I can’t ever remember seeing one of these, so maybe it didn’t catch on all that well.
Here’s how one looked in real life:
$308 in today’s money.
Scottie Newstead has one equiped – see Cold War motors in Alberta
No, Scott’s Chevy has real Cadillac fins and tail lights that were installed by welding and leading them on the old fashioned way. It’s a slick installation and really sets the car apart from other similar early 50s Chevy Hardtops. He bought the car that way and estimates the work was probably done in the 1950s.
The accompanying photo is a reminder that young people used to be an important demographic in the new car market. Young people still attach…interesting things to their cars, but now they’re attaching them to cars that are heavily depreciated.
I miss auto accessories like this. “Make your two year old car look like new!”, or “Make your Chevy look like a Cadillac!” with our stick-on fins. A few years later there were lots of four-headlight conversion kits to give your 1957 car that 1958 look.
As you know, that’s what Packard/Studebaker did. The stuck another headlight on each 1957 fender, when they realized 1958 was the year of four headlights. The “Packards” also had and extra fin, on top of a fin.
The ’58 Studebakers (lucky Scotsman excepted) also had stick-on fins, as did some Hawks in 1956 and all Hawks from 57-61. The 58 Packard also had some fiberglass add-ons in front to help create the fish-mouth grille.
Most of the aftermarket quad headlamp conversions for Fords and Chevys looked better than Studebaker/Packard’s OEM setup.
There was some circa-1954 car that had factory stick-on fins too IIRC, chromey ones. Thinking Mopar or AMC but can’t remember which one.
That sounds like the Aussie Chrysler Royal AP2.
I was wondering if someone was going to mention the Royal; those tacked-on fins are a real disfigurement. That said, how really different are they to the US 1958 Dodge? Its fins look almost as tacky, almost as thrown-on.
The subsequent AP3 Royal was a hundred per cent better at the rear, with intentional/integral fins and triple taillights adapted from the 1959 DeSoto. Had a well-done quad stacked headlamp design up front, too.
I was thinking the 1957 Hudson i think – not as bad as that Dodge but still obviously an afterthought:
Were these steel made?
The ones from Warshawsky and Co./JC Whitney catalogs were potmetal AFAIK.
Believe one would then braze them into place.
These were cast aluminum with poor quality trim pieces that quickly rusted. Red part was only a reflector, no inside area to put a bulb. These mounted using 4 bolts that fit down between fender and body seam.
They were boxed one to a box, but sold as pairs. I was in the vintage parts business until retiring about 20 years ago, and over about 30 years I’ve had 2 sets in the original boxes.
I did not have these on my 1952 Chevrolet. I spent my money on gasoline.
The owner of the one in the picture seems to have avoided your dilemma by buying fuel in bulk.
Those fins look like a thumb that has just been struck by a hammer.
Youtuber ‘Cold War Motors’ has an old Chevy with something much like these, on his lot. Is featured in some older videos but hasn’t worked on it lately.
WHOA! Gotta get these! I already bought blue glass discs with metal wires that hold them to my circular taillights. Now, when I stop, the cars behind me see purple brake lights. Now, if you will excuse me, I have to write out my check and send it for a set of these “Finlandias” or is it “Finliners?”
I have a couple 1960s “Mons-turn” turn signal unit that mount on the back package deck, inside the rear window area. The Mons-Turn has a creepy, fanged, Dracula type figure, from the waist up. His arms raise up when power is applied to the unit.
When the brakes are applied, the arms raise up, and a small red light in each hand lights up! If the turn signal is selected, the arms raise up, but only the one turn signal lamp lights up. [Just like regular brake lights & turn signal lights]
I want to put at least one Mons-Turn into one of my vintage cars. My problem is the cars I have are either so old they don’t have a package shelf, or they are 6 volts, or they are convertibles. The only 12 volt car I have with a package shelf is my Tatra, but it’s got a split rear window like a “’63 vette!
I’m reminded of the stuffed furry kitty-cat doll named “Winky” that you installed on the package shelf where it performed as an auxiliary brake light and turn signal. The cat had white fur and its head bobbed up and down IIRC. The eyes were red lights and each eye winked on and off acting as turn indicators. Both eyes came on when you hit the brakes.
Besides blocking the rear view I always thought that for a following driver to see it they would have to be following too close anyway. Add the distraction of looking at a toy cat and I’ll bet “Winky” caused as many accidents as he/she helped prevent.
There has to be a statistical analysis somewhere. Some graduate student of probability or psychology or anthropology must have written a thesis on this. Some CC reader surely has done this.
