In mid-1949, GM’s senior divisions introduced a trio of glamorous new models — the Cadillac Coupe de Ville, the Oldsmobile Futuramic 98 Deluxe Holiday coupe, and the Buick Roadmaster Riviera — that are popularly, if incorrectly, considered the first pillarless hardtops. This week, we consider the origins of this quintessentially (though not uniquely) American body style and examine the development of the the 1949 Buick Roadmaster Riviera and the origins of the hardtop coupe.
THE UNCONVERTIBLE CONVERTIBLE
We generally believe that trying to definitively identify the first of anything in the automotive world is at best a perilous endeavor, but for those keeping score, honors for the earliest American pillarless hardtop may go to Dodge. Back in 1916, Dodge Brothers body engineer George E. Goddard filed for a design patent on a two-door sedan body with no B-pillars, although we don’t know if any such cars were actually built. In configuration, however, they would have been at least as deserving of the term hardtop as any number of sixties and seventies cars.
By “hardtop,” we mean a closed body (whether two-door, four-door, or wagon/estate) with a fixed roof and no B-pillars, often (though not necessarily) styled to look like a convertible with the top up. That sounds simple enough, but in practice, definitions can quickly become hazy. In the twenties, for example, bolt-on “California tops” became a popular aftermarket accessory for roadsters, the ancestors of the later detachable hardtop. Since the installation or removal of a California top was often cumbersome — a job for the dealer or at least a chauffeur — a fair number probably became more or less permanent features.
From there, it was a short step to the factory-built fixed-head rumble seat coupe, usually sharing its proportions and much of its sheet metal with the equivalent roadster or cabriolet, but sporting a permanent metal roof. Some carried the convertible resemblance even further by adding decorative landau irons and cloth or leatherette roof coverings.
Technically, many such models would qualify as hardtops. Three-window fixed-head coupes didn’t really have B-pillars and in this era, the structural differences between a rumble seat coupe and a cabriolet were seldom vast. However, the cars weren’t really marketed that way. The sport coupe or rumble seat coupe was just one more body style in a list that might run to 15 or more, usually priced somewhere above the basic roadster (which generally lacked roll-up windows), but below a true convertible coupe. Three-window coupes of this kind usually sold in fairly modest numbers and for the most part were not particularly special. Most had disappeared by the outbreak of World War II, superseded by the club coupe or two-door sedan, which was less sporty, but didn’t consign rear passengers to a rumble seat in the rain.
Excepting the occasional coachbuilt one-off, prewar five-window club coupes rarely qualified as hardtops. Not only did they have B-pillars, all the roof posts were typically quite stout, a symbol of the body engineer’s ascendancy over the stylist. There were a few exceptions — Triumph briefly offered a sleek pillarless “Flow-free” two-door sedan body for its Gloria Six in 1935 and the Lincoln Continental Coupe was little more than a convertible with a fixed steel roof, although it was not pillarless — but the ascension of the five-window, four- to six-passenger pillarless hardtop coupe would have to wait until after the war.
TOWN, COUNTRY, AND TYPHOON
Starting in 1941, Chrysler offered a small number of attractive, wood-bodied Town & Country models, built (and originally suggested) by Pennsylvania’s Boyertown Bodyworks. The earliest Town & Countries were estates, akin to Packard’s postwar Station Sedan, riding either a Chrysler Royal or Windsor chassis. Around 2,000 were built before the end of civilian production in early 1942.
Shortly after the war, Chrysler president David A. Wallace decided to expand the Town & Country line with a much broader range of body styles, presumably as traffic builders for dealers. The wood-bodied cars were pricey and maintenance-intensive, but in showroom condition, they were lovely conversation pieces. Chrysler’s Art & Colour Section, then headed by Henry King, quickly turned out renderings of five new Town & Country models: a four-door sedan, a two-door brougham, a roadster, a two-door convertible, and a neat pillarless hardtop coupe, all apparently chosen at the instigation of Chrysler’s sales organization. According to stylist Arnott (“Buzz”) Grisinger, who worked on the project, the designs were done in such haste that there were none of the usual scale models or clays. Except for the roadster, aborted early on, the new bodies went directly to the full-size prototype stage.
