Chevy's passenger car line-up, 1959 - Chevy Impala Forums
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post #1 of (permalink) Old 09-05-2019 Thread Starter
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Chevy's passenger car line-up, 1959

I saw this pic on Facebook recently. It illustrates perfectly how car makers can take one basic platform and set of sheet metal, and turn it into 15 different vehicles. I made a post to that effect a while back, and this pic fits it to a T.

Here Chevy displays 15 cars all based on the b-body, on one basic platform. Factor in all the additional models from Buick, Olds and Pontiac (and maybe a Cadillac or 2?) and you can see the genius of GM back in the day.

While some Cadillacs and the Olds 98 and Buick Electra were c-bodies, most of GM's other models were b-bodes: LeSabre, 88, Catalina, and Bonneville come quickly to mind. And that's just skimming the surface.

So it's interesting how one basic platform provided such an array of options for each brand. Contrast that with just a few years in the future, and you see, by 1962, there were several new platforms added to the mix: a-body Chevelles, x-body Novas, and z-body Corvairs, to name just the new Chevys, and they still offered umpteen b-body variants in the Bel Air, Biscayne and Impala.

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post #2 of (permalink) Old 09-05-2019 Thread Starter
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Chevy's 1967 line-up

Here's another pic I recently culled. These are 1967 models, I believe. (For sure, the Camaro did not exist prior to 67.)

Notice all the new platforms added in only a few years:

  • f-body Camaro, 1967
  • a-body Chevelle, 1964
  • x-body Nova, 1962

The z-body Corvair, 1960, is absent from the group pic. Perhaps it had already fallen into disfavor by 1967. For sure, it would be gone in a couple more years.

Even without the Corvair, this pic illustrates well how much more diverse the Chevy portfolio had become since the 1950's.

Not shown, other new Chevys had also been introduced during the the 1960's including the full sized van and the Corvair Greenbrier van (altho the latter ended production in 1965).

Over the course of the 1960's, many new platforms were added to the mix.

Doug

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On the '59's, they actually made 2 more models. Not listed is the El Camino and the Sedan Delivery.
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Speaking of 1959...

Speaking of 1959 models, I stumbled across these pics a while back. I could see me having a matching boat and car some day

BTW, I think the last one is an El Camino, but the pic is kinda low-res, so zooming didn't help much to confirm that.

FWIW, I think the top two have Mercury outboards on them.

Doug
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 09-24-2019
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Pretty cool
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I think I've seen those boats, or some like them, at the Volo auto museum in Volo Ill. When I was there a few months ago.

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post #7 of (permalink) Old 09-25-2019
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Originally Posted by 62BillT View Post
On the '59's, they actually made 2 more models. Not listed is the El Camino and the Sedan Delivery.
I would assume they were in the 1959 Truck brochure lineup.
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 09-25-2019 Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by bignick2015 View Post
I would assume they were in the 1959 Truck brochure lineup.
Good point. I didn't think about that.

My daughter has a Ford Escape. When I look up parts for it, I have to remember to look under Ford Trucks. It's a tough paradigm shift for me - I think of it more as a small car that's been jacked up a few inches than as an actual truck. I always viewed the El Camino as more car than truck as well.

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post #9 of (permalink) Old 09-27-2019 Thread Starter
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1953 Ford portfolio

I ran across this pic on Facebook, as I recall. It shows the Ford offering for 1953. There are not as many options as for Chevy in 1959, but that may be a time difference rather than a brand difference - I'm sure Ford had more options by 59.

As before what this shows well is how they take one platform, and dress it 11 different ways to create an entire portfolio of models. Lots of common sheet metal. Another good example of badge engineering.

As with Chevy in the 50's, besides the T-bird, Ford had all their other Ford brand models on the same platform, comparable in size to GM's b-bodies.

Doug

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post #10 of (permalink) Old 09-27-2019 Thread Starter
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GM line-up for 1959

I ran across this black and white pic today on Facebook. It shows one representative model for each GM division in 1959. Cool pic - I like it.

Drilling down on it, clockwise from top-left, Cadillac, Buick, Olds, Pontiac and Chevy.

It appears all 5 cars may share the same front glass. In the rear, the Caddy, Chevy and Pontiac all have swept glass while the Buick and Olds have wrap-around rear windows.

1959 was probably the pinnacle for tail fins. In a few years, they would be gone.

I'm pretty sure the Caddy is a "c-body". For sure, the Chevy and Pontiac are b-bodies because they never offered c-bodies in those brands The Buick and Olds are more difficult to resolve.

Looking at the color pics below, the LeSabre has a wrap-around rear window while the Electra has swept glass. Conversely, the Olds 98 has wrap-around glass versus swept on the 88.

In the case of Oldsmobile, googling I found 88's and 98's with both type rear windows, so that's not an identifier. Same for the Buicks - I found both models with swept and wrap-around rear windows. So the rear glass doesn't help with the b-versus-c question.

The sources for the pics indicated that the LeSabre and 88 were b-bodies while the Electra and 98 were c-bodies. Yet looking at the color pics, I cannot see anything to differentiate the b's from the c's - the Olds 98 sheet metal looks like it would bolt onto the 88, and the same for the LeSabre/Electra.

There may be other, hidden differentiators, but I wonder if the only difference here between the b's and c's is that GM called one b and the other c, with no other differences

Researching this, looking at other factors such as length, I found that the Electra came in two different lengths, the short one called Electra, and the longer one called Electra 225, with overall length of 225". If you ever wondered the origin of that term, now you know.

One thing is clear, the sheet metal for each brand is decidedly different. It appears that in 59, in their badge engineering, GM was doing a very good job of hiding the similar features of the different brands.

Doug

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post #11 of (permalink) Old 09-27-2019
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^ Whitewalls and wings, lol!
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^ Whitewalls and wings, lol!
Sounds like a 60's wardrobe

Doug

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