I have a soft spot for Hokum like this. Among my motley collection of stuff is a genuine mint in the box “Spark Master”. It plugs into either end of the coil wire It looks like its made of Bakelite. They aren’t rare and show up on ebay all the time. Not sure what it is supposed to do. There are no claims made on the box. If anyone knows please weigh in…
I’m not sure about that particular one but the general idea of these inline spark boosters is that they have an air gap in them that causes a higher voltage to be required to jump that gap resulting in a higher voltage at the plug gap. In theory that could help prevent fouling but could also cause a miss as more voltage is required than the coil can produce.
Are there suitable bulbs in a 6v version? Is that a lens over a white bulb? Even if there isn’t a 6v bulb if it is in a lens maybe a carefully selected LED with the appropriate resistor for 12v operation could be made.
How are the arms actuated? It would probably be worth giving it a try with 6v to see if they will still raise. Or maybe you could add a spring to give it a little help. Another option would be to retrofit a stronger 12v solenoid to give the required power when operated on 6v.
I can understand not wanting to modify a vintage piece but depending on how it is made you may be able to refit the original components. Plus with two I know I’d feel better about modifying one of them.
Seems a shame to just have two of them sitting on a (non package) shelf.
Blue Dots! I always thought they looked great and actually different enough that they caught my attention quickly when following a car so equipped.
I realize the point of the tail light ” bump ” was to emulate Cadillac’s fins, but the amateur stylist in me says these might have looked better if the bump had started sooner and not been as abrupt (hard to explain, I wish I could put a drawing here).
From reading the ad a few times, I understand this to be entirely decorative? Just a tail light that is really just a reflector?
There are so many cars over the years that I thought had the ” wrong ” tail lights, I am surprised to see someone once marketed an accessory that embodied the same idea.
The ad seems to say that the fin houses the tail light, while the original Chevrolet lights served as brake lights and turn signals.
Now, if the fin were to have housed the tail light AND brake light, and yellow lenses were to be installed on the original lights as turn signals, we’d have had Euro lights, way, WAY long ago!
While the actual Europeans were still mostly using semaphore turn signals.
Looks like something out of a JC Whitney catalog.
That’s probably where they wound up.
Meatballism! These are referenced here, page 41, bottom:
I wonder what Harley Earl thought of these . . .
Reminds me of the tired jokes about cars that look like other cars.
2005 (and up) Chrysler 300: “Looks like a Bentley until a Bentley show up!”
2013 (and up) Fusion: “Looks like an Aston Martin until an Aston Martin show up!”
I never heard of these–and now I’ll watch for them in period photos. Here’s the San Bernardino County Sun, September 1949–a month earlier in the San Pedro paper (I’ll see if I can turn up the “Kontinental”):
Metalsmith, WWII Navy vet, & co-founder of United Marine in KC, who may well have made these herself: https://www.legacy.com/us/obituaries/kansascity/name/jane-siebert-obituary?n=jane-siebert&pid=19285760
Nice work George.
With flush mounted, body color, factory Chevy tail light covers; this add on would had looked SO much better.
These must have been decorative only, looking at the photograph there appears to be
taillights next to the left and right corners of the trunk lid. Apparently the fins covered the original tail lights and they were relocated.
Actually, the inboard taillights are stock for 1949-50 Chevys. In 1951, the taillights were relocated to the quarter panels.
The pictured car looks strange with both the Chevy and faux-Cadillac units, but this was necessary if the latter had no brake or turn signal function.
The details change with the times, but it appears that going for baroque never goes out of style.
Note the variety of wing-like accoutrements, most common these days on smaller cars, fender flares on pickup trucks (the most obvious modern descendants of Finliners), and the vast array of dubious decorative touches that afflict so many Jeeps.
I’m also recalling the grid-like light guards that were a major fad in the 90s.
My candidate for the most unuseless modification, which enable consumers to spend lots of money to make it more difficult for them to use their vehicles; scissor-hinge kits to give normal cars “Lambo” doors.
Adding I949 Cadillac tail lights to early 50s Chevys was a pretty accepted custom detail, or trope if you will. They would be incorporated into the rear fender using part to the Caddy sheetmetal and some lead. As someone pointed out you can find one on the Cold War Motors site. If it’s done right it looks good. As a bolt on it looks not so good.
This 1950 Chevrolet sedan sporting these aftermarket faux-Cadillac fin/taillights turned up for sale in Colorado on Craigslist during January 2021.
It looks like the factory tail lights may have been converted to back up lights?
Because of the softer/pastel color, the ” thumb hit by a hammer ” visual effect is not so noticeable.
With the fender skirts this makes the car look OLDER, but I guess if you car making a faux Cadillac out of a Chevrolet you don’t care that it looks like a (slightly) older Cadillac?
It looks more like a Henry J than a Cadillac.
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