During 1957 the US automotive industry sold 6,113,344 passenger cars and more than one million trucks and buses. Nash and Hudson were in their last year: American Motors discontinued these marque names and concentrated on Ramblers.
Plymouth delivered their 10-millionth car, Ford their three-millionth Mercury. Chrysler Corporation's 1957 cars (Chrysler, DeSoto, Dodge, Imperial, Plymouth) featured torsion bar front suspension and Plymouth nine-passenger station wagons had a rear-facing third seat.
Most cars now had 14-inch wheels instead of 15-inch which had been customary since the 1940s. fuel injection engines were available from Chevrolet and Pontiac and several makes offered dual headlights. Ford introduced their Skyliner with retractable metal convertible top. A speedometer buzzer which sounded when a pre-set speed was reached was another new feature for 1957. On the subject of speed, the AMA adopted a resolution to exclude speed and racing from members' automotive publicity.
You Bet Your Life: "Go to see your nearest
DeSoto-Plymouth dealer and tell him Groucho sent you". Then, as now, automobile manufacturers would sponsor television shows to promote their products. The clip featured here shows Groucho in fine form.
American Motors Last Stand
American Motors Corporation presiden George Romney shocked the AMC shareholders in mid September by telling them that the firm would not survive unless it made a profit in 1958. Romey said that American Motors had lost money in 1956, and would do so again in 1957. A fortnight after Romneys warning the firm announced its plans for a last ditch standd. Nash and Hudson were finished, and the only American Motors car would be the Rambler. Amoung their 1958 range, it was announced that there would be a new entry into the lower middle price bracket - the Rambler Ambassador V8, but this too would be a new "compact".
Buick Series 60 Century Riviera Hardtop Coupe, Model 66R,. was one of four models in this range. It had a 300-bhp V8 engine with
10:1 compression ratio (8·5 optional). Larger panoramic windscreen, three-piece rear windows, restyled front and rear end and new chassis were among 1957 features. Series 50 Super and 70 Roadmaster had the same engine. Series 40 Special had same CID but lower output. Dynaflow was optional on Specials, standard on others.
Cadillac Series 60 Special Fleetwood Sedan, Model 6039, featured Hardtop four-door bodywork on tubular-centre X-frame. Included was power-assisted steering and brakes, power operated windows and front seat. It was fitted with a 6-litre 279-bhp V8 engine with Hydra-Matic transmission.
Cadillac introduced the limited-production luxurious Eldorado Brougham model, with air suspension as standard equipment. The Brougham, which had four headlights, was 55½ inches high and 216 inches long. The 325-bhp engine had dual four-barrel carburettors and 10:1 compression ratio. The roof mouldings and fender skirts were made from stainless steel.
The Chevrolet 1957 models had new front and rear end styling and many other modifications. The wheel size was reduced from 15 to 14 inch. Pictured left is the Series 2400 Bel Air Sport Coupe (hardtop), Model 2454. There was also a four-door Hardtop, Several 'power trains' were available. Corvettes, which retained their 15-inch wheels, were similar externally to the 1956 models but available with five V8 engines, ranging from 220 to 283 bhp, including two with fuel injection.
Chrysler offered four series for 1957, all with V8 engines and 126-inch wheelbase: There was the Windsor C-75-1 (285-bhp 354 CID), Saratoga C-75-2 (295-bhp 354 CID), New Yorker C-76 (325-bhp 392 CID) and 300C C-76-300 (375-bhp 392 CID). The Saratoga four-door Hardtop was made with either single or dual headlights.
The famed Torque Flite 3-speed automatic transmission, Torsion - Aire front suspension, and compound curved windshields heralded the introduction of the 1957 Chryslers. The number of Chrysler series was consolidated so that Chrysler now offered the Windsor, Saratoga, New Yorker, and 300C. A new air conditioner featured the "reheat principle".
Continental, the elite car of Ford's Lincoln-Mercury Division, was not much different from the 1956 offering. After 1957 Continental became the top model of the Lincoln line, rather than a separate marque.
The DeSoto Diplomat was available with Six (SP-30, SP-30X) and V8 (SP-31, SP-31 X) engines ranging from 132 to 235 bhp. overdrive and PowerFlite automatic transmissions were optional (TorqueFlite only on Diplomat Custom V8). Basically they were 118-inch wheelbase Plymouths. The Diplomat Station Wagons had a 122-inch wheelbase.
1957 Dodge models featured Torsion-Aire front suspension with torsion bars. 14-inch wheels allowed bigger tyres than the previous 15-inch. Available were Coronet 0-66, Royal 0-67-1 and Custom Royal 0-67 -2 models as well as Suburban and Sierra 0-70 and Custom Sierra 0-71 station wagons, all with V8 Red Ram engines. Sixes comprised Coronet and Coronet Custom 0-72-1 and -2 models. All had 122-inch wheelbase.
There were three passenger car series for Ford in 1957: Fairlane (incl Fairlane 500). Custom (incl Custom 300) and Station Wagons. In addition there were the Custom Ranchero Pickup and Courier Sedan Delivery, and of course the T-birds. Four engines were available: the 223 CID Mileage Maker Six (144-bhp) and 272, 292 and 312 V8s (up to 245-bhp). Fairlanes had 118-inch wheelbase, others 116-in. Custom and Custom 300 replaced earlier Mainline and Customline resp. All models had 14-in wheels with 7·50 or 8·00-14 tyres.
The Ford Fairlane 500 Country Sedan 79C was very popular and it was claimed it helped Ford to sell more station wagons than all other auto makers together. There were five models, as well as two-door Ranch Wagons.
The Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner Retractable Hardtop Model 51A was new and cost almost $3000. The top could be retracted automatically into the luggage compartment. For this purpose the boot (deck) lid was rear-hinged.
The Ford Thunderbird had a new front bumper and other less eye-catching changes. Engine options were 292 and 312 CID V8s of 212 and 245 bhp. The wheelbase was 102 inches.
The Hudson Hornet four-door Sedan was powered by American Motors new V8 engine (255 bhp, 327 CID, compression ratio 9·0:1). It was one of the last Hudsons. After the 1957 model year AMC concentrated on the production of the smaller Rambler models.
1957 Imperial models had new bodywork with compound curved windscreen and curved side windows. Either single or dual headlights could
be fitted. There were three series: IM1-1 Imperial, IM1-2 Imperial Crown and IM1-4 Imperial LeBaron, all with 129-inch wheelbase, 325-bhp 329 CID V8 engine, TorqueFlite transmission, power brakes and power steering.
Pictured left is the Lincoln LD-57B Premiere Landau Pillarless Sedan. Other Premieres were 58B Sedan,
60B Hardtop and 76B Convertible Coupes. The Capri range comprised the 58A Sedan, 57A Pillarless
Sedan and 60A Hardtop Coupe. Lincoln also produced the ultra-luxurious Continental, all had 300-bhp V8's and Turbo Drive transmission.
Mercury offered three entirely new series: Monterey (pictured left), Montclair and Station Wagons. 255-bhp 5·1-litre Safety Surge and 290-bhp 6-litre Turnpike Cruiser V8 (Lincoln) engines were available. Bodywork was exclusive to Mercury for the first time, rather than based on other Ford bodyshells.
Meteor continued as a Canadian-built adaptation of the US Ford Model, which closely resembled the Ford Fairlane Hardtop.
The Nash Ambassador V8 Series was the only Nash line for 1957, and the last. Henceforth only Rambler cars were made. Pictured left is the Ambassador Custom four-door Sedan. Also available was a two-door Hardtop, as well as Super variants of both.
Many styling changes were introduced for the Oldsmobiles of 1957, including sculptured rear fenders and twin-strut (three-piece) rear windows. The 371 CID Rocket V8 developed 277 bhp. In January the J-2 Rocket engine with three dual carburettors was introduced. It could develop 300 bhp or more. An engineering 'first' was the printed electric circuit for the instrument cluster.
The Oldsmobile Super 88 Holiday Coupe, the image at left clearly showing the three-piece rear window lay-out which was also a feature of Olds' British GM cousins, the Vauxhall PA Series Velox and Cresta.
The Packard had now become a 'Packardized' Studebaker and only two models were offered: 57 L-Y Clipper Town Sedan and 57L-P Clipper Country Sedan (station wagon). The engine was a 275-bhp 289 CID V8. Most had Studebaker's Flightomatic transmission but three-speed manual with Warner overdrive was available if desired.
Plymouth P-31-3 Belvedere Sedan had 301 CID V8 of 215 or 235 bhp, or, as P-30-3, a 230 CID L-head Six of 132-bhp rating. Plazas, Savoys and Belvederes had 118-inch wheelbase, while Suburbans (wagons)
had a 122-in wb. TorqueFlite automatic transmission was available at extra cost. Over 600,000 Plymouths were produced in 1957, including the 10-millionth.
Plymouth sedans were popular for police and taxicab use in many American cities. Pictured left is a Savoy operated by Fleetway Cabs of Baltimore. It was powered by a British Perkins P4(C) 4-cyl. diesel engine.
Pontiac Series 28 Star Chief Custom Catalina Hardtop Sedan was one of five body styles available in this 124-in wb top-line range. Star Flight exterior styling was available in 68 colour combinations. All Series 27 models (Chieftain, Super Chief and Star Chief) had 122-inch wheelbase. Wheel size was down from 15 to 14 in.
1957 Rambler range comprised Six and V8 models, all on 108-in wheelbase. Pictured left is a Custom V8 four-door Sedan. Model 5725-2. Of the 118,990 cars built by American Motors in 1957, 114.084 were Ramblers, the rest were (the last) Hudsons and Nashes. Included in the Ramblers were 1500 high-performance Rebel four-door Custom Hardtops. These had AM's new 255-bhp 327 CID V8 and silver paint finish with gold-anodized 'spears' (side flashes).
For 1957 Studebaker offered the 57G Champion, 57B Commander and 57H President and Golden Hawk Series. The President Classic Sedan (pictured left), which was also available as a Packard was Studebaker's lead model and had a 225-bhp V8 and Twin-Traction limited-slip differential. For the first time there were four-door Station Wagons, namely the Provincial (57B and H) and Broadmoor (57H). The Pelham
(57G) and Parkview (57B and H) two-door wagons were continued.
The Studebaker Golden Hawk Model 57H-K7 was top-line sports-type five-seater Hardtop, only 56 inches high but 17 feet long. It had a 275-bhp 289 CID V8 power plant with centrifugal type McCulloch supercharger. Also available were Silver Hawks, with Six and V8 engines (578, G and H). All had 120½-inch wheelbase.
Willys supplied Universal and other Jeep vehicles to civilian customers and governments all over the world. Many were produced or assembled overseas. Typical of the Universal range was the Model CJ6 long-wheelbase (101 in) variant of the CJ5. In military guise it saw service as a field ambulance (MDA: Truck ¼-ton, 4x 4. Ambulance. Front Line. M170). The CJ6 was first announced in November 1955.