msgbartop
All about Google Chrome & Google Chrome OS
msgbarbottom

22 Oct 11 A Fabulously ’50s Way to See the USA


“ALL new.”

That familiar phrase has been a mantra of American automotive marketing since Detroit automakers began their ritual of annual model changes in the 1930s.

But all too often, the words have been applied to cars whose changes were no more than skin deep, sometimes just a new grille, restyled taillights, a bit of updated trim. Credibility has worn thin.

Flash back to Oct. 24, 1954: as the wraps come off the latest models in Chevrolet showrooms, it’s clear that this time “all new” is no exaggeration.

In the context of the company’s recent models, the new ’55 Chevy arrives on the scene like a thoroughbred galloping past a team of Clydesdales. The matronly lines of the ’54 models give way to a look that’s long, low and lean, establishing a well-defined border between yesterday and tomorrow.

The garish chrome teeth of last year’s grille have been pulled, replaced by a purposeful egg-crate design. Some say the grille was inspired by a Ferrari, perhaps the 250S of 1952. Whatever its source, it gives the newest Chevy a sporty European presence that sets it apart.

Other details include a wraparound windshield (optically distorted, but a styling triumph). There’s a beltline dip just behind the front door with a subtle chrome accent descending from it. On the Bel Air, Chevy’s top-of-the-line model, a tasty color panel highlights the chrome spear that runs along the side.

By the standards of postwar American design, the use of chrome is remarkably restrained.

In Ford showrooms, the ’55 Fairlane Crown Victoria is distinguished by a gleaming chrome tiara that stretches right over the roof. It’s much the same at the Plymouth store. Under Chrysler’s new design chief, Virgil Exner, Plymouth has shaken off its timidity of the last decade and rolled out cars that have some flair — not to mention Plymouth’s first V-8 engine option.

And the entire industry has gone into Technicolor overdrive: two-tones, three-tones, pastels, pink and black, coral and gray. The 1955 automotive palette seems to have been conceived inside a rainbow.

But still, the new Chevy is the one that has everyone talking. Inside, a polished panel spans the dashboard from door to door, adorned with a galaxy of tiny Chevrolet bow tie logos. A pair of cowls poke above the dashboard upper surface like eyebrows, one sheltering the instruments and the other carrying the Bel Air logo and a clock, providing visual symmetry (and raising the possibility of right-hand-drive models).

There’s more all-new underneath the visible all-new. The new chassis, for example, is lighter than the previous car’s, and it is 50 percent stiffer. Low weight with high chassis rigidity is the basic prescription for good handling, and a new front suspension — ball joints replacing the king pins of the previous models — exploits the upgrade.

Chevy has finally dispensed with its archaic torque tube driveline, which ought to delight mechanics everywhere. As its name suggests, the torque tube was part of the car’s power delivery system, connecting the transmission to the rear axle. But that design made repairing a transmission or replacing a clutch far more involved. The ’55’s exposed driveshaft eases the task considerably.

Then there’s the new 12-volt electrical system, which can deliver a hotter ignition spark and more punch to the starter, helping to wake up a cold engine on a subzero winter morning in this Detroit suburb.

And what an engine story there is for 1955! The brand that has soldiered through the decades with a 6-cylinder introduced in 1929 now offers the option of a V-8 engine. Here again, “all new” is well justified.

Overhead-valve V-8 engines have proliferated since World War II, so Chevy is a latecomer to this most American of internal-combustion creations. That may be why cars with the 265-cubic-inch V-8 proudly display a stylized V emblem under each taillight, a subtle trim feature with a powerful message.

But Chevy’s V-8 is different, and the difference can be attributed to one man: Edward N. Cole.

G.M. committed to a V-8 for Chevrolet as early as 1951, and a design was well along in 1952 when Mr. Cole transferred from Cadillac to become Chevy’s chief engineer.

His first act was to scrap the design, which was essentially a scaled-down Cadillac V-8.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/23/automobiles/autoreviews/a-fabulously-fifties-way-to-see-the-usa.html

Tags: , ,

21 Oct 11 A Fabulously Fifties Way to See the USA


“ALL new.”

