(Found In) Ralph Bunchie (Oakland, California): 1962 Buick Invicta 4 Door Hardtop Sedan

img_6097Buick was never really known as the flamboyant choice of cars in the General Motors stable. However, starting in the Mid 1950’s, Buick found its way to being one of the most fashionable plates car buyers dined off of. For the 1954-57 models it seemed more keeping up with the Jonesin’ for wild color and fabric combinations. However, by 1958, the glittery flamboyance jumped the shark, followed by the Batman inspired ’59, and the relatively less marvel superhero themed 1960 version.

By 1962, under the influence of ever calming industrial design, Buick found itself refining into the solid state of automotive conservatism it has been long term known for. Gone were the protrusions of previous years for a statelier ride. How did that graft onto the Banker’s Hot Rod Du Jour, The 1962 Invicta?

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(Found In) South Berkeley (Berkeley, California): 1961 Plymouth Fury Four Door Hardtop Sedan

image-46There’s perhaps no bigger surprise underdog that early 1960’s full sized Plymouths. Due to a number of factors, especially from 1960 through 1962, the Big Bargain Basement Mopars found themselves not only at odds with their traditional market segment. They found displeasure among Mopar loyalists as well.

While the 1960 and 1962 versions get their fair share of flack, most of the mockery goes to the rather galactic looking 1961 versions of Savoy, Belvedere and Fury. How did this Extra-Terrestrial get let out of Area 51 to convince Highland Park executives that it was just the Science Fiction fantasy that America wanted during the Camelot years? It’s a peculiar question to ask.

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(Found In) Lone Mountain (San Francisco, California): 1959 Mercury Park Lane Cruiser 4 Door Hardtop Sedan

image (11).jpegWe’ve discussed before how choosing the name Mercury for its middle class brand might have been FordMoCo’s biggest mistake. Selecting the celestial body known to astrologically put the most mix-ups in our lives was just right for conjuring up a make full of surprises and shadows.

This Mercury Retrograde we once again trace back to the heady times of 1959, from the alternate perspective of a top of the line Park Lane, all dressed in Black. Different in mission and purpose than the bare bones Monterey, we’ll see how it was supposed to be a giant killer and a bridge to bigger things, but had to retrace its steps under the age of McNamara.

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(Found In) Santa Fe (Oakland, California): 1964 Buick Electra 225 Four Door Hardtop

12242244_10153145153132201_2127920083_n1964 represented the capstone return to restrained elegance that was a long term calling card of Buick products. Swept up in the exuberance of the 1950’s, Buick spent a few seaons of the decade being the #3 volume producer of American Cars, edging out perennial price leader favorite Plymouth in 1955 and 1956. Those boastful totals right behind low priced domestic rivals Ford and Chevrolet were the result of some rather bodacious offerings from Flint, Michigan. Not totally exclusive “Doctor’s Cars” they had been in the past, (especially the price leader Special and hot rod Century) some of the upper crust mystique of Buick lost its luster as the high volume brought a few quality gremlins as well.

By 1960, the true, innately conservative streak that solidified Buick values for most of the brand heritage started to return. An emphasis on the relative restraint compared to upper crust rivals returned year after year throughout the early 1960’s before becoming resolutely entrenched by the middle of the decade.

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