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


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1 hour ago, 76 Caddy said:

"Personal luxury Car"??

 

1967 Cadillac Eldorado...period! 

 

Tim

 

I would agree, but how do you account for the 66 Toronado?

 

First "personal luxury car" is like asking what the first real musclecar was.   There is no right answer.

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16 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.

 

Excellent observation, Craig!  I had never thought of the

situation quite that way.  

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4 minutes ago, alsancle said:

 

I would agree, but how do you account for the 66 Toronado?

 

First "personal luxury car" is like asking what the first real musclecar was.   There is no right answer.

That's a good question as we all know the Toro Body was a Olds project first and the 67 Eldorado sat on that "E" body platform. But the Toronado was a new for Olds Personal Luxury car in 1966, and the Eldorado is a Personal Luxury car that dates to the first Eldorado in 1953.

 

 The second one about muscle car is a bit easier. For instance when Olds installed the 303 V-8 into the "A" body 76 series it was done to create a mid section price point between the 98 and the 76. Also the "A" body 1949-1958 are consider a full size car.

 When Henry Ford installed the V-8 in 1932 it was to compete with the Chevrolet 6, and Henry Ford didn't like 6 cylinder engines so he installed the V-8. Still considered a full size car for the time. Had Henry installed the 221 in a English Ford ( much smaller scale ) it could have been called a muscle car. 

 Chrysler 300 is a full size car. Full size are not in the muscle criteria of a big engine in a mid size car.

 

 A production car that is purpose built for performance that is mid size, that was created by a division of a corporation to circumvent corporate rules of engine size and horsepower so that it could be released by making it a option on another series car that is mid size or what we call a intermediate is what a muscle car is. The car that meets that criteria is Pontiac GTO.

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1 minute ago, Pfeil said:

That's a good question as we all know the Toro Body was a Olds project first and the 67 Eldorado sat on that "E" body platform. But the Toronado was a new for Olds Personal Luxury car in 1966, and the Eldorado is a Personal Luxury car that dates to the first Eldorado in 1953.

I believe the 1961-1/2 thru 1966 Starfire would 'sort of' qualify as a personal luxury car prior to the Eldorado.  I say 'sort of' because it wasn't its own distinctive body shell like the Toronado, Riviera and Eldorado were.  Many will also include the 1962 & up Grand Prix's, although the 1969 & later models more or less cemented its status as personal luxury car.

 

Craig

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24 minutes ago, 8E45E said:

I believe the 1961-1/2 thru 1966 Starfire would 'sort of' qualify as a personal luxury car prior to the Eldorado.  I say 'sort of' because it wasn't its own distinctive body shell like the Toronado, Riviera and Eldorado were.  Many will also include the 1962 & up Grand Prix's, although the 1969 & later models more or less cemented its status as personal luxury car.

 

Craig

Craig , Eldorado started in 1953 along with Skylark and Old Fiesta, The spin off of those limited production cars for Olds was the 1954 Olds Starfire. This car had things no GM car had before like sweep cut front and rear fender styling and a  panoramic windshield with "A" pillar that swept back past 90 degrees that Chevy and Pontiac wouldn't get until 1958! Although Cadillac get's it in 1957.

Compare this 1954 Starfire with a 1954 Chevy and see old vs new. And where GM and Chevrolet styling was going.

image.jpeg.fae45d41666172df204e94dbbe4ff58e.jpeg1954 CHEVROLET BEL AIR 2 DOOR SEDAN

 

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One could argue the 40 Packard 160 business coupe as a musclecar, certainly as close as you could get at the time.  

 

Best power to weight ratio available at the time, a bit pared down compared to other 160 series models and very fast in relative terms.  Also not available in this form in Packard's 180 series line.

 

But some might argue Stutz/Mercer/Simplex and a few others were at the party well before the swinging 60s. 😁

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Posted (edited)

This is the same type of question as "What's the first muscle car?" Different ways to interpret it could be: A) common usage B ) definition.  A significant part of the world thinks the GTO was the first  muscle car.  Other people call everything from the '49 Olds to the '57 Rambler to the '58 Merc with a Super Marauder engine the first muscle car because they meet some aspect of the definition.

 

Who first coined the phrase "personal luxury?" I don't actually know, but it could help provide an answer. Was it Ford with the T-Bird? I was a little surprised that the T-Bird only came up in a couple of responses so far, even though there were earlier cars with a similar vibe. 

Edited by JamesR (see edit history)
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18 hours ago, edinmass said:

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

1907-08 Model G or K White Steamer! 

You'd be living the dream back then. 

Best

Charley

 

b3123b84a8e487286429dbe8e2710026.jpg

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4 minutes ago, just me said:

1907-08 Model G or K White Steamer! 

You'd be living the dream back then. 

Best

Charley

 

b3123b84a8e487286429dbe8e2710026.jpg

 

 

Can't argue against a White steam car of the era.........also one of the top three vehicles you could purchase.

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9 minutes ago, JamesR said:

This is the same type of question as "What's the first muscle car?" Different ways to interpret it could be: A) common usage B ) definition.  A significant part of the world thinks the GTO was the first  muscle car.  Other people call everything from the '49 Olds to the '57 Rambler to the '58 Merc with a Super Marauder engine the first muscle car because they meet some aspect of the definition.

 

Who first coined the phrase "personal luxury?" I don't actually know, but it could help provide an answer. Was it Ford with the T-Bird? I was a little surprised that the T-Bird only came up in a couple of responses so far, even though there were earlier cars with a similar vibe. 

James I think Ford was indeed first to coin the phrase for the 4 seater T-birds.  That is probably the closest to a textbook answer but the alternatives are interesting.

