I love shots like this one by Stephen Pellegrino (“Poindexter”): Two cheap Chevys, sixty years apart. And what do they still have in common, other than four rubber tires?
What a great sighting!
The Schrader valves in the tire valve stems MIGHT still be interchangeable. (??)
Not with the TPMS I bet!
Actually they are still interchangeable. GM’s of this era are stem mount, so they take a snap in stem that only really differs from the old school stems in that the brass extends past the rubber and it threaded for the sensor to bolt to.
Some other TPMS systems used band mount sensors that have nothing to do with the stem.
There are others however that are integral with the stem also known as bolt ins. Those still use the same basic valve but to prevent corrosion you are supposed to only use stainless valve cores.
Actually, I was thinking of just the valve core, but I never dreamed that any TPMS would mount to the stem like that. Thanks for the picture!
Both still sedans. Both still ICE.
One is unmistakenly a Chevrolet. The other is a white car.
What, specifically, makes the ’59 “unmistakably a Chevy” and the Cruze not? To someone who doesn’t know cars, the ’59 is just some ’50s land barge.
I look at the picture and instantly recognize a 59 Chevy. I then notice a white car parked behind it which could be a Ford, Chevy. Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Kia, or Hyundai to name a few. In short there is no recognition of the white car other than it is white. Of course that is even assuming I gave the white car a second look. Nah, knowing me I wouldn’t…
The ’59 Chevy was the first car I really recognized as a little kid, because it looked so different among late-fifties Australian traffic. Everything was just exaggerated, over the top.
+1 for me in late 70s/early 80s NZ. There was still a lot of 50s/60s American iron around, but the ’59 Chev was like an alien life form with cat eyes, certainly made an impression on little me…
What do they have in common? Charisma isn’t one of them. I’ll take the bat wing anyday of the week.
They’re probably worth the same $$.
In terms of percentage of value retained the Cruze is doing better than the ’59 did at that age, which isn’t quite a fair comparison since there were plenty of new cars in, say, 1962-3. A fairer comparison might be a 1941 Chevy in 1945.
Also the 1961 and on Chevy’s were a big styling change making your finned car look very old.
I’m saying value if sold on the market today. Used modern sedan values have fallen like a rock meanwhile the 59 has become quite the icon.
I agree with you, but I was replying to nlpnt
They both look to be about 3-5 years old. The ’59’s not perfect but it’s in solid shape and has narrow white-stripe tires that weren’t widely available until the early ’60s.
One is a complete stripper, the Biscayne. The Cruze is a mid-spec car – it has a sunroof and alloys, although not the huge ones.
The 2019 would have much more in common with a 1939 in terms of proportion and size and ugliness. Especially the lumpy butt and high taillights.
To my eyes the ’59 Chevy is the only car in this picture.
The white blob behind it is a completely anonymous appliance that could be any brand.
Only thing they have in common is the too small wheels.
“Only thing they have in common is the too small wheels.”
Seems some companies never learn…..
Reminds me of that Youtube video of a ’59 Chevy being crashed into an ’09 Chevy. Spoiler: you’d rather be in the ’09.
Chevrolet sponsored the world’s most popular television shows, so we all grew up knowing what a Chevy was. Now – the world’s most popular television shows pulls in 20% of the viewers in comparison. Even if Chevy advertised on those shows, it wouldn’t be reaching the same number of eyes that a season of Bonanza in 1959, reached.
Worse, Chevy has been beaten for many years in sales by Hyundai and Kia. So today’s Chevy looks like a Hyundai, not a Chevy.
In 1959, Domestic corporations were confident and cars sported jet wings. Today, domestic corporations have either become global or have disappeared. They do not cater to America as they once did. They cater to the world. The Chevy design we see today would be at home anywhere in the world.
It would be nice to imagine a confident Chevrolet, selling million and more cars each year to our neighbors. Those days are gone. To a majority of US buyers, a Chevrolet isn’t good enough for them. Too local. Too domestic. Too generic.
