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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey Gents,

Not sure if anyone has posted this before, it's from March 2019 but definitely worth re-posting anyway. So a little background:

Robert Cumberford: a former automotive designer for GM, author and design critic – widely known as Automotive Design Editor and outspoken columnist for Automobile magazine. Here is his Wiki Page.

Wrote a comment at the end of an article on Dean's Garage website (which I may say is a pretty epic website for history of car design and the men that designed them)
Here is his comment:
Wheel Tire Automotive parking light Car Vehicle


Link to the page it's from

I'm SURE this is NOT new information for anybody but I still think it's pretty cool to read a first hand account from someone still alive that worked on our beloved '57!!!
 

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1957 210 2-Door Sedan
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Hey Gents,

Not sure if anyone has posted this before, it's from March 2019 but definitely worth re-posting anyway. So a little background:

Robert Cumberford: a former automotive designer for GM, author and design critic – widely known as Automotive Design Editor and outspoken columnist for Automobile magazine. Here is his Wiki Page.

Wrote a comment at the end of an article on Dean's Garage website (which I may say is a pretty epic website for history of car design and the men that designed them)
Here is his comment:
View attachment 377206

Link to the page it's from

I'm SURE this is NOT new information for anybody but I still think it's pretty cool to read a first hand account from someone still alive that worked on our beloved '57!!!
That sketch is amazing. I want it on my wall.
 

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Man, that is new information for me! Look how terrific these guys in the styling department were. A pencil drawing of all things. If this were my drawing, it would the equilivent of a stick car, lol!

Look at the date on the drawing. Early April 56. The production line shut down what August to retool. So they had what, 4 months. Many thanks for posting this.
 

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"...when we were doing the emergency re-style of the '55-'56 cars because there wasn't enough time to tool the '57."

Very interesting. Finally explains to me why the '55 and '56 are so very similar; yet the '57 was such a jump (comparatively) while still sharing so much with its older siblings. So what we know as a '58 was intended to be a '57... How fortunate it worked out the way it did. Just another example of how unintended circumstances were responsible for so many automotive icons. And, as we all know, how some of the most 'intended' projects wound up being horrific flops. Thanks for posting...I'll never look at a '57 quite the same way again... :unsure:
 

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That's amazing, thanks for sharing!
That raises some questions. Does that mean that all the GM divisions were behind since they all came out with the four headlight design in '58? Thay was quite a design change. And since the Big 3 all came out with four headlights in '58, was there a design "leak"?
We'll probably never get the answers...
 

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That's amazing, thanks for sharing!
That raises some questions. Does that mean that all the GM divisions were behind since they all came out with the four headlight design in '58? Thay was quite a design change. And since the Big 3 all came out with four headlights in '58, was there a design "leak"?
We'll probably never get the answers...
Harley Earl was the head Designer for GM.. so he controlled all the division designs!
 

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My Dad bought a 58 convertable, red and while, brand new. 348 4 bbl, turboglide (his recollection), continential kit, ps. It was a beautiful car. Sold it in 61 partly because I was on the way, but mostly because he could not keep a transmission in it, and the power steering was always breaking off from the frame (I am not exactly sure what he meant by this). By 61 the car was out of warrantly so it was just too expensive to keep fixing. He bought a 62 Ford Falcon four door (which he regreted for years). Purchased my 57 in 65 or 66 as a used car (which he never regretted).

He always regretted having to get rid of the 58. He really liked that car, better then the 57 I think.
 

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My dad told me that they had an air ride suspension in '58 that had some flaws at first. You'd look out in the morning to see you had a low rider😀. He said someone had a garage that had something like curbs along each side so you could step out of the car instead of down. So you parked in a trough. Their air ride let down overnight and then they couldn't open the doors because of the curbs! I think the dealer had to field that one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
So the question I would have is, we're all the divisions short on time to retool? I wouldn't think th others would hold back for Chevrolet to catch up. No doubt a rhetorical question now.
So it sounds like a lot of you guys don't know the story on this one so I will tell the Reader's Digest version:

Dual Headlights:
There was government legislation that was changing to allow dual headlights in '58. There are a few Mopar's and Caddy's that did sneak them in for '57 or late '57 but all 3 changed over all their cars and trucks to dual headlights for '58.

Why the Rush and what happened with the '58's?
-In late 56 there was a workers strike (this was one factor) in delaying the '58 to '58
-In '57 Mopar came out with their Christine look which apparently was lower with slender pillars and was the envy of Ford and GM as "leading" the way in design where this had been GM for years
-This resulted in the '58 being a 1yr car since '59 was the quickest GM could respond to the '57 Mopar designs
-Now this is not true for Caddy which had the same body for '57 & '58 except for the dual headlights on some of them
-Lastly, the drastic from '58 to '59 was the transition from Harley Earl to Bill Mitchel. Mitchel actually lead a sort of coup while Harley was on vacation and through out all the existing '59 designs that were going to be much heaver looking with much more chrome like the '58 on steroids'. If you guys aren't familiar I can find pictures and repost.

Now I read about this many years ago so if anyone would like to clarify or correct me, please do so
 

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Noticed that the hood rockets on the drawing seem to be a bit smaller + they lack the vertical stabilizer = a smoother look than what made it to production. I have always hated those "gunsights" I cut them off of my rockets years ago, if you follow suit be advised that the vertical fin is hollow simply rotate the rockets 180*, the top of the small "fin" that was on the underside ends up even with the top of the housing. They may need to be swapped side to side if side specific, don't recall.
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The pencil drawing is a great piece but the '57 styling was esentially done when this drawing was made. I have a photo dated March '56 showing the car pretty much as we know it. I'll post it as soon as I return home. One difference though from the finished car are four gold pieces on the Bel Air fender as opposed to the three on the production car.
 
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