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1989 Sedan DeVille is now just a fond memory ....
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I'd gladly drive any one of those! Love that old styling!
 

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This isn't from Motor Trend, it's from Motor Trend Classic. I have every issue since #1. Great read. It used to be bi-monthly, closed down, then came back as a quarterly (bigger, better, and more expensive: $15/issue).
 

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Cadillac 95 STS, 02 SLS
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As a young "almost ready to drive" when these three cars were new (actually I was in Brazil at the the time, but faithfully went to the airport magazine shop every month to buy my copies of Popular Mechanics ), I can say that in the minds of us young ones the Eldorado was the clear winner. 1956 was the year left their more conservative ideas of luxury behind and went with pure "flash and dash." For instance the '55 Cadillac 62s and Coupe de Villes were still pretty plain compared with what came the next year. The colors offered and the interior materials were really flashy compared to those offered before that year.

My aunt and uncle had a 1955 Eldorado (black with a red and white leather medallioned interior), basically a model 62 convertible with a bit=it more chrome, fancier interior, wire wheels and a textured metal lower rear quarter panel. Not a bad car but not really up to the 1953. The '56 was the year they upped the ante with the big, distinctive tail fins. I never drove a 1956 Eldorado's, but I spent plenty of time behind the wheel of a '56 Fleetwood my dad had. From a young guy's standpoint the Cadillac was the clear choice among the three featured hear.

I never drove, or for that matter saw too many, Packard Caribbeans. One of my best friend's dad had a a 1955 Packard Patrician, a nice car but very conservative (despite the engine turned dash appliqué) and while the self leveling rear suspension was just not up to Cadillac's design and take on luxury.

The Lincoln, which even then I considered really beautiful, was a real also ran in the prestige games of the luxury class, and to be honest was rightfully and overwhelmingly overshadowed by the magnificent Continental Mark II. The following year Lincoln completely blew it by tacking monstrosity tail fins on their basic beautiful design. I never drove a 1956 or 57 Lincoln but I did get to drive my aunt and uncle's Mark II (it replaced the '54 Eldorado when my aunt, a leading fashion designer was offered one of the first ones in 1956). The Mark II was originally offered for sale to high profile (reputable), what we would call first rung celebrities today. To this day the Continental Mark II remains one of my "all time" favorite post war cars.1957 was the year that Detroit really through out their old ideas and the big three automakers really let it all hang out with their flashiest and possibly best designs of the post war era. The cars not only looked different but because of more powerful engines, lower center of gravities and new 15 inch size wheels handled a lot better too! The difference between the '56 Fleetwood and our 1957 Olds Ninety-Eight four door Holiday (hardtop convertible in the vernacular of the day) was like night and day. The Olds was a bright, fun car that let light and the fresh air in, while the Cadillac was a dark gloomy (regardless of exterior color) old farts car (I never used it on dates and really only drove when my dad asked me too. The Olds [email protected] could really lay rubber, I don't remember the cad doing much of that (although the longer stroke engine was preferable for pulling my sailboat around).

Today all three of those cars look great, but they don't have to really compete in a real marketplace anymore. If I were to choose one today it would, hands down, the Lincoln. Its' design combine great style with good taste, some which in all honestly I can't say for the Eldorado or with its' three tone paint job which really made it come off as an old women with too much makeup (then and even now). The Eldorado was Las Vegas cheap flashy and found a home (particularly a second home) in the garages or apartment parking lots of those for whom a car was their biggest investment!
 

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1989 Sedan DeVille is now just a fond memory ....
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...our 1957 Olds Ninety-Eight four door Holiday (hardtop convertible in the vernacular of the day)
Do you mean 4-door hardtop? When I hear "hardtop convertible", I think of this:

That's what I think of too, when I hear hardtop convertible. Usually retractable but sometime detachable. When I hear 4 door hardtop, I think of 4 doors without B pillars.

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... but what do I know?!! :)
 

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Now: 79Eldo, 95SevSTS, 06STS. Former: 71&75 CDV,81Eldo,91SDV
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For what it's worth department:

1. I believe that the (very beautiful) Ford in the picture is a '57 Sunliner. (A friend of mine has a '58 Sunliner, a very similar car but with quad headlights.)

2. I think that the term Ford used for this body style was "retractable" hardtop convertible. (My father was a Ford, Lincoln, Mercury salesman in the mid-50's - a circumstance that netted me a ride in a lot of new cars including one of the first Thunderbirds sold in the city.)

3. I thought that the reason that Ford settled in on the term, "retractable," was that the name, "hardtop convertible" was still widely used to describe what we now refer to as simply "hardtop," the simple term, "hardtop" having come into use originally as a shortened form of "hardtop convertible."

4. I will need to check my references on this, but I believe that it was Cadillac who first used the term, "hardtop convertible" in about 1949 or 1950 to designate a body style with a fixed hard top but otherwise styled like a convertible, including the lack of a "B" pillar between the front and rear windows and having a roof line similar to that of a convertible.

Sorry I've been scarce lately. I've been a workaholic drag.

Smiling Jack
 

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1989 Sedan DeVille is now just a fond memory ....
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Here's an interesting read on the subject of the original hardtop convertibles and how the tops and terms have progressed through the years. If this is to be believed, in smiplified terms; hardtop convertible has always refered to a removable top while hardtop refers to a car with a non-removable top sans B pillars to simulate the style of a convertible.

http://www.hemmings.com/hcc/stories/2006/04/01/hmn_feature14.html

But, read for yourselves and take it or leave it as you like! ;)
 

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Thanks to Kev, I stand corrected.

glad I qualified my statements as "thoughts."

Apparently I should have done same with "Sunliner." Should have been "Skyliner" according to the interesting article.

Jack
 

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I agree that by 1957 (the year Olds I was referring to) that "hardtop" had become the vernacular for a coupe or four door without a center pillar. Earlier in the decade "hardtop convertible" was the common nomenclature.

I never heard the Ford Sunliner referred to as a "hardtop convertible" by Ford or owners of the cars(accept in more current collector circles), I knew the model as a "retractable."

Whatever you may call them I miss the "pillarless" coupes and sedans so popular back in the fifties and sixties!
 

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1989 Sedan DeVille is now just a fond memory ....
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Whatever you may call them I miss the "pillarless" coupes and sedans so popular back in the fifties and sixties!
Yes, it was a very nice, clean look.
 

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^^^ Best of all they encouraged "open air" motoring. While I like and appreciate air conditioning, I also have to admit that I miss the breeze and sense of the "world around you" that a hardtop with all the windows down gave you ..... almost as good as a convertible without the hot sun beating down on you. You got to enjoy the smell of new mowed grass, orange orchards in bloom,the muskiness of a Fall day ..... none of which is the same when in a "pillared" coupe or sedan. They were the closest we got to the phaetons and touring cars of the prewar era. I may have wished for a Corvette or two seat Thunderbird at the time, but today I appreciate getting to use and experience life in my mother's 1957 Olds 98 four door Holiday during those last Summers of high school!
 
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