The Forward Look
To the readers of this site.
You remember each Fall, Sept/Oct were the months that all the car
dealers around the neighborhood/cities and towns would made a big
Hullabaloo revealing next year’s new car models. They would cover
up the front windows with window paint or paper covering hiding
the glimmering new products from Detroit’s motor city. They would
use words like the motion picture industry used – Exciting – All
New – Must See – More Powerful – Unbelievable - Etc - Etc.
Exciting the male curiosity, like anticipating the girl jumping
out of the birthday cake. Young Boys would try to sneak a peek at
this new revelation getting all excited not being able to wait to
see the unveiling. Unlike today's cars that hatch almost every month
from different places all around the world. (Globalization) The
Chrysler New Yorker debuted in Sept ‘56 as the New Car for ‘57 It
was immediately proclaimed a stand out and stunning design. It was
awarded two gold medals for industrial design and merit. It cost
Chrysler Corp. an eye popping $300 million dollars to develop it
and bring it to market. “The unified design was created by Chrysler
designer Virgil Exner – rather than by a committee” --- Quotes taken
from the Book: Classic American Cars by DK Publishing Inc All 57/58
New Yorkers rolled out of the Highland Park factory Detroit USA.
The price of a New Yorker started at a whopping $4,259 --- Mega
Bucks Then! Besides the gorgeous body shell, it was the Mighty HEMI
that made this Car an object of lust and power. The General (GM)
was caught flat footed at its appearance. Yes! It was the General
who first introduced the fin and grafted it on a car. The ‘49 Caddy'
had the distinction of being the first to sprout them . But compared
to the New Yorkers Fins, they looked like an infected hang nail
on a big toe!
One look at the New Yorker spoke volumes of what the design team
at Chrysler wanted ----“A Rocket Ship”. Each angle of the car exhibited
excitement and flair. The fins where huge but not extravagant. They
seemed to be designed with real functionality. Real Rocket looking
ailerons that were blended into the side profile with such eloquence,
befitting the name The Forward Look. The twin hooded head lights
in the front were also slanted forward seeming to be reaching for
speed. Gracing the side of the back fins were these golden backward
facing vents, the kind you would expect to see on a Mach Two Fighter
aircraft defining the fuselages overall shape to a total look of
flight. Swing open the door and slide into the seat facing the masculine
and informative dash board, close the solid door and the car inners
embraced you, making you feel that you were in a cockpit of a Rocket
that was poised for space flight.
The chief designer at GM, Harley Earl responded and fired back
the next year with the flamboyant 59 Caddy which turned out to be
the most outrageous and undoubtedly the undisputed King of the tail
Fin that out did them all. The year ‘59 was the Fins last hurrah,
the fins never got taller – I have to say I like fins on cars. Must
be my obsession with sleek and fast fighter Planes.
When Jacques Car debuted it was in the fall of 1957 as the 1958
New Yorker. In that Fall season the Russians surprised the world
and beat the US in space with the Sputnik. I remembered watching
it in the night sky on Eleventh Street with our next door neighbor,
the Bonforts, and their upstairs neighbors, the Jensons. Everyone
was in awe -- not me! I was upset that another country could out
do the Good old USA. The Russkies might have beaten us in Space,
but the US was the envy of the world when it came to automobiles.
Great engineering and works of art on wheels. Hey! We were America
second to none.
The Russians were to find out like the rest of the foes that went
against the US, it would be just a matter of time when our industrial
might would Win in the end. We finally did beat the Russians to
the Moon in style – (In part helped by Chrysler Corp) We definitely
had the Can Do Attitude – (Our schools inspired us to do our best
and we were to be proud to be an American)
A little note of respect to Chrysler. Chrysler Corporation was
one of the Big Three (GM-FORD-Chrysler) It was all was known for
it’s Engineering Prowess. Mention a Super Car to anyone and the
first thing that pops into mind is, the HEMI engine which represented
the meanest most powerful sought after Super Car Engine of all time!!!!!!
Chrysler made contributions during WWII that helped win the War
Chrysler Made sub-assemblies for heavy aircraft. They built the
forward fuselage section of the B-29 Superfortess which ended the
Second World War plus many other vital aircraft sub-assemblies for
the B-26 bomber and the Curtiss Helldiver dive-bomber.
It was also licensed to build the most powerful engine of the war
– "The Wright –R-3350-57 Cyclone Engine" that powered the B29 Superfortress.
Only the most skilled manufacturing could produce it because of
it’s exact close tolerance needed in its thousands of intricate
parts. It was twin-row supercharged air cooled radial engine with
18 cylinders, it displaced 3,350 cubic inches and produced a minimum
of 2,200hp. Chrysler built 18,413 of these babies.
While doing this super power plants it devised the HEMI V-16 piston
engine for a super fast fighter plane – which never reached production.
Armed with this expertise Wha-La the HEMI engine was born to be
use as a Super V-8 for their cars. HEMI = Hemispherical combustion
chambers. Built Like a Sherman Tank! Chrysler Corp also was know
for producing our most famous Tank The “M4 Sherman”. Beside making
the Tank it also made the engines to propel them, the A57 a whopping
1,500 cubic inch engine that sported 30 cylinders, Chrysler produced
15,000 of them.
Chrysler was also heavily involved in the Manhattan Project (A-Bomb)
it made the diffuser one of the most critical part of the whole
project. As one Chrysler spokesman said: The War was won because
the Bomb was built with our diffusers and were dropped from planes
with Chrysler fuselages and powered by Chrysler engines. It was
also the Chrysler Corporation that helped place Man on the Moon
– It built All the Rocket Tanks For the Giant Saturn 36 Story High
My grateful Thanks to all our Car manufacturers who helped the
U.S.A. win the war. When we needed them the most, they were there
So now, go kick your Toyota !!!!!!!!!!
John Desranlesu is a Car Show Photographer.
You can view his work at: