(Found In) West Berkeley (Berkeley, California): 1967 BMW 2000 TiLux 4 Door Sedan

24628232036_231815b3c4_oAlthough the 2002 gets the majority of credit for BMW’s North American success, the models that laid the ground work for sports sedan dominance for half a century laid in the Neue Klasse sedans and related coupes released in 1962. From humble beginnings as an alternate for the growing German Post-War Middle Class, the 1500, 1800 and 2000 series sedans defined dynamic motoring the world over.

While redefining the world order of preferred athletic motoring, these cars also made sure that the BMW brand didn’t slink into bankruptcy and oblivion in a cold, harsh, competitive marketplace. They also set the style template for most Mid-sized BMW sedans for decades to come.

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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) Westlake (Daly City, California): 1961 Ford Falcon Deluxe Tudor Sedan

12348518_10153171487722201_1228274483_nThe Ford Falcon walked away with the sales crown in the compact car race in 1960. Proving to be a splendid combination of thrift and simplicity, the Falcon set all rivals scrambling for a more simplified piece of the pie.

Where was the Falcon to go for its sophomore year? A little more glitz, a little more muscle of course. It was a Motor City Machine after all. Once the basic needs of American consumers are met, they always want more. It was a lesson Ford learned early on, and quite painfully with the Model T, and there was no time to waste when it came to keeping the Falcon up with the times.
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(Found In) Bayview-Hunters Point (San Francisco, California): 1960 Cadillac Series 62 Six Window Four Door Hardtop Sedan

12212196_10153135151467201_1693632014_nAll American Automakers were faced with the daunting task of what to do next as the 1950’s gave way to the 1960’s. If one is to take a meter of aggregate automotive flamboyance, 1959 ranks as the equivalent of Liberace, Paul Lynde and Charles Nelson Reilly hosting a Christmas party. Befinned and bejeweled, Offerings from Rambler to Imperial maximized access to costume jewelry like no year before or since.

The splurge on baubles pushed Cadillac in particular to have a full Breakfast At Tiffany’s moment for 1959. In the hangover year that was 1960, a lot of those jewels were sent to the pawn shop. With the same basic body shell, a remarkable sense of restraint and modesty was applied to the variety of 1960 Cadillacs, as respectability replaced rambunctious as the value people coveted in their luxury machines.

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(Found In) Downtown/City Center Plaza (Oakland, CA): 1968 Plymouth Valiant Signet 2 Door Sedan

12167370_10153094429002201_114606198_n (1)American buyers have always appreciated a reliable “appliance” car. More often than not, Plymouth provided safe and sane reliable transportation as their bread and butter. Perhaps the most refined expression of the wholesome “Peanut Butter and Wheat Germ Sandwich” expression of Plymouth values was the 3rd Generation Plymouth Valiant sold from 1967 through 1976.

For such a humble car, few automobiles have been admired for their all around staid status the way Plymouth Valiants (and to a lesser degree their sister car the Dodge Dart) are. The official ride of High School Chemistry Teachers and Lesbian Librarians of the 1960’s can still be seen in locales that don’t encourage rust to rise on their quarter panels nearly 50 years later.

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(Found In) Fernside (Alameda, California): 1953 Chevrolet Bel – Air 4 Door Sedan

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The Summer roadtrip season is over. You shouldn’t feel the need to pack it in completely, however. By the blessing of Dinah Shore, this cherubic sweetheart still promises to show you from sea to shining sea nearly 63 years after it was built. When most start thinking retirement plans, the sweetest Chevy for ’53 still stands as an unassuming companion to get the job done, near or far.

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(Found In) Bushrod (Oakland, California): 1960 Plymouth Fury Four Door Hardtop Sedan

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Sometimes you get so far ahead of the curve that you’re blind to your own turns. This is precisely the predicament that Highland Park found themselves in with their Forward Look cars at the turn of the decade.

Plymouth in particular had screamed from every stage that Suddenly, It’s 1960! in the fall of 1956. So what were they to do when it actually made it to 1960? Apparently the solution was to offer a brand new Uni-Body shell and soon to be legendary 6 cylinder powerplant in an updated wrapper of what warped the automotive Space-Time continuum 3 seasons earlier.

Bedazzled and befinned, we have the 1960 Plymouth looking to the recent past as it plugged from the Space Age to the Camelot years.

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(Found In) The Bayview (San Francisco) – 1954 Lincoln Capri 4 Door Sedan

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Once upon a time in the early 1950’s, all the major American Luxury Brands retreated from reaching for the highly bespoke luxury stratosphere. Informed by World War II solidarity and Korean War rationing, long gone were the days of custom bodied cruisers for the rich and famous.

All Luxury cars proved much more of their worth in terms of tangible features and performance. Notably, Lincoln, like Packard moved slightly down-market, to be considered in choices alongside Oldsmobile Ninety Eights and Chrysler New Yorkers alongside their traditional Cadillac and Imperial contemporaries.

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(Found In) The Excelsior (San Francisco) – 1966 Buick Skylark 4 Door Hardtop Sedan

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From the era of General Motors sitting at the top of the world we have what is one of their most solid citizen efforts from 1966. Perhaps this ordinary Buick is the zenith of the American Sedan. Undeniably charming, exquisitely detailed and pretty well assembled are qualities that were part and parcel of any 1966 Buick Skylark.

Credible cushiness and competence helped make the most luxurious of junior Buicks something to pay attention to as the Senior Buicks continued to pack on pounds and even more padding as the 1960’s drew to a close.

Although the least popular of its corporate relatives, the attention these Buicks generated compared to rivals outside of the GM family was genuinely envy endorsing.

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(Found In) Visitacion Valley (San Francisco) – 1954 Cadillac Series 62 4 Door Sedan

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Perhaps a Solid Gold Cadillac is a bit of a cliché. But by 1954, Cadillac was pretty much the solid gold standard in American Luxury cars. Their value outweighed and outlasted previous prestige players. Lincoln had migrated into being the darling of road races and Ed Sullivan but no necessarily showroom sales.

Packard found itself in a marriage of desperation to Studebaker and the desired feast for more finned beasts that soon would eventually take their Clippers and other confections to an untimely grave. All the while, Imperials were still technically top rung Chryslers, more image aligned with Buick Roadmasters and Limiteds than Cadillacs.
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