1959 General Motors "Imagination in Motion" Tour, 2013-edition (PICS)

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Thread: 1959 General Motors "Imagination in Motion" Tour, 2013-edition (PICS)

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    1959 General Motors "Imagination in Motion" Tour, 2013-edition (PICS)

    Sunday, seven enthusiasts and their spouses thundered along the rural highways between Tacoma and Mt. Rainier in their 1959 General Motors passenger cars.

    As I viewed the procession of cars, all with headlamps blazing, I was reminded (again) of the 1959 GM corporate ad that claimed that "imagination is expressed in every dramatic line of the fabulous five for '59."

    While we lacked a Chevrolet this year, the remaining brands were beautifully represented. The rules are simple; the 1959 car must be "stock", original or restored, which means no aftermarket wheel trim or lowered ride height. The goal is to enjoy these cars on the road, appreciating them as they looked in 1959 or the first few years following their entry into daily service.

    Sadly, I'm unable to furnish any action shots, but hope you'll enjoy this modest sampling. One of the participants is putting together a video of his images, and I'll be eager to share this whenever it becomes available.

    All of us have developed a passion to drive these cars. There's no sitting in the sun on a legless lawn chair in the middle of a parking lot. We don't wear silly car shirts. These cars were built to be driven, and that's the goal!



















    Love this Tri-Power '59 Star Chief Sport Sedan, still sporting its beautiful original interior.

    >





    The ordering of the cars in this photo occurred without pre-planning; we remarked later regarding the wonderful brand symetry.


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    Re: 1959 General Motors "Imagination in Motion" Tour, 2013-edition (PICS)

    Awesome, is this an annual thing? Which one is yours?

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    Re: 1959 General Motors "Imagination in Motion" Tour, 2013-edition (PICS)

    Yes, this is the fifth time we have done this, each time with a little different mix of cars. We seldom know very far ahead of time who will be able to participate.

    I drive the Silver Birch '59 Buick Electra 4-door hardtop, a car that came from my hometown in rural Oregon. I've known of this car for most of my life. It's unrestored -- and an absolute dream to drive. My wife and I have driven the Buick from the West Coast to Michigan in 2003 and to Colorado in 2009, so it's no stranger to road trips.

    I will be checking out a '59 Pontiac Star Chief Vista (4-door hardtop) this coming weekend, with hopes of adding it to my garage.
    Last edited by DeltaWing; 08-27-2013 at 02:24 PM.

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    Re: 1959 General Motors "Imagination in Motion" Tour, 2013-edition (PICS)

    1959 will always remain as one of the high points in styling for General Motors IMO! While some call them garish and overdone, I believe that each division represented a pinnacle in beautiful symmetry with graceful & tasteful styling points, especially following the "lob some chrome" exercise from Harley Earl's last year as VP of Design. America clearly moved into the jet age with these cars, especially Oldsmobile with it's "linear look". I can see Florence Henderson now singing and dancing about Oldsmobiles on the Gary Moore show (a late 50s-60s variety show).
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    Re: 1959 General Motors "Imagination in Motion" Tour, 2013-edition (PICS)

    Quote Originally Posted by DeltaWing View Post




    >
    A beautiful display of the two different GM rooflines from 1959: The SceniCoupe (two door) and SportSedan (four door), which is also referred to as a "flattop!" This was Bill Mitchell's first year as VP of design...He took styling to the sharp & creased look from the bulky, rounded 1950s styling of Harley Earl. The bumper skegs on the Pontiacs would show up again in 1960-61 on other GM models including the Oldsmobiles.
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    Re: 1959 General Motors "Imagination in Motion" Tour, 2013-edition (PICS)

    ^ Mitchell took over as VP Jan '59, so I doubt he had much authoritative say on the in-production '59s.

    I don't know as I would call the rear bumper on the P-59 as having 'skegs' since they don't project out to the sides at all. O-61 at least had a cut in the rear quarter that separated the main flank from the 'skeg'. Personally, I never cared for the look, either at Olds or Cadilllac.

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    Re: 1959 General Motors "Imagination in Motion" Tour, 2013-edition (PICS)

    I LOVE those Delta-Wing '59 Buicks. Incredible lines. Distinctive canted headlights that'd set a trend for many automakers in the '60s (Chrysler, Jensen, Ferrari, Lancia...)

    The '59s were definitely in-between models for Buick, eschewing the toothy grilles and venti-ports that built Buick's sales to stratospheric levels in the early '50s, but adding long, low, graceful lines devoid of unnecessary bodyside chrome, which had also been piling up on their models in the '50s.

    To me, the '59 Pontiac nose is brilliant, but the tail is way too fussy. The Cadillac is so flamboyant, it's hard to criticize (unless you're looking at a Sixty Special, which wasn't too much, but three much), as its inelegant styling is audacious enough to love, anyway. The '59 Oldsmobile's styling was a bit too fussy in the front, but much cleaner and more interesting in the rear.

    But those Buicks...front and rear, they've got the mix of brashness and elegance exactly right.
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    Re: 1959 General Motors "Imagination in Motion" Tour, 2013-edition (PICS)

    Mitchell took over as VP Jan '59, so I doubt he had much authoritative say on the in-production '59s.
    Yeah, but he already was pretty much 2nd in command at GM Styling. Earl was all but retired, the 1959's were more or less the result of a palace coup d'état, after seeing the Forward Look 1957 Mopars, all the 1959's cars were scrapped and they started over while Earl was away in Europe on vacation.



    But those Buicks...front and rear, they've got the mix of brashness and elegance exactly right.
    The 59 Buick is one of those rare combinations of great looking and sinister at the same time. Imagine coming around a corner and finding this in a dark alley.....waiting......

    Last edited by MCGARRETT; 08-27-2013 at 06:49 PM.

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    Re: 1959 General Motors "Imagination in Motion" Tour, 2013-edition (PICS)

    Quote Originally Posted by autoplaybook View Post
    But those Buicks...front and rear, they've got the mix of brashness and elegance exactly right.
    Your comments are right on target, autoplaybook! Even when I was just a child, I thought that the '59 Buick had an incomparable design "presence", and these cars still look sensational to me today.

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    Re: 1959 General Motors "Imagination in Motion" Tour, 2013-edition (PICS)

    Quote Originally Posted by balthazar View Post
    ^ Mitchell took over as VP Jan '59, so I doubt he had much authoritative say on the in-production '59s.

    I don't know as I would call the rear bumper on the P-59 as having 'skegs' since they don't project out to the sides at all. O-61 at least had a cut in the rear quarter that separated the main flank from the 'skeg'. Personally, I never cared for the look, either at Olds or Cadilllac.
    Mitchell and members of the GM design team (Chuck Jordan, Dave Holls, etc.) scrapped Earl's last chrome lobbing exercise after seeing what direction Virgil Exner & Chrysler were heading with the "Forward Look" while peering through a chain link fence. They began new designs while Earl was away on vacation. Obviously designers couldn't get Earl's approval so they had to go with the next in line: Bill Mitchell. He also saw the "finned frenzy" through that chain link fence.

    Here are the sources:
    Automobile Magazine-2002
    Cars In Depth

    You are correct about the skegs. No they don't jut out like the 1960-61s do, but looking at the rear bumper, it was a sign of the things to come. I agree with you. I didn't care for the skeg treatment either on the Cadillac or Oldsmobiles.
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    Re: 1959 General Motors "Imagination in Motion" Tour, 2013-edition (PICS)

    Beautiful fins! The only thing missing is an Impala, but still a sight to behold. Thanks for sharing.
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