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[Looking For Opinions] What Was The First Personal Luxury Car?


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(I'm looking for opinions and from my perspective there is no wrong answer)

 

What was the first personal luxury car?

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9 minutes ago, J3Studio said:

 

I would say any two seat body on a high end chassis fits the bill, for example the 1916 (?) Packard Twin Six roadster recently for sale.

Think of how big and how expensive these cars were for carrying two people.

Lots of examples in the Full Classic era.

If you mean the Monte Carlo/Grand Prix kind of thing, that's really a volume chassis with 2+2 seating and modified styling - gets to be a very arbitrary call.  Hudson Italia?  Lancia Aurelia?  Bentley Continental? Alfa Romeo Freccia D'Oro?

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Just now, bryankazmer said:

If you mean the Monte Carlo/Grand Prix kind of thing, that's really a volume chassis with 2+2 seating and modified styling - gets to be a very arbitrary call.  Hudson Italia?  Lancia Aurelia?  Bentley Continental? Alfa Romeo Freccia D'Oro?

 

I agree with arbitrary—that's why I'm looking for opinions. Thank you!

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I've brought you back at least to the 1940's if not way before that.  I certainly don't think the idea started with the Riviera or Grand Prix, that was adapting it to a new era.

A favorite of mine is the 1930's Packard V12 Dietrich split window coupe - stunning curb presence.

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Very much a judgement call. I think the first car this term was applied to was the 63 Riviera or possibly the 58 4 seater Thunderbird. You could carry the concept back to the Hudson coupe or 2 door sedan of the twenties with the little coach lamps on the side. Or maybe a Stutz coupe from the early twenties. To me it means a small closed car with better than average luxury and performance but not a sports car or performance car per se.

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Early 1900s Great Arrow Pierce Arrow limousine would be in the running, but there were earlier cars, including European, which were luxury motivation for the wealthy.

 

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2 minutes ago, Rusty_OToole said:

Very much a judgement call. I think the first car this term was applied to was the 63 Riviera or possibly the 58 4 seater Thunderbird. You could carry the concept back to the Hudson coupe or 2 door sedan of the twenties with the little coach lamps on the side. Or maybe a Stutz coupe from the early twenties. To me it means a small closed car with better than average luxury and performance but not a sports car or performance car per se.

Dodge actually used it as part of their name in the 40s. Luxury Liner

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I think this topic will show a divide.  Lots of early, turn of the century, luxury vehicles.  The

modernists will be looking in the 1950s and 1960s and beyond. Luxury vehicles have been made and marketed since the horse drawn days...

 

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Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, trimacar said:

I think this topic will show a divide. Lots of early, turn of the century, luxury vehicles. The modernists will be looking in the 1950s and 1960s and beyond. Luxury vehicles have been made and marketed since the horse drawn days …

 

I agree, but that's absolutely okay. I'm hoping to narrow from "luxury" to "personal luxury," but understand that the advent of a phrase isn't necessarily when examples first existed ...

Edited by J3Studio (see edit history)
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The question is about the "Personal" luxury vehicle. There were plenty of luxury limousines as big as a school bus but they were hardly "personal". The term refers to a smaller luxury car made for 2 passengers or occasionally 4, no more. There were coupe bodies on big luxury car chassis but they don't quite fill the bill either as they were too big. What about a small closed car with all the comfort and luxury appointments of the heavy models? There were such cars, like the Lincoln Continental but who got there first with a specific model aimed at this market?

Jordan had their Silhouette model from about 1920 but was it the first?

1920 JORDAN SILHOUETTE BROUGHAM  ORIGINAL VINTAGE CAR AD

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One piece of data, for what it's worth—Google shows the phrase "personal luxury car" as first appearing in any relevant percentage in 1958 and peaking in 1979.

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2 minutes ago, Rusty_OToole said:

Jordan had their Silhouette model from about 1920 but was it the first?

 

Jordan was sure as heck selling to a "lifestyle" customer.

