SI Vault
 
The new models wheel in
Kenneth Rudeen
October 20, 1958
The automobile editor and the camera examine Detroit's 1959 cars, and find them to be generally long, low and fancy, although compact cars are having their innings, too
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October 20, 1958

The New Models Wheel In

The automobile editor and the camera examine Detroit's 1959 cars, and find them to be generally long, low and fancy, although compact cars are having their innings, too

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DODGE
Dodge shares with all the Chrysler Corporation models the torsion springing, which gives exceptional handling qualities, and the new optional swivel seats, which permit easier front-door entry. Moderate restyling includes a lower roofline. A six-cylinder engine develops 135 hp, the V-8s up to 345 hp. The most noticeable difference in Plymouth styling (page 70) from last year is in the rear fin treatment and the indented front fenders.

CHRYSLER
Cushiony tires with only 16 pounds of air pressure and a non-glare rearview mirror which snaps to "dim" automatically when a following car's headlights strike it are new, optional features augmenting the styling face-lift. Lightweight engines produce 305 to 380 hp. The Imperial (page 70), most expensive and least changed of the Chrysler lines, is roomier and has a stronger frame. A stainless-steel roof joins conventional tops.

MERCURY
An enormous compound-curve windshield with 61% more glass area than last year is the most striking feature of the '59s. In some models the rear window also wraps up into the roof. Mercury officials say the new cars will be "totally new, from road to roof," with the instrument panel moved forward six inches to increase knee room, and the wheelbase lengthened as much as four inches. The drive-shaft hump will be considerably smaller.

DE SOTO
Here, too, the dimensional change is chiefly in the lowered roof. The more massive-looking headlight brow is characteristic of the higher-priced Chrysler Corporation lines. A new, optional rear air-suspension system is available in all Chrysler models, and pushbutton temperature controls are added to the well-established pushbutton transmission controls. Chrysler's overlapping engine series gives De Soto a 290- to 350-hp range.

LINCOLN and CONTINENTAL
Like Mercurys and Edsels, they won't be on the road until next month. Following the big changeover last year, which made them the longest cars on the road, the look of the '59s will be only slightly different, as in the grille treatment above. Two new Continental models are added, a town car and limousine. Ford Motors' other luxury line, the Thunderbird (page 67), was a hit as a four-seater this year and is changed only in minor details.

EDSEL
Introduced last September, the Edsel entered a declining medium-price market in a recession year, but still nearly 60,000 were sold. Edsels are face-lifted for '59 and priced nearer the Fords, while Mercury is upgraded. Ford's Fairlane 500s (page 67) are an inch longer, Custom 300s six inches longer. Ford engines develop 145 to 300 hp. A crash program will put a stylish new Ford, the Galaxy, to cost about $3,000, in showrooms soon.

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