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Here's an opportunity for one of you nice folks to own GMs homeliest (some might say, ugliest) car. Someone in the great state of Wyoming is selling a '42 Oldsmobile on their local Craigslist. I never miss an opportunity to shine a light on these cars because their front end design so very baffling. As I've said before in past posts, their bumper (look at those pointy teeth), grille, and hood ornament look like submissions from several different angry committees. You could rechrome it, polish the stainless or paint it flat black, but nothing would make this laughable hodgepodge of competing design elements look good unless it was removed all together. The Olds for sale is missing it's hood ornament, so I included a picture of another Olds from Google. Even it (the hood ornament) looks like something that flew into the hood and made a stain. Nevertherless, I'm open to other views. If you find it attractive, could you please say why?

http://wyoming.craigslist.org/cto/4932439980.html

http://images.craigslist.org/00y0y_62quEpx3DW0_600x450.jpg

http://www.collectorcardealer.com/1942%20Olds%20Coupe/P1005039.jpg

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It wasn't until the debut of the Pontiac Aztek that GM was able to top the 42 Olds for a designed by committee look. Yet, if someone were to customize the front end of one, they would be vilified by the purists. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

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Well I don't know. I hate to put this one on a marque that I love but...........see for yourself;

1942pontiac_FTR985_b.jpg

The grille looks like it came off the side of a building...you know, the kind of bars for a old A/C unit attached to a wall in the 40's

Edited by helfen (see edit history)
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I agree that the 42 Olds and the Pontiac above feature a number of disparate styling elements that are fighting themselves and losing.

It is worth mentioning that the 46 47 and 48 Olds shared the same body but had a grille so admired that it was pirated by dozens of custom cars in the fifties,

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I agree that the 42 Olds and the Pontiac above feature a number of disparate styling elements that are fighting themselves and losing.

It is worth mentioning that the 46 47 and 48 Olds shared the same body but had a grille so admired that it was pirated by dozens of custom cars in the fifties,

Well Chevy used a variation (one year only) for 46 that looks similar to the 46 Olds, but Olds continued some form of the theme even into the 62 model year.

The 46 Chevy;

46-Chevy-Fleetmaster-DV-13-US_02.jpg

The 46 Olds;

http://blog2.route65classics.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Car-inventory-211.jpg

Edited by helfen (see edit history)
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The Aztec pretty much wins hands down. The styling misstep for the 42 cars was pretty much limited to the grille. The Aztec was terrible from pretty much every angle.

By the way did anyone see the 42 Olds in the swap meet at Hershey on Tuesday this last year? Even with the styling misstep, that car was gorgeous.

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Tough to top the Aztec, but a few more nominees are the Achieva, Envoy XUV (the one with retractable top), and the Lumina APV van. As far as current vehicles, the Terrain is pretty rough. I'd say anything built before 1990 is better than all of these in terms of design.

Edited by 39BuickEight (see edit history)
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Hudsy Wudsy, did you bump your head on something? That '42 Oldsmobile is drop dead beautiful compared to that piece of crap they called a Pontiac Aztek. And then folks wonder why GM got themselves in trouble with the automobile consuming public. The idiots who came up with that Pontiac thing had to have been on some kind of gawd awful bad drugs. I wouldn't be caught goin' to a dog fight in one of those pieces of crap - I cleaned that up a LOT!! The '42 Olds that you don't seem to like is very right up to the minute pre WW2. I could very much like that car in a Brilliant Red convertible body style with a Khaki colored top. Give this automobile a break for cryin' out loud. It's 73 years old, it survived all the scrap drives during the war, and to top that off, it has it's workin' clothes on. I have been a GM guy practically all my life. I am into EARLY Buicks bigtime. The first old car I ever owned was a 1931 Hudson Essex. Traded that for a 1937 Indian 45 cubic inch Sport Scout and it has been nothing but GM for me ever since. You need to send this to Steve Moskowitz and tell him that you don't like this '42 Oldsmobile and that you think it is ugly. Let us all know what he tells you about that. There is an old saying that I have heard several times in my life that goes something like - Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, or something like that. Nothing personal intended here - just trying to get you to open your eyes up a little bit.

Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas

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Guest my3buicks

I tend to think Olds didn't do much better with the Toro's front end - it was kind of like we really screwed up in 42, let's not make that mistake again, we will just not have a front end. Following years got worse.

post-30591-143143107877_thumb.jpg

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Hudsy Wudsy, did you bump your head on something? That '42 Oldsmobile is drop dead beautiful compared to that piece of crap they called a Pontiac Aztek. And then folks wonder why GM got themselves in trouble with the automobile consuming public. The idiots who came up with that Pontiac thing had to have been on some kind of gawd awful bad drugs. I wouldn't be caught goin' to a dog fight in one of those pieces of crap - I cleaned that up a LOT!! The '42 Olds that you don't seem to like is very right up to the minute pre WW2. I could very much like that car in a Brilliant Red convertible body style with a Khaki colored top. Give this automobile a break for cryin' out loud. It's 73 years old, it survived all the scrap drives during the war, and to top that off, it has it's workin' clothes on. I have been a GM guy practically all my life. I am into EARLY Buicks bigtime. The first old car I ever owned was a 1931 Hudson Essex. Traded that for a 1937 Indian 45 cubic inch Sport Scout and it has been nothing but GM for me ever since. You need to send this to Steve Moskowitz and tell him that you don't like this '42 Oldsmobile and that you think it is ugly. Let us all know what he tells you about that. There is an old saying that I have heard several times in my life that goes something like - Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, or something like that. Nothing personal intended here - just trying to get you to open your eyes up a little bit.

Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas

It does not matter what Steve Moskowitz thinks. As you said beauty is in the eye of the beholder or the individual -- not Steve. I behold that the 1941-42 Olds, and the 1946- 47 Pontiac, and Pontiac Astec and some other GM cars are not what I call done in good taste. Should those cars be preserved or restored??? Absolutely. I have a friend who has a 1942 B44 Touring sedan that's in reasonably good shape and is still in original paint and interior....it's a time machine even though when I get near the front end of the car I have to look away to get past it. I can live with that.

Why do you ask that I also singled out the 1941 Olds as well? The reason is the front end chrome dripping from the headlamps and the fender turn signal? or driving lamp reminds me of some of the pictures of the Titanic where some of the railing or other fixtures have been slowly eaten away and the rust is sort of dripping from them. 1941 Olds;

il_fullxfull.263415339.jpg

Titanic;

images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQ3jEWQ0ux0uxrgMTWZsH6S7ubonHdMYfUe_vnxjPctmw6HITrt

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Hey Helfen...let's go back to post #4. Why are you beating up on that great-looking Pontiac? Isn't that a trophy I see on the fender of the trailer? Gotta be sumpin' good about it. Seesch!!

Seesch, Go back to #4 and read what I said were my reasons. "The grille looks like it came off the side of a building...you know, the kind of bars for a old A/C unit attached to a wall in the 40's "

I also said this; I behold that the 1941-42 Olds, and the 1946- 47 Pontiac, and Pontiac Astec and some other GM cars are not what I call done in good taste. Should those cars be preserved or restored??? Absolutely.

Edited by helfen (see edit history)
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Hudsy Wudsy, did you bump your head on something? That '42 Oldsmobile is drop dead beautiful compared to that piece of crap they called a Pontiac Aztek. And then folks wonder why GM got themselves in trouble with the automobile consuming public. The idiots who came up with that Pontiac thing had to have been on some kind of gawd awful bad drugs. I wouldn't be caught goin' to a dog fight in one of those pieces of crap - I cleaned that up a LOT!! The '42 Olds that you don't seem to like is very right up to the minute pre WW2. I could very much like that car in a Brilliant Red convertible body style with a Khaki colored top. Give this automobile a break for cryin' out loud. It's 73 years old, it survived all the scrap drives during the war, and to top that off, it has it's workin' clothes on. I have been a GM guy practically all my life. I am into EARLY Buicks bigtime. The first old car I ever owned was a 1931 Hudson Essex. Traded that for a 1937 Indian 45 cubic inch Sport Scout and it has been nothing but GM for me ever since. You need to send this to Steve Moskowitz and tell him that you don't like this '42 Oldsmobile and that you think it is ugly. Let us all know what he tells you about that. There is an old saying that I have heard several times in my life that goes something like - Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, or something like that. Nothing personal intended here - just trying to get you to open your eyes up a little bit.

Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas

I wish people would not call a AZTEK (2001-2005) a Pontiac thing. Pontiac ceased being a Pontiac after 1981. Anything past 1981 just has a Pontiac name on a corporate car.

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I agree the Aztec is ugly, but it didn't stop there. Look at some of the Asian cars................Butt ugly.

Yes but the topic is GM'S Homliest.....not Asian cars or for that matter any other U.S. make.

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I guess, for my part, the Aztec arrived at a time when I had, and still do have, diminished expectations regarding automotive styling in general. Also, it's foreign roots seem to somewhat diminish the blame the for it's ugly design. Don't get me wrong, it's hideous. I guess that I've always thought that the '42 Olds was sort of the ultimate "ugly" in that brief era of styling insanity just before the war. I find a lot of cars of that era disappointing. I believe that the most beautiful American cars were built form the mid thirties until the war. I've just never understood what went wrong at the end of that time span and perhaps the '42 Olds is just the ultimate example of Detroit's sudden loss of good taste. A person doesn't have to be a big Ford fan to wish that they hadn't abandoned the looks of the '40 in favor of the '41. I wouldn't mind living in a world where the '40 Ford went on with few changes for a couple of more years. I like Oldsmobiles and I sure don't let this particular aberration deter me from my admiration of the marque. I think that within the structure of GM they did an interesting thing with the tail light placement on the '37 or '38 and I've always admired the brave dashboard design of the '38s. Also, I find that their postwar grilles are beautifully understated designs.

'37 Olds tail lights:

1937-oldsmobile-six-517.jpg

'38 Olds dash:

5398631_3_l.jpg

Postwar grille:

47LF.197144558_large.JPG

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Actually the only real styling miscue on the 46 47 Olds is the headlight placement. If they put them further out on the fenders the front would have looked really nice. Look at a custom 47-48 Chevy with an Olds Grille or even a 46-48 Ford with that swap. They look better just because the lights are further out in the fenders.

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I guess, for my part, the Aztec arrived at a time when I had, and still do have, diminished expectations regarding automotive styling in general. Also, it's foreign roots seem to somewhat diminish the blame the for it's ugly design.

Foreign roots??? WHAT foreign roots? The Aztec was 100% domestic. The Aztec was derived from the FWD minivan platform of the period (think second-gen Chevy Venture and Olds Silhouette, not the original "dustbuster" vans).

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Wow! The only thought that comes to mind here in reading some of these comments is most of you guys sure wouldn't be fighting over the same woman. Let's take this thing in the opposite direction for the sake of starting a good argument in that vein. I get it, I truly do, the '42 Oldsmobile is viewed as an 'ugly' car by some of you on here. Just what would be thought of as a very good looking or beautifully styled automobile? Since this thread started out in the GM flavor, let's keep it focused on their products. If some of you really think that the '42 Olds is ugly, this had ought to be better than reading the Sunday comic strips.

Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas

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Guys, I'm truly sorry for ever starting this thread. I clearly don't know what I'm talking about. I'm afraid that age has taken it's toll. If the moderator wants to delete this whole thing, I'd certainly understand.

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I feel a new Country song commin on. She thinks my 42 Olds is sexy. Hop in Baby, Let me take you for a ride on the fast side the back seat is extra wide.... Actually I think it a sweet ride. Yeah... Dooo daa. do.da dooo dooo ... ;) Dandy Dave!

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I don't share everyone's opinion about the Aztec. While I can't say its pretty by any means, IMO its certainly is not GM's ugliest. There are several others which far surpass. Which ones? Most every of the early 1980s X cars for five. Mom & dad each had Omega sedans (ugh!). Dad's business used several more Omegas, one Skylark and an anemic Phoenix fastback. No Citations or Cimmarons. Whew! Speaking of ugly fastbacks, what about the 1979 Cutlass Salon. Eeew!!!