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In England, a higher trim level business coupe was most often called a "Doctor's Coupe".   Rolls-Royce cataloged them, as did many other of the higher-end coachbuilders.  I would consider a Doctor's Coupe body style a personal luxury car.

 

Craig

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I'll freely admit to being quite limited in my knowledge pre-1955, which is why I always learn a lot from asking these wide open questions in General.

 

Thanks to all who have jumped in on this thread.

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20 minutes ago, 8E45E said:

In England, a higher trim level business coupe was most often called a "Doctor's Coupe".   Rolls-Royce cataloged them, as did many other of the higher-end coachbuilders.  I would consider a Doctor's Coupe body style a personal luxury car.

 

Something else I just learned …

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1 hour ago, J3Studio said:

I'm looking for opinions

This is a very dangerous statement to make on this site. Not only does everyone here have one, they have several, and if you need them to, they'll get their brother's, sister's, uncle's, aunt's, and even their neighbor's opinions for you.🤣

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Just now, George Smolinski said:

This is a very dangerous statement to make on this site. Not only does everyone here have one, they have several, and if you need them to, they'll get their brother's, sister's, uncle's, aunt's, and even their neighbor's opinions for you.🤣

 

:)

 

Hah! I'm (really!) actually looking for what you describe …

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King Edward VII was the first British Monarch to own and drive an automobile.  Here are a couple of iconic photos showing him in his 1899 12Hp Daimler (photo taken approximately 1900). Supposedly, Lord Montague is seated along side of him.  Montague was an early pioneer motorist.  The second photo shows the King in his 1903 Daimler.   Edward was known as the "playboy prince."  

 

Also shown is an 1897 Daimler, reportedly the first car in Los Angeles CA.

 

I think these clearly meet the criteria as "Personal luxury cars," and there are many others that were owned exclusively by the wealthy elite of society.

Terry

King Edward.jpg

King Edward 2.jpg

1897 Daimler.jpg

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Posted (edited)

Of actual cars I have seen in person, 1905 Packard and 1904 Pierce Arrow Great Arrow come to mind as the first real cars........the first real luxury car......hands down, no debate 1907 Pierce Arrow 65 horsepower “66”. Not a special, not a race car. Just a killer over the top production car............nothing  anywhere comes close....nothing!

77E0931C-8D68-4004-8153-30786D7BBD0A.png

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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Posted (edited)

What a thought-provoking question.  If you define personal as "intended to be driven by the owner, rather than a chauffer", and accept the definition of luxury as " having great comfort and extravagance", then you cannot discount the early electrics, such as this 1912 Baker.  A little off-the-wall thinking, though I have to add that I like the ideas of the Jordan, as well as the Mark II Continental.

1912Baker.jpg

Edited by Akstraw
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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Rusty_OToole said:

For those who don't quite get it, here are some more examples of a personal luxury car.

1939 Lincoln Continental

 

image.jpeg.705dfd49bb1fe0e2d093d9b466fd6251.jpeg

 

I agree that Mark I Continental is a 'personal luxury' car, as were the  '56-7 'Mark II' also, where the 1958 - 1960 Mark III, IV, and V's were not.  Perhaps it was the main reason FoMoCo chose to ignore the 1958 - '60 Continentals when it released the personal luxury 'Mark III' in mid-1968 as a 1969 model.

 

Craig

Edited by 8E45E (see edit history)
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2 minutes ago, Akstraw said:

What a thought-provoking question.

 

On a good day.

:)

What a great photo!

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4 minutes ago, Akstraw said:

What a thought-provoking question.  If you define personal as "intended to be driven by the owner, rather than a chauffer", and accept the definition of luxury as " having great comfort and extravagance", then you cannot discount the early electrics, such as this 1912 Baker.  A little off-the-wall thinking, though I have to add that I like the ideas of the Jordan, as well as the Mark II Continental.

1912Baker.jpg

The 1925 Julian was also rather opulent inside.

