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Automobiles in 1959

The Chevrolet Corvair was the most unusual of the compacts introduced in September for the 1960 model year. Its six-cylinder, air-cooled, "pancake" rear engine, made primarily of aluminum, was combined with a three-speed manual transmission (an automatic transmission was optional) to drive the rear wheels through swing axles; each wheel was sprung independently. Price ranged from $1,810 to $1,920.


The Ford Falcon's front-mounted, six-cylinder, 90-horsepower engine had 120 fewer parts than the standard Ford six-cylinder engine, and the body had about 200 fewer parts than the standard Ford. The combination of fewer parts and the absence of chrome trim made the Falcon one of the lightest cars on the market -- 2,366 pounds. Factory list price started at about $1,750.

Ford Falcon

The Chrysler Valiant was heavier (2,650 pounds) and higher-powered (100-110 horsepower) than both the Corvair and the Falcon. Its six-cylinder engine, designed specifically for this model, was front-mounted, but was tilted at a 30-degree angle to the right of the car for the purpose of producing a lower center of gravity and permitting a lower headline. Optional features included an automatic transmission, power steering, and power brakes.


A unique, see-through sun visor was an option offered by Plymouth in 1959.

see-through visor

French auto manufacturer Renault introduced the Caravelle to the American small-car market in 1959.


The Curtiss-Wright Air-Car, which traveled on a cushion of low-pressure, low-velocity air, went into limited production in 1959.


In the Year 1959

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The Robinson Library >> Technology >> Motor Vehicles

This page was last updated on February 16, 2018.