Hopefully, Chevy will regain its mojo. They have a history of awesome distinctive auto design. They don’t have to recreate a Hyundai. It would be amazing if today’s Chevy tried to at least incorporate some of its incredible style history to demonstrate that a Chevy is more than just another import.
The final Impala exudes far greater confidence than its predecessors. But your point is well taken, and I can’t disagree.
I agree with the Impala. It was a very distinctive Chevy. I so wished it had a modern version of the flying jet insert across the rear flanks instead of the Hyundai hip line.
This is a key point on GM’s fortunes, i.e., “selling it”. GM, traditionally, has been among the best (if not ‘the’ best) at showmanship. That, combined with their vast dealer network, insured that they’d be a market leader, despite products that were mediocre. They only had to be just a little bit better than Ford or Chrysler, and that wasn’t particularly difficult. American consumers would see the wholesome Dinah Shore on television, telling them to see the USA in their Chevrolet, and it was a simple matter to trot on down to their local Chevy dealer and do just that.
Of course, eventually, all the flashy marketing and dealers in the world couldn’t overcome cars that weren’t even mediocre, anymore. Combined with the Japanese arriving with substantially better-built vehicles for not that much more, it was just a matter of time before GM’s fall, and that’s exactly what happened.
Please name three horrible Detroit product manufactured over the past 20 years that justified the death of our manufacturing cities, our economics, and our damage to the environment by shipping cars from the other side of the world.
I’m having a tough time trying to name which “Detroit 3” cars are still made in Detroit, or even the USA. Many are designed and built in other countries now.
The 2021 Chevys that “look like a Chevy” and still resonate with buyers are the Silverado and Tahoe/Suburban.
I’m astonished by how large the Cruze looks next to the Biscayne.
I agree Jim. I would have never thought of the Cruze as anything but a small car. Being born in the early 60’s, the 59 would have looked large as I was a small tot. I was amazed as how small my Citation X-11 is compared to the Cruze.
The only thing that would have made this comparison even more pronounced would have been for an SUV to be parked behind the 1959.
That curved windshield on the red Chevy sure was a marvel of styling.
One Chevy and one Daewoo only thing in common is both were sold by GM I’d take the red one any day you couldnt give me the Daewoo free.
I don’t think most people are aware that Daewoo lives on in their GM vehicles. The Spark, Sonic, Trax, Trailblazer, Bolt EV, and Buick Encore. Also, the older Chevy Aveo. It seems just about every vehicle “made” by GM is a Daewoo. Unfortunately, my wife’s cousin was involved in their failed attempt to establish their own name, in the US..
I had almost an argument with a guy on FB last year. He made out that because they were now called “GM Korea” they were a new company and weren’t Daewoo any more. I said that was a legal fiction. My line of reasoning was if they continue with the same product and the same quality (or lack thereof) they can jump through all the legal hoops they like, they’re still Daewoo, with all that the name implies…..
Eh, I like my Encore. I call it the SKB sometimes (Shitty Korean Buick) but I love the damn thing. It’s the best Daewoo ever, I figure.
Longer, lower, wider!
Sixty years from now, nobody will remember the white car much less compare it to anything contemporary.
What a bunch of good comments! I agree. Plain Jane as the Biscayne is, it still has distinctive styling.
There’s an awful lot of “Old Man Yells At Cloud” in these comments, but yeah. A 10th gen Civic will be well-remembered decades from now, but…
The Cruze wasn’t as much an also-ran in its’ class as the revived Dodge Dart but it still wasn’t at the head of the pack like the ’59 was in its’ time.
Then again, try to look at the ’59 through 1962-63 eyes. It’s a solid used car but starting to be embarrassingly dated, nobody’ll want to preserve those ugly befinned “Insolent Chariots” of the late ’50s like they do Brass-Era cars no siree…
My Dad’s first car was one of these, and he said by the time he bought it in 1964 people considered them hunks o’ junk.
