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The New Models

September 29, 2015

It was just about this time of year when the new cars for the next model year were unveiled. The mid- to late 1950s saw a great leap in new car design. Suddenly gone were the clunky old models, replaced by sleek new chariots.

The dawn of the space age had a profound impact on industrial design. Furniture took on a more streamlined look; kitchen appliances and radios began to look like the objects imagined in science fiction stories. But it was cars that seemed to be most changed.

Those bulky, rounded, bloated bodies disappeared, supplanted by low-slung, elongated missiles with sharply-angled prows and aerodynamic fins. The drab blacks and browns of yesteryear gave way to fire engine red, turquoise and sunflower yellow, framed in acres of gleaming chrome.

There was nothing I wanted more than for Dad to rid us, finally, of that rusting Chevy that was parked in the driveway. And Dad, I’m certain, shared my desire. He loved to look at the new cars. His idea of a fun family outing was to drag us to the dealership and compare the virtues of the brand new offerings.

Only one little thing stood in the way of us driving away with a brand spanking new Oldsmobile 98 or Ford Galaxie Skyliner: a new car cost more than we could possibly afford. Until our fortunes changed, we would keep that ugly hunk of metal running for another year.

That didn’t stop me from dreaming about what fabulous new vehicle we might be driving when Dad’s business finally took off.

Tune in tomorrow for a peek at the new models.