So was this the ultimate pickup-mobile of 1959?
I think Chrysler thought this idea was going to take over the car market, as they advertised it heavily in every 1959 line, even Plymouth. But no, as I think it was an option with a really low installation rate and was gone after 1961 (in Chryslers and Imperials, and maybe earlier in Plymouths and Dodges).
It always seemed to me like an awkward way to get in and out of a car. But then I have never been in the habit of wearing pencil skirts. I don’t think it sold a lot better when GM brought it back in the 1973 Colonnade coupes.
Reading the ad copy, I’m not sure I ever knew that they offered a load-leveling suspension on these cars. I don’t remember that feature from the 59 Plymouth brochures I studied, but maybe Plymouth didn’t get that feature.
It was possible to have a mechanic adjust the torsion bars for ride height. Perhaps that was the “load leveling” feature?
I have the Consumer Reports Annual Auto Issue for 1959. What’s interesting is that the magazine specifically noted the improvements made to the 1959 Mopars to improve their structural rigidity.
The roofline of that Dodge four-door hardtop also looks as though it had been restyled to increase rear-seat headroom, as compared to the sleeker 1957-58 cars.
Is that woman skinny enough?
“Please come in and eat something, for the love of God!”
Is the girl in the pink dress supposed to be his daughter? Picking her up after school or a shopping trip? A day at the track? What is she carrying, a new hat in that box?
I like the red seats in that black car. A nice colour combination.
As far as the ad copy – “much more to see and discover…” Highly suggestive. “Unusual comfort and support.” That will be helpful.
For our purposes today, we’ll assume that’s his daughter. Otherwise the whole thing comes off a more than a little creepy.
Is that Leno behind the wheel?!
International Blvd. (east 14th), Oakland, 1959…
I think she’s just carrying one of those big furry Russian hats.
Hard to predict fashion, and she took a chance.
Maybe the blonde is his wife, and they’re the same age.
After all, we don’t see her face, and as for the hair…
DeSoto had some good swivel seat ads too:
Not just for ladies… pets liked swivel seats too!
“Bless De Soto for making seats that let you step out like a lady!”
“Being a woman, you’ll appreciate De Soto interiors”
Wouldn’t want to be un-ladylike and have to step out of a normal car seat, you know? I somehow doubt anyone with two X chromosomes (save for the model) worked on this ad. Given Mopar’s quick discontinuance of this feature, evidently women wanted swiveling seats about as much as they wanted a Dodge La Femme.
Swivel seats were featured in the 1959 Chryco Russian – language brochure that was distributed at the 1959 US National Exhibition, held in Moscow’s Sokolniki Park in the summer of 1959:
I have never driven it ridden in a car with swivel seats. Did they firmly snap into place? Or did they move around a little while moving? I can imagine that causes nausea. I can imagine that swivel seats and airbags would not have worked well together.
I had these seats in a ’59 Imperial. They locked in place quite firmly. You had to pull a handle to release the swivel mechanism to use them entering or exiting the car. I believe the feature was modified for the ’60 model year so that they’d unlatch automatically when the door was opened.
I was young when I owned the Imperial as a cheap old beater. I never saw the point of swivel seats. I never used them except to show off the feature to equally young passengers who also saw them as neat but useless.
If I was old, I might have thought differently. Chryslers of this era with the old straight ladder frames had exceptionally low seats – even for the time. Once Chrysler products got floor wells, I think that may have undercut the rationale for the swivel seat.
I occasionally rode to middle school in a colonnade Monte Carlo with the swivel seats. I used them out of novelty but the extra step of having to unlatch them and then turn them to the side meant they didn’t make it much more convenient to get in or out of the car.
Chrysler did make a vehicle with swivel seats much more recently – the optional Swivel-‘n’-Go seats for the first few years of their fifth-generation minivans. But these were the second row rather than the front, and were really more about being able to face rearward (complete with table between 2nd and 3rd rows) than getting in and out of the van. The Toyota Previa offered similar swiveling seats, minus the table.
I also thought about the ’67-’68 Imperials with the rare Mobile Director option, which gave you a swiveling front passenger seat that could face the rear seat, again with a fold-out table between them. Weird thing is that these couldn’t be used to ease entry or exit, because they changed from front-facing to rear-facing by swiveling 180° anti-clockwise, facing the inside rather than the outside of the car.
LOL swivelling seats, Toyota made one that lifts you in from the ground available on JDM Estimas, mate of mine got one for transporting his wheelchair bound father.
I just realized that the Dodge in the first image is a four-door.
Up until now I’m not sure I’ve ever seen (or noticed) Chrysler Corporation’s swivel seats in anything but two-doors (including convertibles).
Presumably the swivel seats also made it easier to get into the back seat of two-doors. At least that’s what I recall from when the GM Colonnades had them in the ‘70s: Working the elementary school carpool line as a sixth-grader, I still remember seeing the swivel seats in a burgundy-over-white Cutlass Supreme two-door, and watching the beautiful redheaded girl in my class emerge from the back seat with her younger sister. The family’s other car was a black Electra 225 four-door, but that’s a story for another time.
There’s a good illustration of how it works in this clip. The owner says “At my age it’s handy”, which really makes more sense than the youthful image in the ad.
I gotta stand up for the premature grey guys out there. As someone who was all snow by
25, maybe he is just “distinguished”. My wife and I got a lot of dirty looks and comments 25
Years ago when we started dating, she looked younger than she was, I looked well
Seasoned to put it charitably.
Snow on the mountain but still a fire in the furnace?
My wife and I started when I was 19 and she 17.
Now she’s 48 and looks 35, and In am 50 and look every damn bit of it.
Won the hair gene lottery though. Still have all of it which is good because my big round Polish head will look like a blob of cottage cheese when I lose my hair.
This seemed to be the beginning of Chrysler offering above average standard and optional seating. Options on a Plymouth were generally more abundant than a Chevy, and the standard seat in a given Chrysler trim usually exceeded it’s Oldsmobile or Buick competition.
You didn’t get a standard split seat with passenger recliner on the equivalent GM product, even a Cadillac for that matter….
The Tagline “The Newest of Everything Great! The Greatest of Everything New!” reminds me of Bruce McCall’s National Lampoon ’58 BULGEMOBILES story:
“Too Great Not To Be Changed!
Too Changed Not To Be Great!”
“So All-Fired New They Make Tomorrow Seem Like Yesterday!”
Can’t help smiling every time someone posts this!
I can’t remember if it was Dodge, or Desoto that had the line in their commercials, ….
“Seats that swing out to meet you, Swing in to seat you”.
Did the Dart Swinger offer these? 🙂
In 1973 I had a workmate who was given his Auntie Ruth’s 1959 Plymouth Fury two door hard top, it had these swing out seats and a plaque on the dashboard mentioning the car had been specially built for her .
It had a *very* peppy V8, I don’t remember what size but if you goosed it, it picked up it’s skits and ran like a gazelle .
I can only imagine the frenzy the Russians had at the American decadence of seats like these .
One way to cope with the intrusion from the wrapround screen pillar……
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