Even lowered to within an inch of its life, partially stripped and rusting slowly outside a small Tokyo garage, stuck next to a pile of tyres and a ravaged Nissan 200SX, there’s something otherworldly about a ’59 Chevrolet – especially in wagon form.
This thing has been modified a lot, so I’m kind of guesstimating the Parkwood denomination here. But the big chrome side-spear computes, and it looks like there’s no third seat in the cargo area. I say “Looks like” because it’s not easy to tell…
That cargo area was quite full of various things, so perhaps a set could exist in there somewhere. But it looks like this is a six-seater. I love the shape of that third window, with that reverse pre-Hofmeister kink up there. That particular design feature immediately reminded of the Lancia wagon I wrote up a couple years back. It had a similar thing, only they put a little Lancia shield up there. Chevy could have fit a bowtie there. Pity nobody thought of that. Too busy adding trowels of chrome to the rest of the car, I suppose.
Everyone (myself included) has ranted and raved about the beady-eyed bat-winged horror show that is the ’59 Chevy’s rear end. But let’s not forget how odd the front end is too. This example, whose hood was cleaned of many chrome trinkets, shows this in an even starker way than a fully stock car would.
Those eyebrows set atop the quad headlamps give that car a sort of “permanently stunned” face; that reminds me of those botched facelifts that leave people without the ability to frown. Of course, it also echoes the rear end in a way, with this sort of horizontal fin theme, but it looks worried or surprised, not batwing crazy.
Mind you, when these were on the production line, I guess the front end looked straight into the nefarious cat’s eyes of the rear end of the car that preceded it. That’ll permanently stun you.
Not a single door card in the whole wagon. Mind you, that instructs us as to the car’s original colour, which is interesting. That lamentable floor shifter has one merit: the handle is shaped like a Christian icon. Cue the old classic: “I don’t care whether it rains or freezes / As long as I got my Plastic Jesus…” I wonder if the present owner of this car knows this quintessential page of the American songbook.
I had no idea Chevrolet referred to their 1959 styling as their “new Slimline design” until I found this advert, but I suppose if you compare these to the ’58s, they do look somewhat trimmer. Everything is relative though, and these ‘59s are beer-bellied mastodons under their relatively dainty and airy greenhouse.
I really hope someone is going to give this sad-looking Chevy the TLC it desperately needs to get going again. Nothing sadder than a nearly complete and relatively rare (in these climes anyway) classic going to seed. This one looks like it’s been sitting here a couple seasons at least, so it’s about time to relocate it indoors.
Here’s hoping the coming year brings this wagon a tasteful restoration. One can always hope for the best, no matter how unlikely it may be. And I might use this opportunity to wish all of the CCommunity my best wishes, however bleak present circumstances may be, for this holiday season. See you in the New Year!
Museum Classic: 1959 Chevrolet Impala Sport Coupe – The Chevy Horror Picture Show, by T87
Curbside Classic: 1959 Chevrolet Biscayne – The Original Art Car, by PN
Cohort Outtake: 1959 Chevrolet Biscayne – Bat Wings for Cheapskates, by PN
Curbside Classic: 1959 Chevrolet Impala- Holy Batwing Die Cast Dreams, by Laurence Jones
Cohort Outtake; 1959 Chevrolet Parkwood Wagon – Lots of Woods, But No Woodie, by PN
CC Capsule: 1959 Chev El Camino – Been Here A While, by JohnH875
Curbside Classic: 1959 Chevy El Camino- Unrestrained Exuberance, by David Skinner
Curbside Classic: 1959 Chevrolet El Camino – I Have Seen Many Strange And Amazing Things In America, by PN
Wowzers, that’s a fine wagon going to waste. I must admit I’m a fan of the 59 Chevy.
I’m not sure if TLC is what this example needs, I was thinking of some stern correction:
Awright soldier, straighten up and get off the ground! Git some door handles and cards, on the double!
The spoiler on the Nissan makes it into an echo of the ’59s rear.
Low rider or gravity? The color choice indicates the former.
I’m not really a fan of the tri-fives or even the ’58 but oh yes, give me a ’59! I always thought the eyebrows were the 2nd coolest feature on these next to the rear end….
Yes and no. It bothers me to no end, that it seems there haven’t been a single 59, new or restored, with trim on those lining up properly or at least just crooked in a promising way to maybe look right from some possble or impossible angle. Looks kind of bashed straight from the production line.
