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Lord & Taylor: 1959

Lord & Taylor: 1959

October 1959. "Lord & Taylor department store, Washington-Chevy Chase. View to south facade." 4x5 inch acetate negative by Gottscho-Schleisner. View full size.

 

Strictly speaking

The AMC product between the 1956 Buick and the 1955 Caddy is a 1958 Ambassador, not a Rambler.

[They wore "Rambler Ambassador" badges. - Dave]

My Vote

is for the Mark III convertible. What an obnoxiously beautiful automobile that is.

Is this a Loewy L&T?

We had a Lord & Taylor in Millburn, New Jersey, near Maplewood. It was very swoopy, 1950s, and white. Everything was white -- the brick, the walls, the furniture, the clientele ... Anyway, jokes aside, it was almost designed with the aura of an old steamer yacht. Raymond Loewy hired some great designers.

Look closely --

There are at least 13 station wagons in this photograph, most of them quite distinct from each other. This is before my time but I used to see lots of wagons when I was growing up. Of course wagons are almost nonexistent now: a similar photograph today would show rows of characterless SUVs instead.

So which do you want to drive home?

My vote goes to that two-tone Olds hardtop between the older Lincoln and the '59 Ford.

Johnnyuma - I think the supposed Edsel in the nearest row is a 1957-59 Mercury. Probably somebody here will nail down the year, model, color and VIN before the weekend's over!

[The wagon at lower left is a 1958 Mercury Colony Park. - Dave]

100 to 300 Horsepower

Just as in design, the 50's saw engineering advances unlike any decade before or after to propel the the new lower, longer, wider bodies. All the brands with the exception of Oldsmobile began the decade with engines and drivetrains designed in the late 30's, then frozen in place by the war. By 1955, all makes could be optioned with a powerful V-8 and automatic transmission. By 1959, 300 horsepower was the number to achieve, exemplified by the Chrysler 300 in 1955, and Ford, Chevy and Plymouth could all be optioned with 300 horsepower V-8s. Parked fore and aft center left, they represent the gamut. The '50 Dodge is puttering around with its six cylinder and torque absorbing Fluid Drive, while the Continental Mark III has a 430 cubic inch V-8, new for 1958, with 350 horsepower and over 400 foot-pounds of torque to move its heft.

February 27, 2021

Last day for the whole Lord & Taylor chain.

Back in the day …..

Back in the day when cars were cars! And we would wait every year for photos of what that years cars looked like. I think the first fins appeared in 1955; I was just blown away. And every car I can see was made in the USA!

[The 1948 Cadillac is generally regarded as having sprouted the first fins. - Dave]

Mothers only

As a teenaged boy, there was nothing at all inside that you'd want, except they carried Boy Scout uniforms when the need for that came up, as well as Scout handbook and Scout knife. You could carry Scout knives to school in those days, indeed anywhere.

A few miserable occasions came up when you had to be taken there to be fitted for another suit that you didn't want of the next larger size.

Everything else was for women.

A New Design Every Year

There appears to be three Lincolns in the photo--1954, 1957, 1958--and all completely different in body and styling. It still amazes me how car designs changed so quickly in the 1950s.

[Strictly speaking, that '58 convertible is a Continental Mark III, not a Lincoln. - Dave]

Where has my youth gone?

So many of these cars take me back to my childhood in Detroit. Is that an Edsel on the left? I know they bombed in terms of popularity and sales but I never considered them to be that ugly. I wouldn't mind driving around in one today. BTW I've settled for a Honda Accord these days.

[No Edsels here. - Dave]

Classic cars? Badly parked.

Two thoughts here, beside identifying as many cars as one can:

Lord and Taylor customers like classic Detroit big iron and the fins they could get.

Second thought: These are the worst parking jobs I have ever seen on Shorpy! I think only one or two are properly parked in their marked stalls.

I'd Really Rather Have a Rambler!

There are at least three of them in this great picture!

Parking spaces

Even with the much wider and longer parking spaces of that era, Grandma STILL couldn't get her land yacht between the lines. Or all the way into the space as the Plymouth wagon shows at bottom center

Fancy Stuff

This was THE place, so far as my mother was concerned. We rarely shopped here because it was more expensive than Penny's or Sears, so when we did go, it was quite an occasion, and one for which we had to dress up.

Recently the Lord and Taylor in my own area closed, and I was just thinking wistfully about the Lord and Taylor of my childhood. And here it is!

Optometrist office in Lord and Taylor?

Plenty of cockeyed parking here. Holy Cow.

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