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Factory Options in 40s & 50s


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Turn those lights on at idle and the engine stalls ?

 

Florida Statutes 320.0863 Custom vehicles and street rods; (basically at least 25 years old or built to resemble one such).

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(b) Such vehicle may also be equipped with blue dot tail lights for stop lamps, rear turning indicator lamps, rear hazard lamps, and rear reflectors.

 

 

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  • 5 months later...

By 1949 you could get most everything we have today but just not on the same car. A little browsing produced this:

1876  Power steering

1910  Cruise control  (Peerless)

1917  Electric wipers

1920  Power brakes ( Pierce-Arrow)

1939 Automatic transmission (Oldsmobile)

!940  Air conditioning  (Packard)

1940  Power windows  (Packard)

1940's  Power seats-just forward and back, 1955 T-Bird had 4 way

 

Didn't check accessory items and of course nothing involving computers or many electronics. Surprising how long some have been around.

 

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I like continental kits on some cars; mostly convertibles and 2-Door hardtops.  Some of the best were -46-49 Town & Country's, 56-57 Fords, 51-56 Packards, -55-56 Cadillacs, '57 Oldsmobiles, and especially '57-58 Pontiacs, to name a few.  What I never did like and still don't  was those cheap looking kits used on '55-60 Chevrolets where the bumper started out right at the end of the fender, just like bumpers on cars that did not have continental kits, and then stuck out right in the middle to accommodate the tire kit.  Gross.  I grew up during the '40-50's and only remember two cars in our neighborhood with blue dot tail lights, a light blue fast back '49-50 Pontiac and a '50 Ford.  Didn't Packard have a self-leveling suspension in '55 or ''56 or both?

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Talked to a man and wife, who have a nice collection of post-wars fords, at a cruise Friday night. That night they had a wonderful original (paint and interior) 1953 Mercury convertible with a dealer installed continental kit. It had been on the car from new, but he said that he was going to remove it. It was in great shape, it looked great and period correct. He also had a period correct spotlight that he said that was coming off. To each his own, but it all sounded like a lot of work for gaining nothing! 

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On February 10, 2017 at 6:44 AM, Brass is Best said:

As far as continental kits most were dealer installed. They came from a variety of manufactures. The two cars that come to mind with standard factory installed continentals are the 1940-1948 Lincoln Continental and 1956 Ford Thunderbird. The rest would have been a dealer installed option.

So my '57 retractable was dealer installed?

image.jpg

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3 hours ago, victorialynn2 said:

So my '57 retractable was dealer installed?

image.jpg

 

To the best of my knowledge yes. This would have been a dealer installed kit. That is why you see variation with continental kits. They came from several suppliers and were not built all the same.

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On ‎2‎/‎11‎/‎2017 at 0:02 AM, auburnseeker said:

GM I think did experiment and advertised a device that automatically put your top up on Convertibles if it sensed rain.  (I think it might be listed in my 1955 Chevy Color and Upholstery album under accessories)  I think Cadillac offered it as well ,atleast in it's original phase when they developed it,  though I've never actually seen it on a car.  I'm guessing it probably didn't work real well if at all. 

 

The "rain drop" top was a show car feature. It was used on the LeSabre and several other Concept Cars. It did work very well from all accounts. But there was a safety concern with putting it in use. I do not believe that it ever made production.

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The system appeared in Chrysler automobiles from 1956[2] to 1959 (1956-1958 model years). Records for the system were manufactured exclusively by Columbia Special Products and could hold roughly 45 minutes of music or an hour of speech per side. This was accomplished by the use of a very slow rotation speed of 16⅔ RPM—versus 33 RPM for long-playing records and 45 RPM for singles—in conjunction with an extremely tight groove pitch of 550 grooves per inch (216.5 grooves per centimeter, over four times that of a standard monaural LP of the period). The recording surface extended to an unusually small diameter of 2 14 inches (57 mm), which constrained the label to 1 12 inches (38 mm) for long-playing titles, but demonstration discs with brief contents not requiring an extended playing time were manufactured with standard 3 inch (76 mm) labels.[citation needed]

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Manufacture[edit]

The players themselves were manufactured by CBS Electronics. According to the official Chrysler press release of September 12, 1955, "Highway Hi-Fi plays through the speaker of the car radio and uses the radio's amplifier system. The turntable for playing records, built for Chrysler by CBS-Columbia, is located in a shock-proof case mounted just below the center of the instrument panel. A tone arm, including sapphire stylus and ceramic pick up, plus storage space for six long-play records make up the unit." A button controlled whether you listened to the radio or the records.[3] A proprietary 0.25-mil (i.e., 0.00025" or a quarter of a "thou") stylus was used with an unusually high stylus pressure of two grams to prevent skipping or skating despite normal car vibrations.

Highway Hi-Fi units were factory-installed and were not available as aftermarket add-ons.[citation needed] With a tendency to break or malfunction,[citation needed] and a limited number of titles (which were available solely from one label's back catalog), the product was not a commercial success; Chrysler slowly began to pull support for Highway Hi-Fi as early as 1957 when high warranty service costs became evident.[citation needed] Another automobile record player was manufactured by RCA from 1960 to 1961. This later version dropped the "Highway Hi-Fi" label (not being Chrysler-exclusive) and played standard 45 RPM 7" records.[4] It, too, suffered a short lifespan: the players were even more prone to malfunction than those manufactured by CBS,[citation needed] and standard 7" records had their grooves worn down rapidly by the high stylus pressure used to prevent skipping.

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My brother installed one in his '56 Chevy in the early '60s. Where he got it from, I never knew. That phono, combined with his reverb unit (remember those?) and 265 "Power Pack" made his black and white Bel Air 2 dr hdtp one of the coolest cars in north Minneapolis.

Edited by Hudsy Wudsy (see edit history)
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