Apart from that it’s a positively bizzare sculpture I sure do enjoy looking at.
Bizzare by Chevrolet I kinda like them and this could be a good one again without much work, 3 speed manual was the only way they came here 283 was the engine choice and no wagons unless specially ordered, of course there are plenty of them here now used imports over the last 60 years have built the numbers up.
SO FINE 1959! They are all cool!
I like the ad “The Brookwood, 2-door, 6 passenger. Also, a four-door.” Does it become a four-door by staring at it? Ah, the bad use of English merely to save a few words. The ’59’s certainly were a big change when they arrived.
Great point. I’m an advertising copywriter so this kind of stuff really sticks out to me. They could have said: “Also available as a 4-door.” That would’ve taken up about the same amount of space as: “Also, a 4-door Brookwood.” Weird.
Change the green to a middle-tone brown and that was the first Paczolt family station wagon, my mother’s ‘first’ car (since she got married in 48), and the first time the Paczolt garage had two cars in it.
Lots of memories from that car, ages 8-9. For 1960, I noticed that the replacement wagon was whatever they called the Impala-level model that year, with a lot more options, and especially a power tailgate window.
Makes me wonder if that ’59 wasn’t just something dad pulled from dealer stock, where, from that point on, all wagons were ordered. And wagons were a standard feature of the family driveway, the last one being the ’86 Buick Century Estate Wagon that I inherited from mom.
Our first wagon was a ’59 Brookwood. Dad wanted a two door in fear that we would open a rear door in motion and fall out. Childhood nostalgia perhaps, but I always liked the ’59, not only for the taillights and fins, but the “cockpit” dash as well. The toned down ’60 has always left me cold. Rear went from soaring to geometric shapes that did not go together.
To me, the ‘59 front was too fussy and the ‘60 rear was a let-down compared to the’59″. It probably wouldn’t be easy to assemble, but I’d like to see a ‘59 body with a ‘60 front clip.
I think the front clip of a 60 would bolt right on. But the body lines may not line up. I am sure the structure underneath is the same.
If you have a low rider, you have to have that type of air freshener.
None other than Dinah Shore sang about the fresh ‘n fine slimline 1959 Chevy!
Perhaps it is because my dad bought a new el-strippo 4 dr ’60 Biscayne, 3 on the tree 6; that I’ve always considered the ’59 Chevys as a nicer looking (relatively) design than the FUGHLEE 1960 Chevrolets!
Neither year provides a high water mark of GM Design, but given what the other GM vehicles of those 2 years (and the hideous, jukebox on wheels 58s…) all look like; a clean ’59 Impala 2 door hardtop can be ok…..batwings and all! :):) Just one retired Industrial Designer’s oh-pin-yunn! Of course, I drove a slightly modified ’56 Chevy 150 2 door sedan for 20 years, therefore…what do I know??? 🙂 DFO
IMHO the 1960 redesign was an improvement in all respects. The clownish excess of the 1959 was removed, leaving a tasteful, attractive and elegant vehicle.
Not everyone may agree, of course. I also thought the ‘56 was an improvement over the ‘55.
I wonder if they shaved the door handles, then realized they no longer had a way in.
I think the ’59 design only makes sense next to the ’58. “We’ll show that Exner guy a thing or two. We’ll go low and wide!” Anything to not look “cab forward”.
Sincere question: if one wanted to ship this, say Tokyo-to-LA, and had a friend getting it to the ship for loading, what kind of $$$$ is involved in doing this in non-scary ways?
[I know it’s not for sale, and I’m not buying—but have wondered about such things.]
I always considered the front end to have an open faced look, one of welcoming and friendliness. However I can see how it could appear like a deer in the headlights look also.
One of my few memories from kindergarten (memories are few to accumulate until we are 6-7 years old) was walking or riding my tricycle by my neighbour’s house where his 2 door was parked in the back, with its tail visible from the sidewalk. I loved those taillights, and that I got a ride in the car a few times and got to sit in back with the cute little granddaughter was a bonus.
I think this one should be dedicated to the photographer. The green one shown looks stunning, i’d love one. And I’m a dyed in the wool, anti-GM fanatic. But look at the ad copy, done I’m sure with the best photographers and editors of the time, and I’d be calling Pick and Pull in the morning.