American Cars of the 1950s (Olyslager Auto Library)

av Warne, Frederick

Inbunden med omslag, 1975

Skick: begagnad, normalt skick.

150 kr

 I lager: 1 st   (Skickas inom 1-5 dagar)
420 g
19 x 25,5 cm
Fler böcker inom Motor


Like the preceding volumes 'American Cars of the 1930s' and 'American Cars of the 1940s', this book is set out on a year-by-year basis, presenting typical examples of cars produced in North America during 1950-59. Some models of South American origin are included also. During the decade the average 'regular' American car was transformed from the straightforward immediate post-war model to the tail-finned dual-headlight giant. Automatic transmission, power brakes and steering, air conditioning and other refinements became commonplace. The smaller manufacturers soon introduced smaller, less complicated and more economical cars and the number of foreign small cars imported, notably Volkswagen, grew dramatically. The 'big three', General Motors, Ford and Chrysler, had to counteract but it was not until 1959 that they unveiled their economy cars which became known as the 'compacts'. These were in addition to their 'regulars' and were later supplemented by 'Intermediates' and 'sub-compacts'. Some 'sports type' models made their appearance also, notably the Chevrolet Corvette, the Ford Thunderbird and the Studebaker Hawk.
It was also a decade of expansion of the advertising men's vocabulary. As one British journalist put it: "The American Industry appears to have developed to a fine pitch the technique of evolving names that are not only arresting or attractive, but also have a fascinating pseudo-scientific atmosphere that is impressive". These names were evolved for automatic transmissions (Hydra-Matic, Ultramatic, Fordomatic, Dynaflow, Powerilde, PowerFlite, TorqueFlite, etc.), power brakes (Easamatic, Power Smooth, etc.) and other convenience features. Engines were given Impressive names too: Rocket, Safety Surge, Hurricane, Blue Flame, Firepower, Skypower, Powermaster, Dual Powerflyte, to list a few.
During the period under review some drastic changes took place in automotive history. The Kaiser and Frazer cars disappeared. Willys' post-war passenger cars came and went, as did Ford's 'white elephant', the Edsel. Hudson, Nash and Packard, once well-established 'independents' could not hold their own and in spite of mergers these makes disappeared from the scene. What remained eventually were General Motors with Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Oldsmobile and Pontiac; Ford with Ford, Lincoln and Mercury; Chrysler with Chrysler, Dodge, Imperial and Plymouth; and American Motors with Rambler and Jeep.
The quality of the survivors left little to be desired and this was clearly demonstrated by a Canadian hardware salesman who used to trade his car in for a new one every three years. Contemplating the vast profits made by the auto makers he decided to try to make his latest acquisition, a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air sedan with standard six-cylinder engine, last for at least half a million miles. He saw to it that the car was greased at 1000-mile intervals and maintained properly, by an independent garage.
By early 1972 his Chevy had clocked up more than 432,000 miles, a mileage and a timespan during which he would otherwise have had five ears and be on his sixth. The car still had its ("inaudible") original engine, transmission and paint finish, and was free of squeaks and rattles, His motto: "Buy the best-selling model of a quality make's medium-price range, find a conscientious mechanic who is a good diagnostician and stick to him, never skip or skimp a service schedule and use commonsense for the first 250,000 miles".
"American cars", one British user observed, "have a built-in margin of misuse; they are made for a buying public that demands the utmost in terms of performance, styling and gadgetry, but is not prepared to look after them. Anyone who gives them Just a little bit of attention gains hands down".
This welcome reliability and durability keeps American cars running, but not the manufacturers' production lines. It is one of the basic reasons why American auto makers are forced to be so fashion-conscious and apply 'built-in obsolescence' by regularly introducing new models and, more often than not, annual facelifts.
Piet Olyslager, MSIA, MSAE, KIVI


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