As recently as 1957, DeSoto had a great year, with over 117,000 finny Forward Look motor vehicles produced. Things came to a sudden stop in 1958. Thanks to the aforementioned ’58 recession, all car sales took a hit. But DeSoto still fared worse than the average bear, with sales dipping down to under 50,000 units.
While Facel Vega—which aside from half its name has no connection to that other Vega, s’il vous plait—had produced automobiles since 1955, the company itself dates back two decades, when M. Jean Daninos, late of Citroën and the military aircraft concern Bronzavia, founded Métallon, a fabricator of kitchen cabinets and sinks and, in 1939, established Forges et Atéliers de Construction d’Eure-et-Loire, (FACEL). The two firms combined and made aircraft engine components during World War II.
Although somewhat forgotten in this day and age, thanks to the classic 1961-69 Lincoln Continental, one of the biggest and most over-the-top Continentals of them all were undoubtedly the 1958-60 Continental Mark III, IV and V. Wait, you may be thinking, weren’t the Marks 1960s and ’70s personal luxury cars? Yes, but they weren’t the first ones to bear the name!
The 1960 Imperial was thoroughly restyled, along with its less prestigious corporate siblings. The 1959’s toothsome front end was replaced in favor of a smoother visage. Overall lines were smoother too, especially on the two-door Southampton and Crown convertible.
Valiant. Speak the name to anyone who grew up in the Sixties and it will almost certainly prompt a ton of memories, both good and bad: “Oh, my Aunt Becky and Uncle Sid had one, it was the toughest car they ever had!” Or, “I drove one in high school, got it for $100 off a shady used car lot and it was the dullest, slowest car I ever owned!” In approximately 95% of these circumstances, these memories will be prefaced by the words Plymouth Valiant–and indeed, Valiants were Plymouths from 1961 through 1976–but not in its inaugural year in 1960. Yes, 1960, a Buck Rogers year for sure! It was also The Year Of The Compacts: Corvair, Falcon, and of course, Valiant.
For some reason, I’ve always skewed toward American luxury cars. With the exception of Porsches and Volvos, that is-blame my parents and their cars for that one. But as a kid, watching 1980s TV, I always wanted the black Cadillacs, Town Cars and Fifth Avenues the bad guys drove, not Magnum’s 308GTB or Michael Knight’s talking Trans Am. You can probably blame that one on my grandparents, my Grandma Ruby’s 1977 Thunderbird and Grandpa Bob’s navy blue 1977 Continental Mark V saw to it.
One of the earliest memories I have of car shows was when my mom and dad took me to the June Jamboree, a car show and festival in town back in about 1986 or 1987. I would have been about seven. The only car I remember, and have strong memories of, was a gigantic black 1955 Cadillac Fleetwood 60 Special. Even more imposing when you’re four feet tall.
Fast forward thirty years and I still love vintage domestic lux rolling stock. And with all my car buddies near and far, I never know what I’ll get to check out next. Case in point: K V Dahl, a friend of mine who just happens to also be the local Ford dealer, got a blue 1962 Continental convertible about a year ago. I’ve been wanting to write it up for a while, and though I had some pictures of it, I wanted to get some beauty shots of the car sitting outside. K V said we could definitely do that. So back in May I called him up and said, “Hey, I’d like to get some shots of the Connie sometime this week if you’re around.” To which he responded, “Well sure, but you should see what I got this week in Indianapolis!” “What?” “A 1960 New Yorker convertible. It’s sitting out front of the dealership right now. Wanna stop by?” *long pause* “I’m on the way!”
Until 2014, I had nothing to do with Facebook. I just didn’t see the need for it, and I thought I had enough going on in my life already without having another way to kill multiple hours online. One of the first things I got involved with were classic luxury car groups, such as The American Brougham Society.and The Classic Lincoln & Continental Appreciation Society. And met a lot of great people. One of those people, Josh Noiles, is the proud owner of this 1960 Cadillac Series 62 six-window sedan in Inverness Green.