Automotive design is a lot like fashion. Both reflect the zeitgeist of their times, and both rely on metaphoric sleight of hand to fool the eye in regards to proportion. Let’s be honest, though; most of our time is spent inside a car, driving around from point A to point B. So why do we enthusiasts often lack consideration for a car’s interior?
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Never heard of some of these. I like the Del Ray interior but then I appreciate vinyl.
59 GM did some wild things all around. My dad has a 59 Bonneville (basket case) and pretty sure the interior is tri-tone? in aqua/teal/white. Not certain as he acquired it as a stripped pile of parts years ago so not sure how many different shades are actually supposed to be present.
I had a 1960 Buick Invicta convertible that I had purchased from the original owner's widow in Marin county California (black plate car). The speedometer was reflected by a mirror which was unusual. And, as usual, another car I sold way too early.
The mirror allowed you to adjust the speedometer to the best angle for the height of the driver. It was clever but perhaps solved a minor, perhaps even non-existing, problem.
My parents had a 55 Chevy 210 six, purchased from the "old lady that only drove it to church". It was light blue and had a factory blue-grey leather interior. Never saw another 55 with leather and I worked at a Chevy dealer for a couple of Summers in college.
My Invicta attracted an incredible amount of attention. Me and my son, four years old, were driving through San Francisco where we lived at the time with the top down. A guy yelled out "Nice car!" while we were stopped at a light. I looked around but didn't see anyone. The guy yelled, "Up here!". He was hanging out the third floor window of a victorian three flat building. I waved and just had to laugh.
My godfather who was living with us at the time (1962) gave me a ‘56 Chevy, 6 cyl. I was fifteen at the time but would be sixteen in a few months. I talked my father into 327 with 375 heads crate engine (hope my memory is accurate on this, but I was only 15) from a local dealer and paired it with a Muncie 4 speed. Even with the I believe 3.37 rear end it was a screamer. I even fitted it once with a borrowed manifold with six Stromberg 97’s (2bbl) just to try it out. By the time I cut the floorboard hole out it ended up being almost large enough to exit the car through it. It was hell when you hit a puddle of water.
Fun article, there were so many 'over the top' interior options available until about the early 1980s, when everything became standardized (and largely shades of grey and black). The Chrysler Highlander plaid option had several lives; it was actually originally available through 1953 (at least it is still shown in the brochure, though I have not seen one in person newer than 1951). The original material was most frequently a red plaid, but at least for some period it was also available in a blue/green plaid. The Highlander plaid option resurfaced in 1961 in a red plaid and in 1962 as a blue/green plaid, available on the Newport. Finally the Highlander trim resurfaced as an option on the 1975 Newport; I have seen each of these three later versions, thought they are obviously a pretty rare find.
Hi, living in the UK, Scotland to be precise, I have never owned an American Classic. The Buick Invicta gets my vote, but having owned many 50's and 60's Jaguars, the leather and wood veneer interiors take some beating.
I first learned how to drive by brothers "55" Chevy 2-10 with "POWER PACK" and three on the tree. My Dad owned a 1961 Buick Invicta "Custom. Bucket seats, Power windows, loved that car. He traded it in on a 1962 Cadillac Coup De Ville.
It might be that many of the resources in their business offices are not readily available from home offices.
With 80,000 dead in this country alone, desperation isn't abnormal anymore.
@1933ford Would it make you feel better if I said I came up with this idea before the pandemic?
Sorry you didn't enjoy the article. Hagerty has a lot of other stuff that may pique your interest. They truly are an asset to the hobby.
As a former interior / exterior trimmer, I did a lot of custom interiors and seats. Dozens of prototypes that make their way into production vehicles in the 80's, 90's, and beyond. So I'm sort of biased when it comes to appreciating classic interiors. I need to find a good used sewing machine and come out of retirement.
'55 was first year V8 for Chevy, we were running a Model A dragster at New Briton drag strip (Mpls MN), was side by side in the beginning. A kid with his dad's new '55 was next to us, light turned green and we went ... I was well ahead of him when I heard the noise, he faded as I finished the race. In the pits later there was the car, the kid crying, parts had gone thru the hood, oil all over, he cried, "What's my dad going to say ..." You can imagine the rest.
