Formal Styling

PeugFra

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From an Allpar page:

"
In the Chrysler Design Office (then called Styling Staff), there were “brand” studios: Plymouth Exterior Studio, Dodge Exterior Studio, and a Chrysler and Imperial Exterior Studio. Each was locked, and only the people who belonged in there had a key.
...
“Brand” studios fell by the wayside in the early to mid ’70s, yielding to “body size” studios meaning, for example, Plymouth Satellites and Dodge Coronets were designed by people in the same studio, ditto for the ’75 Cordoba and Charger.
"

But what was the sitation when the Formals were being designed? In the Jeffrey Godshall articles in Collectible Automobile on Formal Chryslers and Plymouths it seems as if both types of studios existed side-by-side. He mentions the Chrysler/Imperial Exterior Studio, the Plymouth Exterior Studio, the Large Car Studio and the Intermediate Car Studio.

So with special reference to Plymouth and Dodge C-bodies, how was the work-flow organised in this period, say 1972-1973? From a little distance they bear so much resemblance, that it is hard to believe they were designed in two separate, restricted-access studios.
 

CBODY67

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By the 1972 time frame, there were possibly some "financial issues" known to be on the horizon, so cost savings was necessary. More cars using the same basic parts, using front end caps, rear end caps, exterior trim, interior trim, and such to differentiate the cars. Dodge from Plymouth, especially. Hence, the "large car" and "intermediate car" studios, which would allow for designers to talk to each other, side by side, as needed.

In some cases, it was not unusual for each studio to have competing teams to design/style future vehicles, for consideration of management. But by the time the proposals were decided upon, then everybody was on "the same team" again, I suspect. "Production" and "Engineering" groups would then become involved as the concepts became reality.

Just some thoughts,
CBODY67
 

PeugFra

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1972-Chrysler-New-Yorker-front.jpg


In the A 1972 Chrysler New Yorker Brougham NYB as a movie star thread this picture was just posted.

It just struck me how this design expresses Elwood Engel's approach often referred to as "filling out the corners of the box". I would like to add "and everything between them".

Here you have Ford's Knudsen nose, whose wild movement has been civilized by tying everything together in a singular rectangular shape. OK, the front is slightly pointy, but you have to look hard to notice.
 

PeugFra

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Any resemblance is surely coincidental.

1970 Chevrolet Bel Air:
1970ChevroletBelAir-d.jpg



1974 Plymouth Fury Gran Sedan:
1974-gransedan-Lebanon-d.jpg


Again, Elwood Engel tied it all together.

Does anybody know of other front ends that are similar to Plymouth's?
 

PeugFra

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Now for a more far-fetched comparison.

1961 Imperial Crown:

1961ImperialCrown-a.jpg


I see similarities in the grille sides receding backwards and the metal strip along the top of the grille.
 

Mr C

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I would say that the Formal Dodge and Plymouth styling was heavily influenced by the GM styles of a few years before...or what would have been current at the time they were working on the cars.

72 Buick...

unnamed.jpg

1972_buick_lesabre-pic-3687340307596643300-1600x1200.jpeg


74 Dodge
ef11b7cd4ba90fab7ab0be44f51b4898.jpg

1974-dodge-monaco-base-hardtop-4-door-72l-1.jpg


But I still like them...
 

PeugFra

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I would say that the Formal Dodge and Plymouth styling was heavily influenced by the GM styles of a few years before ...

I go along with that all the way! It becomes more a question of where the differences lie between the 1971 GM cars and the Formal C-bodies.
 

PeugFra

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To put it in a more provocative way:

Has the 1974 Plymouth Fury been designed according to a design proposal that GM chose not to use for one of its 1971 full-size cars? Is the Fury actually a Chevrolet Biscayne with the wrong badge?
 

commando1

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The design stage for the 74+ cars was started 3--4 years earlier.
Around that time the Fusie sales started to get hammered. I'll hazzard a guess the top management decided to play follow the leader.
 

