(Found In) Lone Mountain (San Francisco, California): 1958 Oldsmobile Super 88 Holiday Hardtop Coupe

IMG_3459Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Or in the eye of the buyer, I guess. In the twilight zone of the late 50’s, many an automobile brings up the question of what exactly did “good taste” mean in terms of what American car shoppers wanted.

This is where the 1958 Oldsmobile enters into our consciousness. When all is said and done, can you believe that it was one of the most popular faces for ’58? Perhaps entranced by all the sparkling jewelry, we spend time with this glittery gem, figuring out if it was a ghoul or the genteel beast most middle class buyers wanted that year.

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(Found In) Glen Park (San Francisco, California): 1958 Packard Hawk 2 Door Hardtop Coupe

img_5368Desperate times call for desperate measures. Fewer post-war manufacturer moments represented Code Red better than the reality of the Studebaker-Packard merger of 1954. In the imperfect marriage between the pearl of South Bend and once the most exclusive brand in the land of The USA saw a monumental undoing rather hastily. The debacles of Studebaker’s quality failings and poor ability to keep up with consumer demand of their 1953 coupes had long lasting implications. Packard’s own quality difficulties sunk their Clipper ships and their larger cruise ships.

It’s perhaps fitting irony that one of the final Packards offered were a variation on the latest update of the ill-starred Starlight coupes of 1953. What made this Packardbaker so special?

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(Found In) Lone Mountain (San Francisco): 1958 Dodge Royal Lancer D-500 2 Door Hardtop Coupe

12666505_10153279337232201_596618935_nThe fabulous fin-tailed Forward Look rocked the industry in 1957. Beyond the styling and the engineering, Mopar’s mainstream brands all fielded muscle coupes and convertibles as halo highway eaters. The most demonic Dodge was the least known, however.

Not casting a singular performance model, the Royal Lancer decidedly played double duty, offering a multi-layered approach to the burgeoning medium priced luxury field. Perhaps the only Dodge tactic not encroaching fully on DeSoto territory, it’s among the rarest of a rare breed of bird.
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(Found On) Solano Avenue (Albany, California) : 1958 Chevrolet Biscayne 4 Door Sedan

12584137_10153265271507201_331493942_nAlthough recognized as an icon today, the 1957 line of Chevrolet standard sized cars got left in the popularity and newness dust by both rivals Ford and Plymouth. The remarkably upright and befinned Bel-Airs and below saw themselves trying to peddle modest virtues and technological updates compared to time-traveling Plymouths and Fancier Fords.

Of course, this didn’t sit well with USA-1, as they found themselves in the #2 spot by the end of the year, nor did it make General Motors feel comfortable about any upsurge with rivals. What to do? Bulk up your bargain offering for the next season. American consumers tend to associate value with bulk, what possibly could go wrong?

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(Found In) The Bayview (San Francisco, California): 1958 Pontiac Star Chief Catalina 2 Door Hardtop Coupe

23985721980_fc3af3262e_kToday we feature a little Black Lives Matters automotive history alongside the trajectory of the Pontiac Motor Division in the late 1950’s. Our subject car has a story too precious to pass up in terms of our collective history. It follows the intersection of race, class, consumerism and pride all wrapped up in chrome dreams from Baghdad By The Bay. 

With a photo a little out of format for our blog, we bring you one very special Pontiac Star Chief. Pride of multiple generations of San Franciscans both migrant and born, its a cherished family heirloom that moves along the streets nearly 60 years later.
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(Found In) Lone Mountain (San Francisco, California) : 1958 DeSoto Adventurer Sportsman Coupe

12366640_10153190214917201_1545318438_nLong before the muscle car era kicked off in earnest in 1964, Highland Park fielded a ferocious foursome of super coupes in the mid-to late 1950’s. The second most hedonistic was the DeSoto Adventurer.

In DeSoto’s role as the less demure, more accessible Chrysler counterpart, the Adventurer focused quite a bit on outward glitter to compliment the marvelous performance capabilities unleashed by the chassis. Decked out with “Christmas Tree” tail lamps and “Firesweep” two-tone color panels, the Adventurer was the most expensive and prized gift you could receive from DeSoto retailers during the late 1950’s.

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(Found In) Lone Mountain (San Francisco) – 1958 Buick Century Riviera Hardtop Coupe

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There’s plenty that can be said about the 1958 Buick models. This is a given, given how much actual car each 1958 Buick actually is. The massive visual presence of these cars signify the last hurrah of the visual weight that was common with General Motors styling under the leadership of Harley Earl.

Bemoaned for their bric-a-brac at the time, they serve as perfect portraits into the late 1950’s zeitgeist of flash and flamboyance today. No shrinking violet (and how could they truly be?) for better or worse, they’re perfect totems to rampant corporate confidence and the hubris that often brings. Continue reading “(Found In) Lone Mountain (San Francisco) – 1958 Buick Century Riviera Hardtop Coupe”