Although Chrysler issued a sales brochure for the expanded Town & Country line in June 1946, the planned line extension was hastily scaled back. We assume high production costs had something to do with it, as did the recognition that the postwar sales boom was giving dealers all the traffic they could handle without a big investment in ‘halo’ cars. The Town & County sedan and convertible went into production, replacing the estate, but only a single brougham and seven hardtop prototypes were built. The brougham went nowhere and the hardtop would not go on sale until more than three years later.
On the other side of the pond, Britain’s Armstrong Siddeley Motors became one of the first manufacturers to launch all-new postwar models, announced in May 1945, immediately after V-E Day. The new models would be big, luxurious, six-cylinder cars, in the 16 HP (RAC taxable horsepower) bracket. For maximum publicity value, each would carry the name of a famous wartime military aircraft made by the Hawker Siddeley Group (which included aviation companies Hawker Siddeley, A.V. Roe, and Gloster), of which the automaker had been a division since 1935. The first of these was a two-door, four-passenger drophead coupe called Hurricane, which went into production in mid-November 1945. It was followed in February 1946 by a four-door sedan, the Lancaster.
Both the Hurricane and the Lancaster sold well considering their high prices, but by the early summer of 1946, orders for the saloon outpaced those of the drophead by a significant margin. The problem was that Mulliner, which supplied bodies for the Lancaster, was unable to increase its output in any economically viable manner. As a stopgap, Armstrong Siddeley’s experimental engineering department in Coventry decided to create a fixed-head coupe version of the Hurricane, trading its three-position folding top for a simple pillarless metal roof. Dubbed Typhoon Sports Saloon, the new hardtop went into regular production later that year. Despite its cost — £1,214 with purchase tax, some £63 more than the already-pricey Lancaster (and equivalent to nearly $5,000 at the contemporary exchange rate) — it was reasonably successful. More than 1,700 were produced before production ended in November 1949.
Since Armstrong Siddeley had no U.S. sales organization, no more than a handful of its 16/18 HP models was ever sold in the States and few Americans ever even saw a Typhoon unless they attended the Earls Court shows or subscribed to British journals like The Autocar and The Motor. The first postwar hardtop sold in America would come from a U.S. independent.
FROM CHRYSLER TO KAISER-FRAZER
By 1947, Buzz Grisinger and his colleague Herb Weissinger, both of whom had worked on the postwar Town & Countries, had departed Chrysler for Kaiser-Frazer, where their former boss, Bob Cadwallader (Chrysler’s exterior design chief from 1940 to 1944), was now chief stylist.
One of their early tasks was to create new image leaders for the Kaiser and Frazer lines. Joe Frazer and Edgar Kaiser favored a convertible, but the company’s limited capital meant that it had to be based on the existing four-door sedan. (Since it had never been intended as a convertible, K-F eventually spent around $5 million beefing up the sedan’s frame and body structure, which in retrospect was probably more than they would have spent on tooling a new two-door body.) Along with the four-door convertible, Cadwallader, Grisinger, and Weissinger also developed a four-door hardtop, the Virginian, by simply adding a permanent steel roof to the convertible. With a standard nylon roof covering, the hardtop was hard to distinguish from the convertible at a glance.
The convertible and hardtop made their press debut in January 1949 and went on sale shortly thereafter. Although the convertible was offered in both Kaiser and Frazer versions, the hardtop was for some reason offered only as a Kaiser, with a base price of just under $3,000. That was Cadillac money for a six-cylinder car (like all big Kaisers, the Virginian’s sole engine was the flathead Continental six) of limited prestige, so buyers were scarce. Fewer than 1,000 Virginians were built and sales were so slow that many 1949 cars were re-serialed and marketed as 1950 models. Even then, Kaiser ended the model year with more than 150 unsold cars — a commercial rout. Kaiser-Frazer may have been first, but the first successful postwar American hardtops would be GM’s.