PeugFra

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Taking a closer look is always worth the effort:

Leaving aside the front and rear clips, it's the side view that makes the Formal Plymouth and Dodge so similar to GM's 1971 cars. Low hood, low beltline, thin A-pillars, deep glass and the Buick Electra/Olds 98-like C-pillar (now that's one sail panel!) contribute to this result. The 1974's are evolutionary rather than revolutionary, but still they represent a cautious step beyond the 1971 GM design, as they are slightly more boxy. Visually, the sides bulge less, the greenhouse has less tumblehome and they show narrower radiuses were two planes meet. Compare, for instance, these deck shapes.

1973 Chevrolet Impala:

1973ChevroletImpala-c.jpg



1974 Fury Gran Sedan:

1974-gransedan-Lebanon-e.jpg


We do call them Formals for a reason!
 

PeugFra

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Here are side views of the "Low Price Three":

1971 Chevrolet Impala:

1971ChevroletImpala-i.jpg


1973 Ford LTD:

1973FordLTD-dd.jpg


1974 Plymouth Fury:

1974-FuryIII-PH41M4F141135-aa.jpg


Close looking will reveal differences, but at first glance the similarities are striking, especially in the hood-greenhouse-deck proportions. Then as now, nobody wanted to be off mark and all tried to swim right in the main stream of full-size car design.

The 1974 C-bodies were the latecomer to this game, so it's only natural that their design was compared to those already around. At the same time they were also the most modern, as is testified by their sides bulging less (not really visible in these pictures) and the more upright and prominent greenhouse. That styling fad most probably originated in Europe:

1969 Fiat 130:

1969Fiat130-a.jpg


From a historical point of view, the 1974 C-bodies represent the last of the line of primarily designer-driven, "bigger-is-better" full-size cars. By "designer-driven" I mean the supremacy of designers over engineers, salesmen and even the car-buying public in determining the final outcome. Full-size-car buyers were already complaining about poor fuel economy and difficulties in parking by then, just take a look at the Owners Reports in Popular Mechanics from the early Seventies. The 1977 GM cars were much more engineer-driven (better fuel economy entails less weight entails a smaller car entails a new styling approach).

When car collectors will finally grasp this point, prices of our C-bodies will sky-rocket!
 
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brougham brummel

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unless the derby guys get them all.I check facebook marketplace routinely and the amount of cars being parted out is about 50 percent almost.There are tons of lincolns and caddys out there.WHY DON,T THEY USE THEM? oops
 

PeugFra

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The fords of the 70,s are pretty forgettable.They were squarish and kind of bloated.The c types looked much,much better and stylish

Yes, full-size Ford looks somewhat clumsy.

At C-pillar height the sides are very bloated, giving extra emphasis to the coke-bottle line. Not very elegant on a car of these dimensions. You can see it by looking at the door profiles:

1973FordLTD-a.jpg


Then you have the high beltline, shallow side glass and thick A-pillars. They tried to make up for that by having a rather thin B-pillar:

1973FordGalaxie-c.jpg


Apart from the coke-bottle line full-size Fords were sure formal, but they lacked the airiness and tautness of the 1974 ChryCo cars.
 
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King Hooter

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In my opinion the formal Dodge/Plymouth hard top coupes where some of the best looking cars of that era.
 

3175375

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unless the derby guys get them all.I check facebook marketplace routinely and the amount of cars being parted out is about 50 percent almost.There are tons of lincolns and caddys out there.WHY DON,T THEY USE THEM? oops
The derby guys prefer the Mopars for 2 reasons that I know:

1) spacing between the front bumper and radiator is epic on Mopars

and

2) torsion bar suspension is easy to get ground clearance

both important to survive destruction.
 

