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American classic car that stands out from the rest of the world.


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Which American classic car would you choose that was radically different from any other car in the world at its time or any time? Most cars today look like every other car.

And to be specific no customs cars. Concepts either. Just ones that went into production.

Edited by heavybond
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post-31482-143142405072_thumb.jpgI'd say it was an easy choice, 1936-37 Cord.....totally different from anything on the road, eliminated running boards, front opening hood, front wheel drive, unibody construction, disappearing top on convertibles, styling that was beautiful and low.........
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The Airflow was pretty unique and cutting edge but I would still think the Cord would unseat it. Even more first time features than the Airflow. I think the styling was more of a hit than the Airflows when it was introduced as well. I might be a bit biased though.post-43003-143142405091_thumb.jpg

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Tucker should go on the list. It may not be thought of as a luxury car but in size, power, performance and horsepower it was comparable to the Cadillacs, Packards, Lincolns and Chryslers of its day. If they had got it in production it would have sold for Cadillac money too.

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I heard that at one location where the '36 Cord was first introduced to the public there was a mob scene with hundreds of people surrounding the showroom windows and even standing on top of parked cars to get a better look. They had to call the police it got so bad.

I don't believe they did that for a lot of the more recent car designs.

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And you Heavybond? What's your fave?

Hi Everyone,

Thank you for sharing your ideas. I have absolutely no idea about classic cars. That is why I signed up for AACA and so far it has been very educational. I can't wait to read all the other threads and topics. My first post was about identifying a car I saw in a photo. Ever since I looked at that photo I was wondering what happened to American cars? Why do cars today look SO UGLY? Perhaps ugly is the wrong word, but maybe boring? Every car looks the same. American classic cars were stunning.

What time period did American cars started to look like everyone elses?

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Hi Everyone,

Thank you for sharing your ideas. I have absolutely no idea about classic cars. That is why I signed up for AACA and so far it has been very educational. I can't wait to read all the other threads and topics. My first post was about identifying a car I saw in a photo. Ever since I looked at that photo I was wondering what happened to American cars? Why do cars today look SO UGLY? Perhaps ugly is the wrong word, but maybe boring? Every car looks the same. American classic cars were stunning.

What time period did American cars started to look like everyone elses?

The difference between early cars and todays cars is as simple as back then cars were built. Today they are assembled.

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Hi Everyone,

Thank you for sharing your ideas. I have absolutely no idea about classic cars. That is why I signed up for AACA and so far it has been very educational. I can't wait to read all the other threads and topics. My first post was about identifying a car I saw in a photo. Ever since I looked at that photo I was wondering what happened to American cars? Why do cars today look SO UGLY? Perhaps ugly is the wrong word, but maybe boring? Every car looks the same. American classic cars were stunning.

What time period did American cars started to look like everyone elses?

There was a time when getting your driving license was one of the big thrills of life. Cars meant freedom, mobility, maturity, respect, power, speed, excitement, beauty, everything that makes life worthwhile in one glorious package.

Then some time in the seventies the whole country turned against the car. Today most young people couldn't care less about cars. They want the latest electronic gadget. Cars have turned into appliances. You don't care any more what kind of car you have, than you do what kind of toaster or refrigerator you have.

It used to be, cars changed style every year because if they didn't, nobody would buy them. Now they make the same car for 10 or 15 years, then replace it with one that looks the same. What's the difference? Who cares what their toaster looks like?

Cars today are appliances. Safe, reliable, economical on gas, and about as exciting as a pocket full of wet pancakes.

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)
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Which American classic car would you choose that was radically different from any other car in the world at its time or any time? Most cars today look like every other car.

The Phantom Corsair must be at the top of the list, if you will allow a one off custom creation. Ironically, it looks a lot like today's cars but in 1938 it was like something from outer space.

post-48461-143142405284_thumb.jpg

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You would need to start a whole new thread with one off customs. The Buick Y job, as well as most of the GM Motorama Dream cars from the 1950's. Lincoln's Futura as well as all the other dream cars that the major manufactures built to draw in customers.

Can't argue with the styling of the 35-36 Auburn Boat tail but as far as overall design and engineering including the drivetrain I still stick with the Cord and that's coming from a member with the name Auburnseeker.

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I think based on how the question was posed, the Cord is a tough one to beat and would be my choice as well. Some notable alternatives above, though. Another runner up could be the first Lincoln Continental.

Assuming the OP is not talking about CCCA only Full Classics (see CCCA below for explanation, Heavybond if interested) and is using the term classic car generically, here are a couple of thoughts outside the Classic Era (1925 - 1948) -

Brass Era - the Stutz Bearcat - Loud, sporty and hardly utilitarian. Arguably the first musclecar, and all American.

Swinging 60s - The 64 & 1/2 Ford Mustang. Yes, common garden but when introduced they were wildly popular bringing European sports car flavor to America, and could be optioned out from a basic 6 cylinder AT to a loaded luxury/sports/GT type car. Generally recognized as starting the "pony car" genre.

Edited by Steve_Mack_CT (see edit history)
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There was a time when getting your driving license was one of the big thrills of life. Cars meant freedom, mobility, maturity, respect, power, speed, excitement, beauty, everything that makes life worthwhile in one glorious package.