GM’S POSTWAR DESIGNS AND THE BELATED ALL-NEW BUICK
Before we talk about the Roadmaster Riviera and the other GM hardtops, we should say a little about the origins of the 1949 Buick and how GM’s first postwar designs came about.
While some rivals, including Kaiser-Frazer and Studebaker, had introduced new cars for 1947, it was not until the middle of the 1948 model year that GM followed suit. Some modern historians have suggested that the delay was part of some grand strategy, allowing GM’s all-new 1948 and 1949 models to steal a match on their rivals just as the postwar boom ended, but the truth appears to have been more prosaic. Like other automakers, GM had lost many of its stylists and design engineers to the armed forces during the war and those who remained were obliged to devote the majority of their time to military work. After the war ended, GM was beset by raw materials shortages and labor issues, most prominently a UAW strike that began in November 1945 and lasted nearly four months.
As we’ve previously discussed, the all-new 1948 Cadillac was designed at stylist Frank Hershey’s farm during the UAW lockout and was heavily influenced by Hershey’s earlier “Cadillac C.O.” prototype and the Lockheed P-38 Lightning, which some of the designers had viewed before the war. Originally, the resultant design was to become the basis of the new corporate B-body shell, used for the smaller Cadillac Series 61, Oldsmobile Series 70, and Buick Special; a separate but stylistically similar C-body was to be developed afterward for the larger models. However, the protracted strike and other complications meant that getting even one all-new body ready in time for 1948 was going to be a tall order. The design therefore became the new C-body, which would be introduced by Cadillac and the senior Buick and Oldsmobile models. Oldsmobile and Buick’s B-body cars would retain the existing body shell for at least another model year.
If everything had gone according to plan, Buick would have had an all-new Super and Roadmaster for 1948, debuting around the same time as the 1948 Cadillacs and the new Oldsmobile Futuramic 98. However, Buick management had reservations about the new direction. Even without Cadillac’s fins, the 1948 C-body was a considerable departure from GM’s previous forties cars. For one, it was smaller — since it had been intended as the B-body, the new shell was shorter than the outgoing body in both wheelbase and overall length, the latter by up to 6 inches (152 mm). Glass area was more than 20% greater than before and the C-body also featured GM’s first curved two-piece windshield, still a novelty at the time. (Although Chrysler had pioneered the curved one-piece windshield on the CW Airflow Imperial Custom back in 1934, its cost had discouraged any imitators. When stylist Jules Andrade proposed the curved glass for the 1948 Cadillac, Harley Earl was initially skeptical that it was even feasible for mass production.) Meanwhile, the flowing front fender theme of the prewar body had given way to a rather slab-sided look, with a higher fender line running just below the beltline.
None of these features seems particularly noteworthy today, but for the postwar era, they were fairly radical moves, particularly for a division whose success hinged in large part on its image of dependable middle-class values. Although Buick was doing well in the forties, running comfortably ahead of both Oldsmobile and Pontiac, general manager Harlow Curtice had not forgotten the division’s brush with death in the early thirties, which he had been brought in to reverse. The existing prewar bodies, designed under the auspices of Buick studio chief Henry Lauve, had been very successful (indeed, they were be the styling target for Hudson’s 1948 “Stepdown” line) and Curtice was not eager to tamper with a winning formula.
Curtice was also unenthusiastic about the styling mockups for the all-new 1948 Buicks. Aside from the controversial features already described, the new Super and Roadmaster were to have a considerably softer front end treatment than had been the Buick norm, exacerbated by a rather vacant new grille with only nine ‘teeth’ rather than the previous 21. Nonetheless, time was short and development proceeded apace. By the spring of 1947, the new models were already being tooled for production, catalog illustrations had been prepared, and Buick stylists had moved on to the 1949 and 1950 models.
