Indeed. The 300 was ALL business; the others all puffery.
Nelson Rockefeller had a 300 C; I guess that was his speed side and the predecessor to his gold Avanti which was more toward his modernist artistic tastes.
Yea----I make deliveries with my own car--Up until about 10yrs ago paper maps were my go to--Now it's my GPS & sometimes my phone--- I'm forgetting where some streets that I've delivered to for yrs are now-- My brain has become Lazy-
Take a non-car person:
It would be interesting if you took photos with the logos/names blurred out of a bunch of different 55-57 cars. Gave the person a hot wheels of a 55 Chev as their model and said "sort this pile into the Chev and not"
I think the 55 Kaiser Manhattan easily lands in the "not" pile. 56 Olds 88 or Pontiacs on the other hand...
Right, because the same silhouette, 90% same dimensions, and (let's be honest) more ostentatiously styled trim make such a world of difference. Compare a 55 to a 54 or a 57 to a 58 and we have a conversation. But please, enlighten me....
But maybe tri-fives are an exception. To that extent, how about the 61-64 Galaxies, 61-63 Thunderbirds, 62-64 Impalas...
My point is: saying that new cars have lost something over old cars because new cars look the same from one year to another and old cars somehow don't is being more than a little generous...
It's regional (i.e., North American market) and segment based:
42-48 are a similar style school for pretty much all domestic sedans. Sure things like the Packards are different but they all somewhat conform to their era.
49-52 breaks it a bit as you have GM holding onto rear fender bulges, Ford going "shoebox" slab sides and everyone else kind of looking like the GM stuff.
1953 you have the Studebaker Starlight Coupe design pointing future.
1955-57 full size American cars you have a lot of the same cakes decorated a bit differently. But man... what great (and huge in some cases) decorations. Quite a few of them I think would look better with the 55 chev headlight treatment, but that is my taste. Chrysler did get ahead with their 57 designs though... more like what was typical 59-61 from everyone else.
The style eras were similar, but you look at 62-64 full size cars they are kind of the same looking. Doesn't matter if you do 1975, 85 or 2005 family cars this is generally true.
It's most obvious when you have things like fins, quad headlights, bulging hoods, etc. to see the trendy resemblance. Or just plain simple boxes I suppose like when comparing 89 Caprice Classics with Ford Ltd/Crown Vics (whatever they were at that point).
But then this is entirely not true for other segments: Barracuda, Mustang, Camaro and such don't really look like each other at any point in time. Sure Celicas looked "shrunken Mustang" at one point but they evolved.
Car makers have always copied each other somewhat, but one "Used" to be able to distinguish a Ford from a Chevy from a Chrysler from a Caddy to a Lincoln from a block away-- today it's hard to tell a Japanese or Korean car from a North American car unless you see the emblem--
You need to see that Chrysler globe lit at night; it was iridescent with the gauges appearing though they were radium coated or black-light lit, and just floating on different planes.
My father was a DeSoto-Plymouth dealer and in 1960 he drove a red Plymouth Fury 4-dr Hardtop, but it had the "continental wheel" on the trunk to help visually balance off the sharp fins.
Oh, and its sticker price set a record for a demonstrator that year--$3000 for a Plymouth!