Once owned a 1955 Mercury Montclair convertible. Talk about a beautiful interior and dash - wow! If you remember, it had that 4 inch wide stainless panel sweeping back from the dash to the back seat on the inside of the door panels.
I have a 1958 Packard Hawk. It has a nice interior but the single color interior could have been multi colored. No matter what body color you picked the interior was tan. My color is back with a gold roof. The roof color enhances the interior.
Hagerty...thank-you so much for providing we "car buffs" with such entertaining & informative material on a daily basis. With the Wuhan Virus keeping us shackled, we look forward to our daily dose of four wheels in print! Cheers from Vancouver, B.C.!!!
My 1955 Caribbean with its tri color green and white interior matching the outside paint scheme is gorgeous. My 1956 Golden Hawk also has a beautiful tri color interior in a pink, white and mauve color. With the outside pink and white. The dash board was light years ahead of everyone with full gauges and tachometer. If you really want to talk about the most beautiful interior ever made its the 1966 Thunderbird 3 window coupe with the overhead control panel, chrome dash and console. Did I mention the rear wrap around seat. It was like a space ship.
My favorite is the 1964 - 1966 Thunderbird the wrap around back seat and the fold away steering wheel ( Fat Man Steering Wheel ) and all the toggle switches just amazing I miss mine!!
Once again, the Studebaker Hawk/Avanti passed over. Turned metal dash with full array of Stewart-Warner gauges. Avanti had airplane influenced switchgear and instrument lighting. Chevy Del Ray?????
Interesting, as the Avanti (and Hawk) gets plenty of attention.....I mean, one of the most knowledgable people of ANY marque has a column in Hemmings: Bob Palma.
Yet you have missed what was said in the second paragraph: "Here are several potential collectible cars that may not be on the top of everyone’s list, but possess something in their respective interiors that makes them rise above the fray." None of these cars are high on the collectible meter, but perhaps these respective interior trims may pique someone's interest?
What a true statement in the intro about interiors not getting a lot of attention. Back in the 70s and 80s, I had an auto trim shop and some of our work was on show cars. Again and again I'd hear the lament " I spent so much on the engine and body, please go easy on the interior cost", or something to that effect. The interior may have been in the plans, but it was definitely the lowest priority.
A friend mine has a perfect 1960 Chrysler New Yorker Convertible in Red and White. It has every option including swivel seats, cruise and a/c. The interior is breath taking with all the pushbuttons , great color scheme and neon globe instrument cluster. The car is so ugly its beautiful.
My father had a 1956 Chev BelAire 4 dr hardtop. It was Yellow and Black. Interior headliner was Yellow Vinyl with many holes. The seats had Black cloth inserts with Yellow Vinyl. I remember thinking at the time how bright it was inside the car. Unfortunately for me I did not speak up when he went to trade it in. He would have given it to me. One of life's regrets. It was a 265 manual as well.
Mid-century instrument panels - my vote is for the 1955 Ford Fairlane "Astra-Dial" instrument panel, with see-through "dome" behind the sweeping speedometer...a one year only instrument panel - I'd attach a picture but the limited functionality of this haggerty newsletter format unfortunately doesn't allow for that...!
That Mercury interior was awesome. 1955 - 1972 was a golden era for the middle class
car owner. My Uncle had a 1967 Pontiac Grand Prix that was Big, Powerful, and like a Palace inside. I thought he must be rich. He was a steel worker in Pittsburgh. A great memory.
I had a 1960 Buick Invicta that was almost a carbon copy of this one. Mine was the same Mandarin red color, but I had the two tone with a white top and white stripe on the hood and deck.
The interior shown is the exact one in mine. My two sons made their first trip to see their grandmother nestled in the huge center console, for a very safe ride ! This was the prettiest car I have ever owned, and it was trouble free for years of service.
Car interiors are a lot safer now, but not nearly as pretty as in the days of metal dashboards painted in a complementary color, chrome all over the place, radios with big pushbuttons, and a choice of 7 or 8 different interior colors.