In mid-1947, Ned Nickles succeeded Henry Lauve as head of the Buick studio, at which point Harlow Curtice slammed on the brakes. According to stylist Richard Stout, the story around the office was that Curtice had had a disturbing dream that convinced him the new Buick would be a commercial disaster like the Chrysler Airflow. In response, Curtice ordered Nickles to redesign the hood and grille, even though it meant delaying production even more. As it was, the all-new Cadillac and Oldsmobile 98 didn’t arrive at dealers until March 1948 and the new Buick would be pushed back to the fall. In the meantime, the 1947 Super and Roadmaster would carry over for 1948. The only significant change would be the addition of the new Dynaflow torque converter automatic, optional on Roadmasters.
The all-new Buick Super and Roadmaster finally arrived late that year as 1949 models. Along with a revised grille and bolder hood, the big Buicks sported one more last-minute styling change: “VentiPorts,” decorative portholes in the front fenders. These were directly inspired by a gimmick Ned Nickles had added to his own 1948 Roadmaster convertible. Harlow Curtice was very taken with them and insisted on adding them to the 1949 models (except the Special, which didn’t get them until 1950). They would quickly become a Buick trademark.
At launch, the senior Buicks were offered in four body styles: a four-door sedan, the two-door fastback sedanet, a convertible, and the wood-bodied Estate Wagon. The most newsworthy addition, the new Riviera hardtop, would not arrive until later in the model year.
THE 1949 BUICK ROADMASTER RIVIERA, CADILLAC COUPE DE VILLE, AND OLDSMOBILE 98 HOLIDAY
Popular legend attributes GM’s hardtop coupes to Ed Ragsdale, who was Buick’s assistant chief engineer through most of the forties and became the division’s general manufacturing manager in 1949. In 1954, Ragsdale claimed that he suggested the concept to Harley Earl in 1947 following a conversation with Ragsdale’s wife Sarah, who loved convertibles, but always insisted on driving with the top up, lest the wind disturb her expensive coiffure.
In fact, the pillarless hardtop had been developed nearly two years earlier by Ned Nickles and Jules Andrade, then working in a separate special projects studio originally created to do development work for GM’s European subsidiaries. (It had been in that studio that Frank Hershey had conceived the first iteration of what became Cadillac’s famous tailfins, first seen on a 1944 Vauxhall concept.) According to Nickles, Ragsdale did see their model and remark that the hardtop roof would be perfect for his wife, but Ragsdale didn’t actually suggest the idea.
We’re not sure if Nickles and Andrade were influenced by either the Typhoon or the Town & Country Custom Club Coupe, although if Nickles was correct about the first models being built in 1945, we tend to doubt it. Harley Earl would almost certainly have been aware of both the Town & Country prototypes and the Armstrong Siddeley — he attended most of the major European auto shows and in those days, Detroit automakers typically had a good idea of what their rivals were doing. However, Nickles’ account suggests that the scale model was created before the Typhoon was even developed and before the apocryphal new Town & Country line was announced. In any case, the hardtop was a straightforward enough idea and it’s entirely possible that all three were conceived independently.
What really distinguished GM’s initial hardtops from earlier efforts like the Typhoon and Virginian was not their stylistic or conceptual novelty, but GM’s marketing approach. While the Town and Country coupe would have been just another body style (much like the prewar rumble seat sports coupes) and the Typhoon was an expedient improvisation, GM positioned its hardtop coupes as the image leaders of their respective lines. Each would be lavishly trimmed, have names intended to connote wealth and luxury, and carry prices to match.
Although we’ve been unable to pin down precise introduction dates (complicated by the fact that the cars were announced to the press months before production actually began), it appears that Buick’s hardtop was the first to go on sale, midway through the 1949 model year. Dubbed Riviera, it was offered only in the Roadmaster line, with a base price of $3,203. It was not the most expensive 1949 Buick — the woody Estate Wagon listed for over $500 more — but the Riviera was some $1,400 pricier than a Buick Special and $53 more than a Roadmaster convertible.
