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1955 Chevrolet Drawings

1955 Chevrolet by AMC

Note: Frank Peiler is the publisher emeritus of Consumer Guide Automotive. For more of Frank’s “What If?” artwork, check out his blogs on the 1957 Mercury, 1957 Packard, Cord 810, and Lincoln Continental.

The 1955 Chevrolet had it all. It was all-new from bumper to bumper with a new frame, new V8 engine, and new body.

The body design was a complete departure from previous Chevys. The hood was low, and the fender line was window-sill high. With a wide panoramic windshield and Ferrari-like grille, it looked like it was designed as a show car for one of the General Motors Motoramas. Here it is in hardtop form . . .

1941 Continental

Packard Clipper Pan American

Note: Frank Peiler is the publisher emeritus of Consumer Guide Automotive. For more of Frank’s “What If?” artwork, check out his blogs on the 1957 Packard, Cord 810, and 1957 Mercury Turnpike.


1957 Packard Concept Car, 1957 Packard Prototype

The year 1956 marked the last hurrah for the “real” Packard. After that, Studebaker tried (somewhat successfully) to turn a Studebaker President into a Packard, but it was too little (literally!) too late.

Nash Rambler; Fiat 500 Cabrio

A fan of the old Nash Rambler (white), Frank suggests that the Chrysler Group create a new-style Rambler (yellow)—a convertible with a top that folds back on rails (like the Rambler and the 2012 Fiat 500 Cabrio).

Back in 1950, Nash—later one of the building blocks of American Motors—introduced the Rambler, a cute, little (for the time) 4/5-passenger convertible with a top that folded back on rails. It wasn’t the first time somebody would use this trick to make a sedan into ragtop, nor would it be the last. In fact, today’s Fiat 500 Cabrio is just such a car.

Cord 810

1936 Cord 810 . . . if designed by General Motors

One of the most beautiful automobile designs of the 20th century, the 1936-37 Cord 810/812 was penned by Gordon Buehrig, the design chief for Auburn Cord Duesenberg. This was a clean-sheet-of-paper design, meaning that Gordon didn’t have to base his design on an existing frame or body shell.

1957 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser

Mercury Turnflite Cruiser by Chrysler (as imagined by Frank Peiler)

2012 Acura TSX Special Edition

2012 Acura TSX Special Edition

When Acura/Honda has a product that has reached the final year of its run, they usually trot out a “Special Edition” model. Such is the case with the 2012 Acura TSX.

I recently drove a 6-speed manual transmission, 4-cylinder engine version of the TSX for a week and really enjoyed the experience—no matter what our Consumer Guide review says.

Consumer Guide reported that the 201-horsepower 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine was noisy, especially during acceleration. Unless I’m going deaf, I found this engine to be reasonably quiet and refined even during hard acceleration. At expressway speeds, the engine is nearly silent.

The 6-speed manual transmission shifts like a hot knife through butter, and shift-points are perfect.

My gas mileage was nearly identical to what my CG cohorts reported (28.6 mpg), but theirs was mostly highway. Mine was 28.5 mpg over 500-plus miles but a 50/50 mix of highway/city driving.

CG says, “A few interior panels look low buck.” Not so, as far as I’m concerned. The panels looked to be high enough quality for a $31,000 vehicle. I found the controls to be large and easy to see, and all on-board electronic controls, once learned, are easy to use.

1965 Dodge Coronet 500 hardtop

Frank says his 1965 Dodge Coronet 500 (pictured) and 1966 Dodge Coronet 440 were “virtually bulletproof and never gave me a moment’s trouble.”

I guess I’ve been a fan of Chrysler products ever since my Uncle Harry gave me a ride in his brand-new 1951 Chrysler Imperial sedan. He loved to go fast, and the big, old “hemi”-powered Imp did just that. When I got my driver’s license, my other uncle, Arnold, let me use his new 1957 Plymouth Belvedere convertible whenever I had a date.