Imagine my surprise when, while driving along a local street in my town, I spotted this sleek white beauty! It’s a 1960 Chrysler Saratoga 4-door hardtop, one of only 4,099 produced. Actually, about 77,000 Chryslers (of all models) were made in 1960, and you kind of wonder what happened to them all. A similar Saratoga sedan was previously written up by CC’s own Laurence Jones, but considering the fact that–at this point–you may only see one or two ’60 Chryslers in your lifetime, I think this pristine example is worth a closer look.
The first thing that strikes you about this car is, “This is big!” And the fins give the body a dynamic sense of forward thrust–and they do it beautifully! This is a Saratoga, mind you, 4″ longer than the lower priced Windsor (as if you needed more length!)
So there it is–as the great Charles Phoenix would say, “Behold the glory!” But the glory was all-too short lived. It always amazes me that cars like this (and other contenders for peak Space Age, like the ’59 Dodge, Cadillac, Mercury, Chevy, and others from 1957-61) were not exotic one-offs, but mass produced, “ordinary” cars driven by ordinary people. What were once common sights on American streets and highways rapidly disappeared from view as the ’60s became the ’70s. And I, for one, miss seeing them.
Nor do I see too many cars like this at car shows. It seems to me a car of this kind would be highly desirable by collectors. The sleek style…the 383 cubic inches of V-8 power…the push button TorqueFlite transmission…the unibody construction…the super-light power steering with torsion bar suspension which makes for such easy handling. Why haven’t more of these been preserved? The old car hobby has a lot of “meatballism” in it and is, in my view, too monolithic–at shows one typically sees the same specific high-profile models again and again–often hot-rodded or customized in some way. While everyone has his own tastes and desires, I think the real gold is right here.