Anyone wondering why CUVs have overtaken sedans in popularity need only look at this picture. The ’59-60 GM full-sizers have been criticized for poor space efficiency and the difficulty of getting in and out of the front seats without whacking your knee on the dogleg whilst ducking your head to clear the low roof. But even the ’59 Biscayne is a breeze to load up with people compared to the Cruze with its steeply raked windshield, pinched greenhouse, high beltline, and plunging roofline and door openings where rear seat passengers’ heads want to be. The Cruze has a roomy trunk, but most of that space is underneath the sloped rear window making it hard to access. These low, overly sleek designs have led to a stampede away from them to taller, boxier vehicles that are easier to live with. I don’t know why much of the auto industry thinks sedan buyers really want a four door fastback coupe.
Also, it’s astonishing that the angle of the A pillars in the two cars is almost 90 degrees apart.
I try to find a commonality, but all I think of are differences. The 1959 would be designed all in (fractional) inches, and the Cruze metric, right? Even the spark plugs and lug nuts need different wrenches, yes?
VanillaDude caught the everywhere-ness of Chevy in advertising, including this one (trade ad):
The Biscayne had a huge advantage back in the day. It could be distinctively styled, and people would go for it. Nowadays, quite a few people want the Toyota/Honda/Lexus look and settle for the Chevy/Hyundai/Kia, which look similar. To make the base Chevy sedan distinctive, at this point, would likely be counterproductive. Styling follows aspirations, and people don’t aspire to Chevy sedans any more. Tesla has revived the aspirational distinctive styling thing, as have the pony/muscle cars, and the big SUVs and trucks work for Detroit, but not the base model cars.
I think that reflects both the US-centric nature of Chevy’s market in 1959, and the market share of GM as a whole. They could do whatever they liked; if the buyer didn’t like the proportions of the new Chevy, well everyone else was doing something similar. If you didn’t like the Chevy’s details, perhaps those fins, well maybe it was time you ‘moved up’ to a Pontiac. A Ford or a Plymouth would give you another company’s variation on the same basic plan.
GM had different vehicles on the market in different countries, tailored to those countries’ perceived needs – smaller, lighter, more economical, and notably more affordable. Outside North America, that ’59 Chevy was a rich man’s car. Global design had gone out with the Model T Ford and hadn’t come back yet. Though there was that Volkswagen-thingy…..
I’d rather look at the Biscayne, but if I have to choose which I’d rather daily, it’s the Cruze for sure. Better space utilization, better performance and more fuel efficiency. There are good reasons we’ve moved away from the Biscayne school of automotive design. The Biscayne would be good weekend driver in an exurb or rural area, driving and parking it anywhere where there’s actual density isn’t something that would interest me very much at all
The best Cruz is the diesel as it has reasonable power, but as my WOF man explained they arent popular as cars, reps issued with them quit for other jobs where he worked previously 59s were stylish in their day but didnt age well,
As one who grew up on, & drove big ‘ol Detroit iron for a lot of my youthful years, & later discovered smaller is better, & “funner” from a ’60s Uncle Sam tour in Germany; I’d say the fin generation was the prom dress, & today’s generic plastic on wheels is the track suit. A lot more practical when running today’s traffic marathons.
One thing I noticed right away is visibility for the driver. The white blob has blind spots everywhere (especially rearward). You can really “see America” in the ’59!
Criticisms of either car aside, I reckon in another 60 years the Cruze will look just as “Otherworldly” in comparison to whatever autonomous module is representative at that time.
The batwing Biscayne looks like it’s from another world because it IS. And the Cruze is already an example of a shape and style that’s marching quickly toward extinction even as we speak.
Hell, with advances in recycling, etc., the days of antiquated technology lingering on the planet as a curiosity might be numbered too. In 2081 it might just be considered blasphemous wastefulness to hold onto resources out of quaint nostalgia.
Soylent Green might not just be people by then;/
SOYLENT GREEN IS BISCAYNES! IT’S BISCAAAAAYYYYYYYYYNES!
The Cruise just blends into the background, a nondescript part of the scenery. The `Scayne just stands out, it`s presence-even for a low-line stripper -is undeniable.
It was said that, at some particular high speed, the bat-wing fins would cause the rear of the ’59 to lift up, a few inches off the ground.
I’ve searched, but have never seen it substantiated.