That familiar phrase has been a mantra of American automotive marketing since Detroit automakers began their ritual of annual model changes in the 1930s.

But all too often, the words have been applied to cars whose changes were no more than skin deep, sometimes just a new grille, restyled taillights, a bit of updated trim. Credibility has worn thin.

Flash back to Oct. 24, 1954: as the wraps come off the latest models in Chevrolet showrooms, it’s clear that this time “all new” is no exaggeration.

In the context of the company’s recent models, the new ’55 Chevy arrives on the scene like a thoroughbred galloping past a team of Clydesdales. The matronly lines of the ’54 models give way to a look that’s long, low and lean, establishing a well-defined border between yesterday and tomorrow.

The garish chrome teeth of last year’s grille have been pulled, replaced by a purposeful egg-crate design. Some say the grille was inspired by a Ferrari, perhaps the 250S of 1952. Whatever its source, it gives the newest Chevy a sporty European presence that sets it apart.

Other details include a wraparound windshield (optically distorted, but a styling triumph). There’s a beltline dip just behind the front door with a subtle chrome accent descending from it. On the Bel Air, Chevy’s top-of-the-line model, a tasty color panel highlights the chrome spear that runs along the side.

By the standards of postwar American design, the use of chrome is remarkably restrained.

In Ford showrooms, the ’55 Fairlane Crown Victoria is distinguished by a gleaming chrome tiara that stretches right over the roof. It’s much the same at the Plymouth store. Under Chrysler’s new design chief, Virgil Exner, Plymouth has shaken off its timidity of the last decade and rolled out cars that have some flair — not to mention Plymouth’s first V-8 engine option.

And the entire industry has gone into Technicolor overdrive: two-tones, three-tones, pastels, pink and black, coral and gray. The 1955 automotive palette seems to have been conceived inside a rainbow.

But still, the new Chevy is the one that has everyone talking. Inside, a polished panel spans the dashboard from door to door, adorned with a galaxy of tiny Chevrolet bow tie logos. A pair of cowls poke above the dashboard upper surface like eyebrows, one sheltering the instruments and the other carrying the Bel Air logo and a clock, providing visual symmetry (and raising the possibility of right-hand-drive models).

There’s more all-new underneath the visible all-new. The new chassis, for example, is lighter than the previous car’s, and it is 50 percent stiffer. Low weight with high chassis rigidity is the basic prescription for good handling, and a new front suspension — ball joints replacing the king pins of the previous models — exploits the upgrade.

Chevy has finally dispensed with its archaic torque tube driveline, which ought to delight mechanics everywhere. As its name suggests, the torque tube was part of the car’s power delivery system, connecting the transmission to the rear axle. But that design made repairing a transmission or replacing a clutch far more involved. The ’55’s exposed driveshaft eases the task considerably.

Then there’s the new 12-volt electrical system, which can deliver a hotter ignition spark and more punch to the starter, helping to wake up a cold engine on a subzero winter morning in this Detroit suburb.

And what an engine story there is for 1955! The brand that has soldiered through the decades with a 6-cylinder introduced in 1929 now offers the option of a V-8 engine. Here again, “all new” is well justified.

Overhead-valve V-8 engines have proliferated since World War II, so Chevy is a latecomer to this most American of internal-combustion creations. That may be why cars with the 265-cubic-inch V-8 proudly display a stylized V emblem under each taillight, a subtle trim feature with a powerful message.

But Chevy’s V-8 is different, and the difference can be attributed to one man: Edward N. Cole.

G.M. committed to a V-8 for Chevrolet as early as 1951, and a design was well along in 1952 when Mr. Cole transferred from Cadillac to become Chevy’s chief engineer.

His first act was to scrap the design, which was essentially a scaled-down Cadillac V-8.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/23/automobiles/autoreviews/a-fabulously-fifties-way-to-see-the-usa.html

Tags: , ,