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If I may be allowed to overgeneralize, allow me to suggest that American car buyers appreciate utility, but would rather a given vehicle not look too utilitarian.
Note: This article is reprinted from the October 2016 issue of Collectible Automobile
By Jack Stewart
In 1953, the U.S. economy was robust. Bestowed with fresh styling, Plymouth set a record with almost 650,000 cars built while retaining its number-three sales position behind Chevrolet and Ford—as it had since 1931. Nineteen fifty-three was also Plymouth’s 25th anniversary, but it chose not to celebrate. Perhaps with Ford and Buick celebrating golden anniversaries that year, Plymouth felt like an upstart.
Stephen Stills wasn’t thinking about the American automotive “Malaise Era” when he wrote “Love the One You’re With,” but for enthusiasts of the time, the sentiment was apt:
Plymouth became a stand-alone brand in 1929. For a year prior, said vehicles were branded Chrysler-Plymouth and sold as more affordable alternatives to the pricer Chrysler cars they were sold alongside.
I think it’s fairly typical of people to group memories into convenient categories. Most people probably look back at their lives thus far and see periods of time easily identified by markers such as childhood, high school, post-acne, and marriage—or something akin to that. But, our memories can play tricks on us.
To perform a quick case study on how different the automotive world is today from what it was in 1979, consider the following:
by Don Sikora
Note: The following story was excerpted from the October 2017 issue of Collectible Automobile magazine.
The 1978 Dodge Omni and Plymouth Horizon hatchback sedans were Chrysler’s well-received answer to the Volkswagen Rabbit. Racy Omni 024 and Horizon TC3 two-doors followed for the 1979 model year as the American company’s response to the Rabbit-based Scirocco.
By Frank Peiler
Time for another exercise in counterfactual automotive history. This time we ask the question: What would have happened if other carmakers had lent their designers to Crosley Motors to help style an all-new 1953 Crosley lineup?