PeugFra

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As it is generally acknowledged that the 1974 C-body design borrowed heavily from the 1971 GM full-size cars, it is ironic to notice that in retrospective articles the GM design is often described as "fuselage" and is compared to the 1969 C-body design. It would be interesting to know if the "fuselage" term was already applied to the GM full-size design back in 1970-1971, as they hit the market. Anyway, GM's Bill Mitchell himself readily admitted that tumblehome and body turn up used to be "pet design features" of his (Popular Mechanics, Oct. 1976, p. 99). They are also prominently present in the 1973 (but originally slated for 1972) GM intermediate Colonade cars, just like in the 1971 B-bodies over at ChryCo.

This tendency for tumblehome in the late Sixties and early Seventies even became a returning subject in car reviews, because in tight spaces, when the door cannot be fully opened before getting out, you shouldn't forget that the upper part of the door frame may still be above instead of beside your head. The 1974 C-bodies tried to do away with this nuisance, as these tumblehome measurements from Popular Science (Feb. 1974, p. 30) show:

1974 Chevrolet 9 in
1974 Ford 7.5 in
1974 Plymouth 6.5 in

Whereas the 1969 Fuselage design had resulted in inward-turned, self-oriented greenhouses, the 1971 GM variation on the fuselage theme produced more outward-looking, surroundings-oriented cars. This was picked up by the 1974 C-body design, at the same time pushing back on the tumblehome craze.
 
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PeugFra

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[in another thread] Dad worked from 53 till 79 in body gesign.
Much of the story can be followed in my two photo garages called “When they were new”.
His body design group worked with stying to actually figure out how to build their designs. Specifically in the “Front End Group” from the cowl forward sheet metal. Particular challenges he did mention were the huge near flat Imperial hoods. Or the 70 Coronet bumper as styling wanted the separate loops. Dad’s group had to consider how to fabricate then assembly on a moving line. That big Grand Fury Brougham grill was significant due to its large flat surface. That won some acclaim as the largest use of that material in the industry. Dad never mentioned working with the Big Name stying heads but many of the stylists were friends and lived in our subdivision. Stylists often mentioned in “Collectable Automobile” magazine like Mr Mitchell, Mr Swartz and Mr Kornmiller all were neighbors whose kids we grew up with.

So when Chet Limbaugh says about the one-piece front end for the 1974 New Yorker "When we first showed this idea to the manufacturing people, they at once said 'No way'.'" (Collectible Automobile, August 2006, p. 64), what position your father was in? Does "manufacturing people" mean the Front End Group your father headed as lead engineer?

Also, if there was a Front End Group, what other parallel groups were working on adapting the overall design to pratical production and assembly needs?
 

rapidtrans

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I believe the “Manufacturing People” in this case would be engineers involved with the plant assembly procedures. Design often fought with the Manufacturing Group over the workers ability or practicality of installing a given part. Many a great feature never made it to production. My buddy while working in the Instrument Panel group during the 70s told me about the “drop test”. Every item they designed had to withstand a drop of 5 ft on a concrete floor. Anticipating the fumbling that may occur at assembly. One of the many criteria that killed some pretty cool features they came up with.
Dad’s first Lead Engineer project was the 66 B bodies. Next was 67 A bodies then 70 E bodies.
In between his group followed up with all the minor annual changes on all these models. He was also lead engineer on the Air Grabber and Shaker patents. After that he only mentioned that Grand Fury grille and later a special Lebaron grille with s.s. mesh in it. Maybe a 77 or 78 Lebaron 2 dr.
 

PeugFra

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That Manufacturing Group also influenced the final outcome of a design, as I understand it. Your father's Front End Group seems to have been more closely aligned with the design studio, then. Or possibly they worked in synergy with design, just to make sure the design proposals wouldn't become too far out.

Could the Front End Group decide which materials to use, or was that also decided before the problem was handed to them? There was a strong push for lighter, weight-saving material back then, right before downsizing brought substantial gains in that respect.

The 1974 Fury front end is also plastic, I mean the grille and the head lamp bezels. Maybe that is another material than the 1975 Gran Fury grille?
 
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