought to Continue reading “Theme: Romance – 6.7 litre V8’s, Chrome and Buttoned Velour”