The Riviera was followed in short order by the Oldsmobile version, bearing the cumbersome moniker of Futuramic 98 Deluxe Holiday Coupe, and Cadillac’s entry, the Series 62 Coupe de Ville. For customers whose budgets couldn’t stretch that far, Chevrolet and Pontiac announced that they would soon have their own editions. While the Chevrolet Bel Air and Pontiac Catalina wouldn’t arrive until the 1950 model year, prototypes were shown to the press in the spring of 1949, around the time the senior hardtops went into production. GM evidently had little doubt that the new style would be a hit with buyers.
That confidence was not misplaced. While the late introduction and high prices limited sales, all three new models were warmly received. Both the Riviera and the Olds Holiday were somewhat overshadowed by the more glamorous Coupe de Ville, but the Buick was the bestseller of the trio with a total of 3,243 units to Cadillac’s 2,150 and Oldsmobile’s 3,006.
The introduction of the Riviera was just one facet of a very good year for Buick. Although the decision to offer carryover bodies the previous year was probably the right decision in the long run, Buick’s 1948 sales had slipped by around 47,000 units, putting it behind both Pontiac and Dodge. Despite some Buick dealers’ trepidation about the new body — even with the last-minute changes — total 1949 sales soared to nearly 400,000 units, a new record, and enough to reclaim fourth place.
OPENING THE FLOODGATES
The limited sales of the 1949 hardtops served mainly to prime the pump. For 1950, Buick added a Riviera hardtop to the mid-priced Super line, with a price tag more than $1,000 lower than the 1949 Roadmaster Riviera. The Roadmaster hardtop, meanwhile, lost its standard hydraulic windows and seat, allowing its base price to be cut by over $500. (The hydraulics remained standard on the 1950 Roadmaster Deluxe Riviera, although even that was over $300 cheaper than the 1949 Roadmaster Riviera.) Buick’s hardtop sales swelled to nearly 69,000 units, almost 12% of its total production. For 1951, when the hardtop was added to the base Special line, sales rose to more than 84,000.
At the same time, Cadillac supplemented the Coupe de Ville with cheaper Series 61 and Series 62 hardtops, while Oldsmobile added Holiday coupes to the low-end Futuramic 76 and 88 lines as well as the big 98. The lower-priced divisions also got into the act with the debut of Pontiac’s Chieftain Super Catalina and Chevrolet’s first Bel Air. The latter, part of the notchback Styleline Deluxe series, sold more than 76,000 units for 1950 and more than 100,000 for 1951, despite being the second most expensive Chevy model.
The explosive popularity of the hardtop coupe left other domestic automakers scrambling to catch up. Chrysler belatedly put the Town & Country hardtop into limited production, along with a much cheaper DeSoto Custom Sportsman. Dodge and Plymouth hardtops would be added the following year. Ford, unable to offer a true hardtop until 1951, cobbled together a pair of pseudo-hardtop coupes, the Ford Custom Crestliner and Mercury Monterey, with vinyl roofs and lavish trim. (The coachbuilder Derham gave similar treatment to some Lincoln models, although the Derham editions were offered only through selected dealerships, not as a factory option.)
By 1952, almost every U.S. automaker would have at least one hardtop model — except, ironically enough, Kaiser-Frazer. Although about 150 Virginians were among the 10,000-odd leftover 1949-1950 Kaisers facelifted to become 1951 Frazer Manhattans, Kaiser offered no other hardtops after 1950. By 1953, the lack of a pillarless body would be almost as serious a competitive disadvantage in the U.S. market as the lack of a V8 engine.
Although the four-door Virginian had sunk without a splash, GM subsequently introduced its own four-door hardtops in 1955. A year later, Nash even unveiled a four-door hardtop wagon, the 1956 Rambler Custom Cross Country. By decade’s end, Cadillac actually dispensed with pillared models entirely except for the formal Series Seventy-Five line.