 

I don't know if any manufacturer ever actually leveraged the term musclecar but I do think the GTO is generally credited with being the first of that type.  I was half serious with my alternatives.  They seem conceptually close but since the term musclecar is generally associated with the cars of the 60s the GTO seems viable enough.

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Not to hijack J3's thread but while we are at it, did Ford also coin the term "ponycar" to coincide with the Mustang, or did someone else think it up?  I remember it seemed to be a much more popular term, that has fallen out of use while everything seems to be a musclecar, like a 318 powered Charger, etc.

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2 hours ago, Pfeil said:

Compare this 1954 Starfire with a 1954 Chevy and see old vs new. And where GM and Chevrolet styling was going.

image.jpeg.fae45d41666172df204e94dbbe4ff58e.jpeg1954 CHEVROLET BEL AIR 2 DOOR SEDAN

 

From the time when one really could tell an Oldsmobile from a Chevrolet a block away.

 

Craig

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Following the drift from 'personal luxury' into muscle cars.

Some historians have argued the "first real muscle car " was the 1913 Stutz that "made good in a day". Others mention that Mercer began production three years earlier. However, the Mercer was a smaller car, using a high quality and powerful motor. That engine wasn't significantly different than other high end four cylinder motors in a number of standard touring car offerings. But its power to weight ratio gave it incredible handling and speed!

The Stutz had a much more powerful engine, and almost fifty percent more weight. The Mercer was a somewhat more refined car, and dominated on winding roads and short tracks. The Stutz tended to dominate more where slightly lower speed cornering wasn't so important. So while both have legitimate claims as earliest muscle car (actually a modern term for an old concept)? Stutz may have been more true the muscle car ideal. (now to hear from the Mercer crowd?)   (I know owners of both, and at club meets have listened to them get into the 'which is better' argument a few times! That is where I got the arguments I just gave out.)

 

My opinion? Which by the way I rarely give directly to those car owners. Chadwick beat them both!

I also know an owner of one of the very few of those! About thirty years ago, he and I were seated next to each other at a Horseless Carriage Club banquet. I thoroughly enjoyed the hour we spent talking about his restoration of his Chadwick!

 

Beginning about 1907, Chadwick manufactured and sold extremely high end automobiles, both four and soon six cylinder. All the engines were monstrous compared to almost everything else. Touring cars were offered and sold, but most of their sales were high powered roadsters. They did not manufacture many cars, but manufactured and sold they were. One-off racing cars and even Ford's twins 999 and Arrow were not production cars.

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3 hours ago, Steve_Mack_CT said:

James I think Ford was indeed first to coin the phrase for the 4 seater T-birds.  That is probably the closest to a textbook answer but the alternatives are interesting.

 

I don't know if any manufacturer ever actually leveraged the term musclecar but I do think the GTO is generally credited with being the first of that type.  I was half serious with my alternatives.  They seem conceptually close but since the term musclecar is generally associated with the cars of the 60s the GTO seems viable enough.

The term "pony car" to describe members of its ranks was coined by Car Life magazine editor Dennis Shattuck. The characteristics of a pony car were defined as: A sporty compact car for the masses, that could carry four people.

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Characteristics (as defined by Wikipedia)
Personal luxury cars are mass-market vehicles that have a combination of Sports car and Luxury car characteristics, typically two-door coupés or convertibles, typically with a small rear seat not intended for regular use by adults. Personal luxury car designs emphasize comfort and convenience, often highly equipped with interior features that were either optional or not available on other models.

 

1960s:

Ford Thunderbird (second generation)

Buick Riviera

Oldsmobile Toronado

Studebaker Avante

 

1950s:

Cadillac Eldorado

Buick Roadmaster Skylark

Oldsmobile 98 Fiesta

Imperial Newport

Packard Hawk

Packard Caribbean

 

Pre-War:

Wow.. not sure where to start.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_luxury_car

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Posted (edited)
9 minutes ago, Peter Gariepy said:

Characteristics (as defined by Wikipedia)
Personal luxury cars are mass-market vehicles that have a combination of Sports car and Luxury car characteristics, typically two-door coupés or convertibles, typically with a small rear seat not intended for regular use by adults. Personal luxury car designs emphasize comfort and convenience, often highly equipped with interior features that were either optional or not available on other models.

By the mid-to-late 1960's personal luxury cars and the Continental and Thunderbird prior to that, the long hood/short deck layout was almost a requirement for a personal luxury car, most often at the expense of rear seat room.

 

Craig

Edited by 8E45E (see edit history)
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The 4 passenger Thunderbirds of the late 50's and through the 60's were marketed by Ford with the term "Personal Luxury Car" not sure there was strict criteria for this handle though.  I agree that the Lincoln Mark II's should be included and probably many others. 

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1 hour ago, Pfeil said:

The term "pony car" to describe members of its ranks was coined by Car Life magazine editor Dennis Shattuck. The characteristics of a pony car were defined as: A sporty compact car for the masses, that could carry four people.

 

4 hours ago, Steve_Mack_CT said:

Not to hijack J3's thread but while we are at it, did Ford also coin the term "ponycar" to coincide with the Mustang, or did someone else think it up?  I remember it seemed to be a much more popular term, that has fallen out of use while everything seems to be a musclecar, like a 318 powered Charger, etc.

1621958422_y27d4watrd.jpg

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Well Peter I didn't think I was going from golf to gardening...

 

To tie it all together, it seems when Fomoco rolled out the Mustang, it was also a strategy to provide an insane list of options and configurations.  The Mustang could be had as basic transportation, more of a sporty/GT type car or.. a "personal luxury car", I believe this is covered in "Selling the Mustang".  The days of essentially customizing your car via the option sheet are sadly gone but I digress... 😁

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