The Fabulous Fifties! Americans were fascinated and obsessed with rockets and jet engines and car designers gave them just that with the designs of the 1950’s. Hood ornaments, tailfins, and lots of chrome reflected the culture of America at that time.
1959 brought an excess of space age details to automobile designs. Fueled by the Space Age and America’s first man in space, tailfins reached maximum height in car designs. The 1959 Cadillac Series 60 Fleetwood’s bullet shaped taillights imitated jet airplane stabilizers and the tailfins were at their pinnacle. At 19 feet in length this model would be the longest Cadillac ever to be made. Imagine trying to parallel park this one in one of today’s parking spaces!
This car was my favorite in the exhibit, probably for sentimental reasons. One is that as a teenager I remember occasionally seeing one of these models on the road and having my father explain that the obsession with tailfins had reached its excess with the 1959 models. Looking back he agreed that they were really ridiculous!
These cars were on display at the McNay Art Museum.