Nonetheless, by the mid-sixties, only the cheapest American economy cars could get away without at least a pillarless coupe. Two-door hardtops were often the best-selling body style in the full-size lines that were still Detroit’s bread and butter, regularly outselling even the stalwart four-door sedan.
Pillarless hardtops were not unknown outside the U.S. A few examples from the fifties include the Hillman Californian, the Simca Aronde Grand Large, the Facel Vega, the BMW 503 coupe, the Graber-bodied Alvis TC108, and the Mercedes W128 220S coupe. However, the style never became as ubiquitous in the rest of the world as it did in the States. A major reason for that, of course, was cost. Increasingly affluent Americans could absorb the price premium of a hardtop coupe or sedan (which in any event became less as hardtops became commonplace), but those body styles remained an expensive indulgence for British and European buyers. They were even rarer in developing markets like Australia.
Hardtops would remain very popular in the U.S. until the seventies, when they began to disappear in favor of pillared coupes and four-door sedans. Around the same time, there was a vogue for two-door hardtops in Japan in the seventies, followed in the late eighties by a spate of four-door hardtops (and four-door sedans designed to look like hardtops) like the Toyota Carina ED and Corona EXiV. (See our article on Japanese four-door hardtops for more info on these cars.) However, the only automaker to regularly offer true pillarless hardtops in the U.S. market over the last 20 years has been Mercedes-Benz.
MAKING SENSE OF IT ALL
Some of the reasons for the ascendancy and eventual decline of the pillarless hardtop in the U.S. are obvious enough. Despite its minor drawbacks (including a loss of torsional rigidity and sometimes iffy window sealing, particularly on four-door models), it was practical in a way true convertibles were not and was usually far more attractive than its pillared counterparts. We would be hard-pressed to name an American car of the fifties or sixties that looked better as a pillared sedan. The hardtop’s decline, meanwhile, was attributable in part to concerns about pending federal safety standards and in part to over-familiarity. After more than 20 years, what had once seemed special was now passé.
If you’ll indulge us in a bit of dime store philosophizing, though, we think the hardtop neatly embodied the American mindset following the end of World War II. The mood of the postwar years was one of wary optimism; while the war had restored prosperity, the specter of the Depression had yet to fade and veterans of the conflict had not forgotten that victory had been achieved at a horrific human cost. The devastation of Europe and the arrival of the Bomb made a return to prewar isolationism politically untenable, but that impulse remained strong in many quarters. However, if the U.S. could no longer avoid exposure to the outside world, neither were Americans inclined to approach it in an entirely casual or carefree manner. In that sense, the pillarless hardtop was a perfect symbol of the national attitude of that era: simultaneously indulgent and conservative; outgoing but not open. Those traits would remain ingrained in the American character throughout the succeeding decades.
By the mid-seventies, that climate had changed substantially as the guarded optimism of the postwar years and the idealism of the sixties faded to a gloomy hangover of inflation and political disillusionment. The big growth areas in seventies Detroit were ostentation and intimacy: blind rear quarters (with the inevitable padded landau top), tiny opera windows, shag carpet and plush velour. Many American preoccupations of the time demanded a certain privacy — we don’t think it’s coincidental the same period was also a boom time for custom vans — and the glassy hardtops of the fifties and sixties were suddenly out of place.