 

Craig

1925_Julian_3.jpg

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1 minute ago, 8E45E said:

I agree that Mark I Continental is a 'personal luxury' car, as was the  '56-7 'Mark II' also, where the 1958 - 1960 Mark III, IV, and V's were not.  Perhaps it was the main reason FoMoCo chose to ignore the 1958 - '60 Continentals when it released the personal luxury 'Mark III' in mid-1968 as a 1969 model.

 

Don't want to ruffle any feathers, but that seems to be what happened.

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All great answers to a great question... the 1912 Baker... wow

 

I have a tendency to think only the rich owned a car in the beginning...

 

The first car

 

image.png.6fb9809c1f1261a494c18c482dc7d4c7.png

 

image.png.5d288c51ba6caed5ff76e5ae80071858.png       Martha Benz, they say she was even prettier in real life, Automobile Engineer, business partner and first long distance auto journey.

 

Compared to a horse, I would call it luxury.

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)
17 hours ago, Rusty_OToole said:

Very much a judgement call. I think the first car this term was applied to was the 63 Riviera or possibly the 58 4 seater Thunderbird. You could carry the concept back to the Hudson coupe or 2 door sedan of the twenties with the little coach lamps on the side. Or maybe a Stutz coupe from the early twenties. To me it means a small closed car with better than average luxury and performance but not a sports car or performance car per se.

 

Remember the three G.M. personal luxury cars of 1953. The 1953 Buick Skylark, the 53 Oldsmobile Fiesta, and the Cadillac El Dorado.

1953 Buick Skylark, Oldsmobile Fiesta, and Cadillac Eldorado — Curbside Car  Show Calendar

Lincoln Mark 2, Ford Thunderbird 1955-1966.

 If Pontiac Grand Prix ( 1962-68 ) is allowed, then the 1960-61 Ventura should be allowed too. A 1962 Pontiac Grand Prix in reality is a new name for the Ventura sans some more HP from the same engine. Both born out of Catalina, and 63-68 gets a distinctive concave backlight......like, here comes another Personal Luxury coupe, the Olds Starfire which began in 1954.    

Edited by Pfeil (see edit history)
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3 hours ago, Graham Man said:

All great answers to a great question... the 1912 Baker... wow

 

I have a tendency to think only the rich owned a car in the beginning...

 

The first car

 

image.png.6fb9809c1f1261a494c18c482dc7d4c7.png

 

image.png.5d288c51ba6caed5ff76e5ae80071858.png       Martha Benz, they say she was even prettier in real life, Automobile Engineer, business partner and first long distance auto journey.

 

Compared to a horse, I would call it luxury.

 

 

 

 

 

I had not looked into this thread for several hours. When I began reading, I was a bit dismayed by so many suggestions of postwar cars and classics of the 1920s and '30s. As I was reading, I was thinking of so many incredible automobiles of the 1890s, Daimlers, Benz, and the like. I was also thinking to myself that the really truly first luxury automobile was the 1886 Benz Patent wagon (automobile). Such luxury, to drive oneself for miles. And I recalled how his wife would often drive the car herself to go shopping! How can that be beat?

G M, You beat me to it!

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9 hours ago, 8E45E said:

I agree that Mark I Continental is a 'personal luxury' car, as were the  '56-7 'Mark II' also, where the 1958 - 1960 Mark III, IV, and V's were not.  Perhaps it was the main reason FoMoCo chose to ignore the 1958 - '60 Continentals when it released the personal luxury 'Mark III' in mid-1968 as a 1969 model.

 

Craig

 

I believe that they were marketed with that phrase "personal luxury car"

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4 minutes ago, John348 said:

 

I believe that they were marketed with that phrase "personal luxury car"

I believe it was Edsel Ford who came up with the term.

 

Craig

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Using the strict sense of the phrase I think Edsel Ford did come up with it referencing the first Lincoln Continental. 

 

The concept of a luxury car built for the driver though, was also how Rolls Royce categorized  Bentley, likely tying into the sporting heritage already established before acquisition.

 

So many cool coachbuilt cars seem built to that purpose as well in the Classic era. 

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