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What's your favorite yearly design update?


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Through the years, carmakers have made periodic or yearly updates to a body design which hasn't basically changed for a few years. Example: Ford 1941-48, Buick '50-'53, Chrysler '57-'62. (Foreigh or domestic) You get the idea. 

Which starting design or restyle of a series do you prefer, and why? List as many as you want.

I think the answers will be varied and interesting.

 

 

 

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Australia had its Holden cars (GM) and their 1963 EJ was basically a carry over of the mechanicals of their first offering in 1948 with different front suspension and bodywork. The EJ was replaced in 1964 by the EH which offered a new engine and some other improvements and tweaked the styling of the older EJ to a more pleasing look. They followed that with a new body in '65 which again was the same mechanicals as the previous model. They designated this as the HD which was jokingly referenced as "horrible design". In 1966 they released the HR "hastily rectified" with slight restyling of front fenders and rear taillights - still essentially the same mechanicals but different capacity engines on offer. This also was the first time a 4 speed (Opel) box and disc brakes was offered.

I personally prefer the FJ Holden series that was an appearance upgrade on their first the 48-215 (or FX in popular culture).

The EH was a far more pleasing car to look at than the EJ it replaced, and the newer engine gave superior performance.

The HR over the HD purely for aesthetic reasons - I recently sold one that I had because I preferred the previous 2 mentioned above. I have an FJ "ute" or pickup as you Yanks call them that I call my "scrap heap challenge" - nearly there but for upholstery and wiring.

Steve

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Studebaker started making the Bob Bourke-designed Starliner in 1953.  It evolved over the years but was still in production as the 1964 GT Hawk, as re-styled by Brooks Stevens.  Underneath was a chassis and V8 engine first used in 1951.  The same engine and chassis were used in the 1963-64 Avanti, and left-over chassis were used in Avanti II until the 1980s.  I owned a 1953 Starliner back in 1962.

 

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1953 Studebaker ad showing the car in Paris.

 

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1964 Gran Turismo Hawk

 

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My 1953 Studebaker Starliner and my college girlfriend.

 

 

 

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Two that come to mind:

 

The evolution of tri five Chevies.  The 55 was very clean but the following updates succeeded IMO in a fresh look for 56 and 57.  My personal preference is 1956.  That said the answer to tailfins on the 57 was very clever.  

 

The Triumph TR-4/250 to TR-6 change was very well done imo also.  The 4 looked fine but Triumph was able to update the nose and tail (Karmann design) giving an entire new look but retaining the actual core body.  I do think this gave them a leg up over the MGB especially when moving to 6 cylinders with the TR-250.

 

I do like the way Packard combined tradition and the streamlined look for 40.  The narrow grille and catwalks were a good balance and let them retain bullet headlights one more year. 

 

Oh my totally by chance but have had examples of all 3 on my list.

 

I need to think up some others...  

 

So many times it seems the initial design, especially good ones are very hard to improve upon.  

 

 

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To my eye, one of the best was the 26-27 Fords over the 23-25 Fords and the 30-31 Model A Ford was an improvement over the 28-29 Model A. As pretty as the 32 Chevy was (and it was very pretty) the 33 was better and the 34 was better yet. The 65 Lincoln was a substantial improvement over my least favorite Lincoln,  the 64. Just my opinion. 

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Corvette got mentioned right off the bat, but I would have said '62 - '63 (last of the first generation going to the beginning of the second generation or "mid-year" cars).

 

There was no mistaking the '63 Corvette for anything else, much less for an older model. Drastically different styling. 

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Oh my, another one from the stable.  asEric noted, the 28-29 Model A to 30-31. The 30 - 31s definately say 30s vs. 20s to me.  (Although I know many prefer the little Lincoln style of the earlier As.

 

I appreciate all As but fall more into the 30-31 camp... 😉20210731_174659.jpg.42cc72b82be82f7a167d1a6b1226665b.jpg

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Steve Mack, do you have any thoughts on the different versions of the MCB SLs over the years?  I think you have a 560 SL (I have one as well). Stylistically, Was the 190 better than the 300, 280 over 190, etc. I like the earlier versions, but can’t afford the real nice ones 

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Chrysler had some interesting redesigns. The 1951 -52 Chrysler and DeSoto looked very much like the 49 -50 models with better looking front ends but the real news was the new V8 engines. This required redesigning the body from the windshield forward, widening the engine compartment and moving the steering over several inches. The change was much greater than just a style face lift but you wouldn't know it unless you know Chryslers.

 

Then there was Chrysler's first unit construction cars 1960 - 1964. 60 and 61 were the last of the tail fins, 62 basically the same car without tail fins, 63 - 64 looks completely new until you notice the windshield and dashboard are carried over. It is really  a major redesign of the 1960 body, one of the best ever, and quite similar in style to a top of the line BMW of ten years later.

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One of the most unusual, and successful restyling jobs was the 1959 Studebaker Lark. It was basically the 1953 Champion body and chassis, shortened and restyled. For one thing you almost never see a restyled car that is shorter, and they seldom outsell their predecessors.

 

I wouldn't mind a Lark VIII hardtop with V8 and auto right now .