The interesting thing about Aztecs, if you were to put them alongside several of the current models crossovers, foreign and domestic, they share a lot of the similar styling features.

post-31591-143143108754_thumb.jpg

post-31591-143143108747_thumb.jpg

post-31591-143143108751_thumb.jpg

post-31591-143143108756_thumb.jpg

post-31591-143143108762_thumb.jpg

post-31591-143143108763_thumb.jpg

post-31591-143143108766_thumb.jpg

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Wow! The only thought that comes to mind here in reading some of these comments is most of you guys sure wouldn't be fighting over the same woman. Let's take this thing in the opposite direction for the sake of starting a good argument in that vein. I get it, I truly do, the '42 Oldsmobile is viewed as an 'ugly' car by some of you on here. Just what would be thought of as a very good looking or beautifully styled automobile? Since this thread started out in the GM flavor, let's keep it focused on their products. If some of you really think that the '42 Olds is ugly, this had ought to be better than reading the Sunday comic strips.

Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas

OK, I'll start with some of my favorites of the 40's. With Harley Earl's Idea of connecting style between divisions. 1939-1940 Cadillac and 1939's baby Cadillac the 1939 Chevrolet. The 1940 Buick and the 1940 baby Buick the 1940 Chevrolet. 1941 & 1942 Chevrolet. 1940 Pontiac Torpedo ( coupe, convertible and 4 dr sedan) all built on the Cadillac "C" body. The style breaker body that no other division got, pre or post war..The 1942-48 Buick Roadmaster/ Super with "air foil styling" where the high line of the front pontoon fender extends all the way to the rear pontoon wraps around it and exits through the end of the skirt;

yyroadmaster48.jpg

The 1948 Oldsmobile 98 and Cadillac the pioneers of the next step after "air foil styling" called flow through fender styling where the high line of the front fender extends all the way through the body and over the rear pontoon as they exit together ( of course the club coupes look the best ) :

1948CadillacRearweb.jpg

And the last favorite of the 40's the pioneering hardtops of 1949. Cadillac Coupe de Ville, Buick Riviera, and Olds Holiday... all using GM's flow through fender styling.

1949_Cadillac_Coupe_Deville1.jpg

Edited by helfen (see edit history)
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The Aztec was terrible from pretty much every angle.

This is pretty much my thinking, too.

That noted, ugly, as has been noted, is in the eye of the beholder. I personally despise most of the design "themes" in today's cars ... exterior AND interior.

Cort :)www.oldcarsstronghearts.com

1979 & 1989 Caprice Classics | pigValve, paceMaker, cowValve

"Just when I think that I can make it without you, you come around & say you want me now" __ Rosanne Cash __ 'I Don't Know Why You Don't Want Me'

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Why all of a sudden we are bashing American cars???? Isn't this the AACA where we collect and restore these cars?

If its from the mid-to-late 1970's, those ugly 5-mph bumpers and primitive emission controls do nothing for their looks or engine performance. Back in the day, one could only drool over what an American car COULD have looked like without those ghastly bumpers by looking at what the Australian market offered during those years. I actually am seriously considering a mid-seventies LTD Landau or Falcon coupe from 'downunda' if things go well for me.

Craig

Craig

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If its from the mid-to-late 1970's, those ugly 5-mph bumpers and primitive emission controls do nothing for their looks or engine performance. Back in the day, one could only drool over what an American car COULD have looked like without those ghastly bumpers by looking at what the Australian market offered during those years. I actually am seriously considering a mid-seventies LTD Landau or Falcon coupe from 'downunda' if things go well for me.

Craig

Craig

Lots of nice cars from that era. My 76 Olds is the most trouble free car I've ever owned. Will do a honest 100 MPH, goes around corners like on rails, Is quiet, shifts smooth as silk and gets 28 mpg ( used to get 32 hwy mpg until 10% ethanol was introduced) Always draws a crowd at a car show and that original Catalytic converter keeps the tail pipe and muffler ( because of it's added heat ) all original and rust free. 114,000 miles and still has all it's original engine accessories, original never rebuilt carburetor, original fuel pump, air pump, power steering pump, alternator, spark plug wires and original rear brake shoes. The complete brake system is original except for the front brake pads ( on it's second set ) and gets a annual brake system flush to keep moisture out and seals/ cups pliable. Nothing done to the engine except service and a water pump and belts and hoses. Nothing done to the trans except annual fluid and filter changes, same with the rear end- once a year fluid change.

And a word on those bumpers ( 5mph ), going to work one day about thirty years ago I was coming up to a intersection to stop when a Toyota dove in-between me and the car in front of me. I destroyed the rear end of the Toyota and as we were exchanging information my bumper suddenly popped itself back out. Those bumpers are out far enough that the grille was not effected, so when the cops came they wanted to know where the car that had done the damage to the Toyota was so I said here it is right behind you! They couldn't believe it and wrote down no damage done to my car.

