Saturday, August 19, 2017

Northeast Classic Car Museum, Norwich, New York, Part 3--August 19, 2017: Cars From the 50s and 60s

After enjoying all the classic cars of the 1930s, we moved into the next section of the museum, which is basically yet another building.  Here were some interesting cars from more recent times.

1955 Flajole Forerunner
Based on Jaguar XK-120M running gear and chassis, the Forerunner was the work of designer Bill Flajole (1915-1999) and was meant as a promotional vehicle for his design consultancy, established in 1939 after he had worked for six years for various companies.  These included Chrysler, General Motors, Ford, and the Murray Body Company.  Flajole was involved in design work related to the first Lincoln Continental, which was to reach the market in 1939.  He was later noted as the principal designer of the NXI, the car that was to essentially become the Nash Metropolitan compact car.  

The Forerunner, first shown in 1955, was a one-off built completely in fiberglass and featured hidden headlights behind its grille and a clear Plexiglass sliding top, as well as contrasting side coves a year before Corvette.  Flajole and his firm invested some 7,000 hours in designing and crafting the Forerunner.   

1965 Hertz Shelby GT350H
The Shelby Mustang was introduced in 1965 and Shelby American worked out a deal with the Hertz car rental company to built 1,001 special edition cars that would be rented for $17/day plus 17 cents per mile.  Equipped with a 289 cu. in. V8 putting out 306 hp and equipped only with a four speed manual transmission, the GT305H had a number of special features and markings and are sought-after collector's items today.  Most of the cars were black with gold stripes; only 50 were painted red and gold.

1959 Pontiac Bonneville
This 4,000 lb two door hardtop was part of a new line of "longer, lower, wider" cars introduced by Pontiac in 1959.  The colour is "Sunset Glow and this particular car, which had a base price of $3,257, has less than 33,000 miles on it.  It boasts the original tri-colour interior, power steering, windows and brakes, and "spinner" hubcaps.  Power was from a 389 cu. in . four barrel V8, making 260 hp.

1947 Packard Custom Super Clipper 2 Door Club Sedan
Designed to compete with Cadillac and Lincoln, the Custom Super Clipper was Packard's top of the line model in 1947.  It featured a straight eight engine producing 165 hp and sold for $2,772.  A total of 5,590 Custom Super Clippers in all body styles were produced.

1947 Crosley 2 Door Convertible
The brainchild of radio and appliance manufacturer Powel Crosley, the Crosley compact car first appeared on the market in 1939.  Built on a short 80 inch wheelbase, the Crosley came in a surprisingly wide range of body styles and introduced some notable features on US cars, including four wheel disc brakes and the first overhead cam engine in a mass-production vehicle.  Crosley even built the Hot Shot sports version, which was a class winner at Sebring, but car production ended in 1952.  Although the Indiana-built Crosley delivered excellent gas mileage, this was coupled with sluggish performance and not especially appealing design.

1963 Studebaker Avanti R-2
Designed by Raymond Loewy and Associates, the fiberglass-bodied Avanti was Studebaker's first new body design in a decade, indicative of the firm's financial weakness.  A sensation when introduced, production quality issues kept sales down and the Avanti was out of production in only two years as Studebaker headed towards the end--although others were to keep it alive until 2006.  This fine example, one of only 5,800 built between June 1962 and December 1963, has the optional Paxton supercharger, raising power output of the 289 cu. in. V8 engine to 290 hp, and sold for $3,884.

1956 DeSoto FireFlite Convertible
Selected as the Pace Car for the 1956 Indianapolis 500 race, the DeSoto was the most powerful mid-priced car made in the United States.  Equipped with a 330 cu. in. four barrel carburetor Hemi V8 making 255 hp, it was priced at $4,250.  The colour combination, wheel covers, and interior are exclusive to the Pace Car model, of which only 365 were made.  This car has power steering, windows, brakes and seats and a self-winding clock that winds as the steering wheel is turned.  The automatic transmission is a two-speed Powerflite controlled by push buttons on the dashboard.  Sales of DeSoto cars began a rapid decline after 1958 and by 1961 the brand was history.

1959 DeSoto FireFlite Sportsman
The FireFlite was the top of the line DeSoto model and featured a swivel driver's seat.  1,393 examples of the two door Sportsman version were built, selling for $3,831, and powered by 325 hp 383 cu. in. engine.
1967 Chevrolet Corvette 427 Coupe
Although the 1963 Corvette is an iconic design with its split rear window, the 1967 Corvette, produced in the final year of the so-called Mid-Year Stingray style, is considered the best version and the 427 cu. in.-powered "Big Block" the most desired by collectors.  This 390 hp example, with its distinctive stinger hood and side pipes, sold for $4,388, and was one of 8,504 coupes produced in that model year--in a choice of no less than 10 exterior and interior colours.

No comments:

Post a Comment