The American public mindset has shifted several times since then, but hardtops, like tail fins, have yet to really make a comeback. Many modern cars still display a hardtop aesthetic — frameless door glass, blacked-out and/or glassed-in pillars, etc. — but at present, retractable hardtops are more common than the pillarless variety. Engineering a pillarless hardtop to meet current expectations for crash safety and structural rigidity is undoubtedly more challenging than it was 50 years ago, but cars like Mercedes’ CLK and CL coupes demonstrate that it’s hardly impossible. Mundane coupe versions of popular sedans like the Honda Accord and Nissan Altima have become increasingly common, and perhaps when the current public fascination with crossovers and ‘soft roaders’ has run its course, hardtops may once again become the Next Big Thing. The new federal roof crush strength standards that will be phased in for the 2013 model year (49 CFR § 571.216a) may complicate that, but stranger things have happened…
The author would like to thank Jerry Edmundson and Danielle Szostak-Viers of the Chrysler Historical Collection (now FCA US LLC – Historical Services) for providing some of the images in this article and Alden Jewell (autohistorian on Flickr) for his insights on the launch of the 1949 hardtops and contemporary GM advertising.
NOTES ON SOURCES
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Clarke, ed., Impala and SS 1958-1972 Musclecar Portfolio (The Brooklands Muscle Car Portfolio Series) (Cobham, England: Brooklands Books Ltd., ca. 1996), pp. 80-81; Mark J. McCourt, “Buyer’s Guide: 1948-1949 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Series,” Hemmings Classic Car, June 2006; “New Dynaflow Buicks,” The Motor 8 December 1948, reprinted in Buick Performance Portfolio 1947-1962, ed. R.M. Clarke (Cobham, England: Brooklands Books Ltd., ca. 2000), pp. 10-13; “New Steel Tops Look,” Popular Science Vol. 154, No. 5 (May 1949), pp. 134-135; Jan P. Norbye and Jim Dunne, Pontiac 1946-1978: The Classic Postwar Years (Osceola, WI: Motorbooks International, 1979); the Old Car Brochures website (oldcarbrochures.org); John Peatling, “Armstrong Siddeley 16-18 hp Model Range” (no date, Armstrong Siddeley Owners Club Ltd., www.siddeley.com, accessed 27 July 2011); Graham Robson and Richard Langworth, Triumph Cars: The Complete Story, Second Edition (Pitlake, Croydon: Motor Racing Publications Ltd., 1988); Michael Sedgwick, Classic Cars of the 1930’s and 1940’s, Second Edition (Twickenham: Tiger Books International PLC, 1997); The Classic Buick: Facts for Classic Buick Enthusiasts (no date, www.theclassicbuick. com, accessed 20 July 2011); Bill Smith, Armstrong Siddeley Motors: The Cars, the Company and the People in Definitive Detail (Dorchester: Veloce Publishing Ltd., 2005); “The New Buick,” The Motor 21 January 1948, reprinted in Buick Performance Portfolio 1947-1962, pp. 6-9; Toyota Motor Corporation, 75 Years of Toyota, Vehicle Lineage: “Carina ED Hardtop (1st),” “Carina ED Hardtop (2nd),” and “Corona EXiV Hardtop (1st)” www.toyota-global. com, accessed 18 April 2014); and the Wikipedia® entry for the Armstrong Siddeley Typhoon (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armstrong_Siddeley_Typhoon, accessed 26 July 2011). Some additional facts on the introduction of GM’s hardtops came from emails between the author and automotive historian Alden Jewell, 22–25 July 2011.
We subsequently reviewed upcoming changes to federal roof crush requirements in “Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Roof Crush Resistance; Phase-In Reporting Requirements,” Federal Register, 12 May 2009, Doc. #E9-10431, govpulse.us/entries/2009/05/12/ E9-10431/ federal-motor-vehicle-safety-standards- roof-crush-resistance-phase-in-reporting-requirements, accessed 9 August 2011.
Historical exchange rate data for the dollar and British pound were estimated based on data from Lawrence H. Officer, “Exchange Rates Between the United States Dollar and Forty-one Currencies” (2009, MeasuringWorth, https://www.measuringworth.org/exchangeglobal/; used by permission). Please note that all exchange rate equivalencies cited in the text are approximate and provided for illustration and general informational purposes only; this is an automotive history, not a treatise on currency trading or the value of money, and nothing in this article should be taken as financial advice of any kind!
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