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1 hour ago, CChinn said:

Steve Mack, do you have any thoughts on the different versions of the MCB SLs over the years?  I think you have a 560 SL (I have one as well). Stylistically, Was the 190 better than the 300, 280 over 190, etc. I like the earlier versions, but can’t afford the real nice ones 

Hi C, personally taking the 300 SL (I like the roadster better than the gullwing myself as long as we are dreaming...) off the table I think the last Pagodas are nice.  You get the larger engine in the 280 but still get that balance the pagodas do so well.  That said the longer we have had the 560 the more I appreciate the style.  It has always been a great road car -  almost with us 15 years now.   I likely won't ever get around to it but my favorite look on a 560 SL is us headlights and euro bumpers.  Makes a big difference in appearance.  I like the more vintage round headlights but the tighter look around the bumpers.  Oh and not original but shaving the "turd" breaklight on the trunk lid would be nice.  It's marginally better out back on 88 - 89 but none looks so clean.

 

MB sold a lot of R107s over 17 years so I guess not everyone needs an annual facelift to turn heads at the dance. 😀

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People here may want to look up the Australian Chrysler Royal. It was based on early Plymouth body shell with different fenders and other cosmetic changes. Also Australian Valiants and how they differ from those in the US.

Also, the Aussie Ford falcons - essentially what the US market got with minor alterations.

Steve

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The completely new designed 1953 Pontiac Chieftain Models were a vast improvement over the 1949-1952 Pontiacs, The 1953 Pontiacs were designed for the new Pontiac 287 overhead valve V8 engines, and the 1953 Pontiacs would have had the new V8 except the Pontiac planned 1953 V8 introduction was discovered on the GM proving grounds by Buick and Oldsmobile people, while the Oldsmobile Rocket V8 had been around since 1949, Buick was going to introduce their Fireball Nailhead V8 in 1953 models except their Special series. The GM board of Directors heard the pleas from Buick and Olds to stop the 1953 Pontiac planned V8 introduction, because it was felt that too many new and repeat buyers of Buick and Olds would choose a lower priced 1953 Pontiac V8 model over the comparable Buick or Olds V8 model. The GM Board of Directors ordered Pontiac to delay the V8 introduction until the 1955 model year, because they also believed that by 1955, that even Chevrolet would have their new V8 engines ready for production too.  Even with the ordered V8 introduction delay, Pontiac's General Manager Robert Critchfield made sure with the Hugh expansion of the numbers of Options and Pontiac Approved Accessories he gave to the 1953 Pontiac Chieftains, the new Pontiac bodies with tailfins, one piece windshield, longer wheelbase, improved front suspension, was while still wearing the well known Silver Streak Styling - now Dual Streak Styling, that the 1953 Bigger, Longer, Smoother riding Pontiacs were a completely new Pontiac. The number of Options and Accessories totaled was 144, 1953 was the last year for the single rear window wiper, the only year for the rear passenger draft deflectors, first year for the Continental Kit, for wire wheel hubcaps, Saginaw Power Steering, 1953 Pontiac buyers were even invited to return in late 1953/1954 to add the Treadle Vac Power Brakes to their 1953 Pontiacs if they wanted to have it too.74612394_10219028679083856_7038611925311160320_o.jpg.152c496fd42356335e91fd389e156928.jpg

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I can't say I have one but I remember my dad (born in 1916) saying that when the 1930 Model A came out he thought cars simply couldn't get more attractive. It must have really impressed him because he had no interest in cars aside from transportation.

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It sounds like the OP is asking for the best restyle within a generation of a particular model. If I'm understanding that right, I'd say that few cars improved visually as much as the Corvette did in 1956. It was still a C1, but was dramatically different compared to what came before it.

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MB went in a backwards direction when they redesigned the SL from the Pagoda, maybe around 1970 or so?  Stylistically from a 10ft stand point not much difference in the 190 and the 300, but boy there is a difference in performance!! Although I have to admit this is conjecture as I have never driven a 300 but would love to take one out for a day 😁 I did have a 190 and although cute, it was very tame to say the least.

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Kerry the Pagoda (W-113 I believe) series cars were a tough act to follow.

 

If we are talking new years with a totally new clean sheet model I might say the 61 Lincoln, 70 F body cars and MGA, MGB introductions..

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The '57 Chevy Bel Air.   I don't have one, and I doubt I ever will, but as a design update over the '56, it's pretty much perfection.  

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On 1/9/2024 at 11:53 PM, rocketraider said:

Most 1960 GM cars over the 59s. The 1960 lineup was a real refinement compared to the over-the-top 1959s.

 

Then the 1961s appeared and were an even greater refinement.

I agree totally!

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On 1/10/2024 at 12:16 PM, JACK M said:

I would take a 58 Chevrolet over any tri 5.

59s are pretty cool to.

The 58 - 64 had the X frame that was not to good for the dirt stock car track or in a wreck. (I had a 58 Chevy stock car in 1970)

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17 hours ago, 28 Chrysler said:

The 58 - 64 had the X frame that was not to good for the dirt stock car track or in a wreck. (I had a 58 Chevy stock car in 1970)

I guess I never considered this being a Mopar guy. Cars with built in front jacks. Kinda cheating in the lesser classes.

I was just thinking of an old friend in high school that had a 58 convertible that I always admired.

American Graffiti didn't hurt the popularity of the 58.

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'62 Vette hinted, '63 made a statement!  (Another thread might be Convertibles?) (Sometimes the manufacturers got it right, and sometimes it was a disaster!)

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