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Yeah, the Pontiac Aztec was the butt ugliest car ever built by GM but the Vibe wasn't far behind.  Right behind them would be those needle-nosed vans.  The Pontiac version was the Montana and I think the Chevrolet was the Venture but I try not to remember.  As ugly as the vans or worse was the fastback intermediates of 1978-80.  The Buick version was the Century and the Olds was the Cutlass Salon and the Chevrolet Citation was never a favorite of mine.   Full size, the '60 Olds was far uglier than the '42 and the '61 was a close second.  Thankfully they finally got their act back together and built some beautiful cars beginning in 1963.  I saw a '64 Starfire Saturday and it is still as stunning as it was when it was new.  What always made me wonder was how they would build a beautiful car one year such as the '59 Buick and then do such a dreadful facelift the next year.  And someone at Corvette definitely lost their marbles when they followed the '63-'67 Sting Rays with those awful '68 and later cars.  Not until 1984 did they really return to building handsome cars.  Oh yeah, don't even think about getting me started on some other brands. 

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Good looking GM creations.  The '48-'49 Cadillac Sedanet, the '49 Buick Roadmaster/Super Jetback, and the '49 Olds fastback coupe are beautiful as are the '53 Buick Skylark and Olds Fiesta.  A few years down the road the '67 Chevelle and any Buick Skylark/GS from 1967 to about 1972.  '65-66 Buicks and Olds are sweet as are '57-'62 Pontiacs.

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Yeah, the Pontiac Aztec was the butt ugliest car ever built by GM but the Vibe wasn't far behind.  Right behind them would be those needle-nosed vans.  The Pontiac version was the Montana and I think the Chevrolet was the Venture but I try not to remember.  As ugly as the vans or worse was the fastback intermediates of 1978-80.  The Buick version was the Century and the Olds was the Cutlass Salon and the Chevrolet Citation was never a favorite of mine.   Full size, the '60 Olds was far uglier than the '42 and the '61 was a close second.  Thankfully they finally got their act back together and built some beautiful cars beginning in 1963.  I saw a '64 Starfire Saturday and it is still as stunning as it was when it was new.  What always made me wonder was how they would build a beautiful car one year such as the '59 Buick and then do such a dreadful facelift the next year.  And someone at Corvette definitely lost their marbles when they followed the '63-'67 Sting Rays with those awful '68 and later cars.  Not until 1984 did they really return to building handsome cars.  Oh yeah, don't even think about getting me started on some other brands. 

Interesting observation. 1962 Starfire is a great looking car, Buick never recovered ( to ever challenge the # 3 sales slot ) from 1959's disastrous ( less than 250,000 unit ) styling blunder, although I think it's better looking than the 59 Chevy, but you can't argue that Chevy sold over a million+ 59 units. 1961 Buicks gain back some loyal Buick customers. Some people think and I agree that the Mako corvette is a good looking car, and sales prove it. I was at a BOP show about a month ago and there were many people admiring a 1978 Olds Cutlass 442 fastback. The car was black with gold 442 badging with Olds super stock mag wheels which goes to show that making the right option choices when ordering a car really can make a difference in the yeh or nay department.    

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Good looking GM creations.  The '48-'49 Cadillac Sedanet, the '49 Buick Roadmaster/Super Jetback, and the '49 Olds fastback coupe are beautiful as are the '53 Buick Skylark and Olds Fiesta.  A few years down the road the '67 Chevelle and any Buick Skylark/GS from 1967 to about 1972.  '65-66 Buicks and Olds are sweet as are '57-'62 Pontiacs.

I have a 62 and 63 Pontiac. At cruises and shows the 63 gets the attention. The 62 front end with it's notch from the top of the front of the fender to the top of the headlamp is the styling cues you will find on the 64 Tempest, Lemans, LeMans GTO. The 63 Pontiac with it's stacked headlamps and coke bottle or venturi body styling show up on 1966-67 Tempest, LeMans, GTO. If you ever want to see a new 1963 Pontiac for 1966 and 67 look at a full size Ford, especially the 66 as it has full coke bottle styling.   

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