Then some time in the seventies the whole country turned against the car. Today most young people couldn't care less about cars. They want the latest electronic gadget. Cars have turned into appliances. You don't care any more what kind of car you have, than you do what kind of toaster or refrigerator you have.

It used to be, cars changed style every year because if they didn't, nobody would buy them. Now they make the same car for 10 or 15 years, then replace it with one that looks the same. What's the difference? Who cares what their toaster looks like?

Cars today are appliances. Safe, reliable, economical on gas, and about as exciting as a pocket full of wet pancakes.

Really well said!

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In the early days, form followed function and so we have the look of the real antique cars. In the late 20's design came into the picture, and mass produced cars starting having some flair. 1932 to 1934 were probably the high point years for beautiful early cars. After WWII, for a few years design wasn't an issue, it was just feeding cars to the waiting public. In the 50's things got interesting, the 60's had some great cars, then the latter part of the 20th century began to get really boxy and boring.

When all cars are designed in a wind tunnel, and there are only so many ways one can stick a headlight or tail light in place, then all cars start to look alike. Also, and this baffles me, at some point color went by the wayside, and everyone wanted a white, gray/silver, or black car. Hard to tell anything apart....

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There was a time when getting your driving license was one of the big thrills of life. Cars meant freedom, mobility, maturity, respect, power, speed, excitement, beauty, everything that makes life worthwhile in one glorious package.

Then some time in the seventies the whole country turned against the car. Today most young people couldn't care less about cars. They want the latest electronic gadget. Cars have turned into appliances. You don't care any more what kind of car you have, than you do what kind of toaster or refrigerator you have.

It used to be, cars changed style every year because if they didn't, nobody would buy them. Now they make the same car for 10 or 15 years, then replace it with one that looks the same. What's the difference? Who cares what their toaster looks like?

Cars today are appliances. Safe, reliable, economical on gas, and about as exciting as a pocket full of wet pancakes.

Ok I had to laugh at that. I just set down to dinner. You guessed it, Pancakes.

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Hi Everyone,

Thank you for sharing your ideas. I have absolutely no idea about classic cars. That is why I signed up for AACA and so far it has been very educational. I can't wait to read all the other threads and topics. My first post was about identifying a car I saw in a photo. Ever since I looked at that photo I was wondering what happened to American cars? Why do cars today look SO UGLY? Perhaps ugly is the wrong word, but maybe boring? Every car looks the same. American classic cars were stunning.

What time period did American cars started to look like everyone elses?

Ralph Nader, plastic and the great push to make cars a giant safety bubble is what I think to happened to most cars

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How about 1969 Superbird? The Cord, Airflow, Auburn, Packard are like the girl you want to bring home and show to Mom - classy, elegant, mature, sophistiacted. I was a nine-year old boy when I saw the Superbird - that's the girl you want to take home and show Dad and your brothers and friends - hot, dirty, fun, sinful.

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The OP used a lower case "C" in classic , so I guess anything with four wheels can make his list. I've been in the hobby too long to not think of Classic Cars when classic is mentioned, so the L29 CORD would be my pick. Bob

Lots of good choices mentioned here. I think the Lincoln Zephyr outdid the Airflow. Aerodynamic but much better looking than the Airflows and also sold much better at about the same price. I still stand in awe when I see a Zephyr Coupe or convertible. I admire the '36-37 Cords but the L29 made history when they made the first popular front wheel drive car and chopped a foot off the height of cars doing it. Perhaps it wasn't as innovative as others but a Duesenberg J Murphy Roadster still lights my fire and I'm 74 years old. After WWII, hands down, it is the '56-57 Continental Mark II. Nothing else has ever looked as classy and did it without the chrome that was being slathered onto cars at that time.

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I agree that the Cords are hard to beat though I would humbly suggest from a pure "gee whiz" standpoint, the '61-67 Continental Convertibles were hard to beat. They can wow a crowd and are very understated. I have always been impressed that they seemed to be the very last no holds barred cars built in this country. I believe they represented the very best of our notion that we could and did build anything we wanted. Watching that 7 foot long top lower into the trunk is a sight of pure technological beauty. For me, unless I win the lottery it is the next best thing to a Duesenberg.

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Two Studebakers stand out, one in the 50's, the 1953 Starliner/Starlite Coupe gave rise to all the Hawk models through 1964. When the "shoebox" was the norm no one ever really copied it and it stands alone as a timeless design. The other is the 1963 Avanti, unique in it's time but with many unique styling features finding their way into other designs for the next thirty years.

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Hi Everyone,

Thank you for sharing your ideas. I have absolutely no idea about classic cars. That is why I signed up for AACA and so far it has been very educational. I can't wait to read all the other threads and topics. My first post was about identifying a car I saw in a photo. Ever since I looked at that photo I was wondering what happened to American cars? Why do cars today look SO UGLY? Perhaps ugly is the wrong word, but maybe boring? Every car looks the same. American classic cars were stunning.

What time period did American cars started to look like everyone elses?

A lot of the problem is conforming to the federal standards. The cars need to be made as aerodynamic, light weight, and as fuel efficient as possible to satisfy the requirements. Thank the gooberment for that. Dandy Dave!

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A lot of the problem is conforming to the federal standards. The cars need to be made as aerodynamic, light weight, and as fuel efficient as possible to satisfy the requirements. Thank the gooberment for that. Dandy Dave!

Leave it to the goverment to take quality out of their list of "standards"

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