(of course, being RWD, if the rear lifted up, the speed would decrease)
…. just among those wishes for “flying cars” that my folks said I’d be driving one day….
The ’59 Chevy rear lifting at high speed thing is a disproven urban legend, good thing since a spoiler to fix that problem would look all wrong on this car…
Gosh, aren’t the ’59’s doors small! And ’59s once seemed so big, but next to the white whatever, it looks like a 3/4 scale model of itself.
Scott a friend of mine has a 59 Cadillac pillarless four door hardtop RHD very rare but yes its a huge car but getting in is a challenge and theres little room once you are in, makes a great wedding car for the photos etc which is what he uses it for.
I figure cars are meant to do one of a couple things. Some cars are just meant to tear ass around a race track, and they are built as such, with one or two seats. Other cars are meant to be functioning vehicles and to carry people around. The 1959 Chevy might be good looking, but is terrible at that job.
Lean in to the drivers seat, and hope you don’t whack your knee on that fashionable dogleg corner of the wraparound windshield.
Notice as you pull out that the brakes are already a little willowy; hope you don’t need to use them in an accident.
Start the engine and go to your destination- hope the undersized and probably underinflated tires will make it there.
Sure, while you are worried about these things, the guy in the 2 seat race car may have already died of his injuries. But he knew what he was getting into anyways.
That shitty plastic white car is way, way better at doing its job, which last I checked is moving people inside of it from point A to point B, than the 59 could ever be.
Technically the white blob is better in every aspect but don’t forget these cars are 60 years apart. Styling is an entirely different story, however, because one thing is for sure: not a single schoolboy in 2059 will have a poster of a 60 year old anonymous white appliance hanging above his bed, while the styling of the 50’s and early 60’s finned “spaceships” may still be iconic even then.
I feel contrary this morning, so will go against the grain by saying that I see six of one, half dozen of the other. The white car is below average – and so was the red car in its day.
The 59 has (and had) some advantages. It was mechanically well-sorted and straightforward. It was decently built. That’s about it. Uncomfortable, unsupportive seats, simply awful handling, and a car that does absolutely nothing better than a Chevrolet did in 1949. If it had not been the beneficiary of years of styling leadership and competent engineering and assembly (and the largest dealer network in the world) – and, to be fair, numerous unforced errors by the competition – this car would have been a middling seller, at best. A lot of people bought Chevys in 1959 for the same reason a lot of people buy Toyotas now.
The white blob is a better car in every way than the red 59. Every. Single. Way. OK, other than completely lacking in personality. I would drive the white blob (and would be comfortable in decent a/c and OK seats) but would prefer something by the competition. I would not drive the 59 Chevy so long as there was a comparable 59 Mopar available.
The ability of each, when new, to invoke wildly negative feelings from the older folks who long for an earlier era.
I’m an old man but living in Southern California means no clouds so I just stand on my porch and yell in general .
(damned kids) .
” and a car that does absolutely nothing better than a Chevrolet did in 1949″ ~ well, with any engine it accelerated *much* faster than did any 1949 Chevy….
Those who now love these cars are too young to remember when they were just used cars and nearly impossible to sell due to the wild bat wing styling that to – day’s hipsters love so much .
Yes, these were crappy cars, poorly designed and indifferently built quality wise, yes any Chry.-Co “Forward Look” car was vastly better unless it was one of the many that had abysmal initial build quality….
I’m a ‘Bow Tie Guy’ so the wretched ’50 & ’60 Chevies get a pass from me but I have zero illusions to how good/bad they are .
In fact, I ~ HEY YOU KIDS ! GET OFF MY LAWN ! .
Parents had a ’59 Chevy wagon 6 cylinder. Engine blew up at 35,000 miles mid road trip. My ’17 Cruze has a reputation for losing pistons at low mileage. Some things don’t change that much I guess, hit-n-miss GM durability/reliability being one thing.
The Cruze has similar accomodations for 4 passengers or fewer. Goes at least twice as far on a gallon of fuel and twice as quickly to 60 mph. Far, far more likely to survive a crash. Way more secure at speed on curves and stopping short. Some things have improved a lot.
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