The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

10 November 2005

Cruiserline Ventiports

That mouthful of Fifties populuxe jargon is, in fact, the official name for Buick portholes, which Donald Pittenger remembers fondly.

His larger point, though, is that General Motors has largely forgotten how to style its cars:

Back between 1930 and 1970, GM pretty much ruled that roost. However, in recent decades the company stumbled. By the early 1980s, cost-saving procedures resulted in a model lineup where it was hard to tell Chevrolets from Buicks, as was famously portrayed on a 1983 Fortune magazine cover. Since then, GM has tried hard to distinguish its brands, though not as successfully as it once did.

Cadillac, at least, has some distinct styling these days. But they'll never be able to explain how come four different brands (Chevy, Pontiac, Buick and Saturn) need a copy of the same indifferent minivan.

Posted at 6:23 AM to Driver's Seat

In Cadillac's case, there's a big difference between "distinctive" and "good". I hate those chisel noses. Remember, the Edsel was "dinstinctive", as is the Pontiac Aztek...

Posted by: hatless in hattiesburg at 9:03 PM on 10 November 2005

The Aztek was freaking ungainly: it looked like someone had bought a washer-dryer combo and was desperately trying to make a motor vehicle out of it. Its proportions were all wrong.

The Edsel might have been bearable had it not been (1) overpriced and (2) fitted with this giant chrome sissywhoha in front of its radiator. (The last Edsels, the '60s, had nice Pontiactual split grilles instead, but nobody bought them.)

I like most of the Caddys, but this might be mostly because they don't look like their corporate-sister Generic Motorcars. And you should keep in mind that I defend things like the bullet-nose 1950-51 Studebakers.

Posted by: CGHill at 9:16 PM on 10 November 2005