Automobile manufacturers whose lines were due for a 1958 redesign could set stylists to the task of conceiving the new designs with quad headlamps in mind. Companies not planning redesigns and wishing to have their cars look fashionable had to facelift front ends to accommodate the additional headlamps. The present post presents some examples of quad headlamp induced facelifts.
Chevrolets got redesigned bodies for the 1958 model year, so stylists planned for quad headlamps pretty much from the start. They even included quad running lights mounted on the grille.
Chrysler Corporation introduced redesigned cars for 1957, but took care to have headlight settings large enough to allow for quad headlamps.
This car auction photo shows a '57 Chrysler with quads; they were sold in states where they were legal, according to the link above.
Nash introduced quad headlights on its 1957 line. Shown here is the 1956 Nash design that had to be facelifted.
And this is the result. Since 1957 was the final year for the Nash brand, the facelift had to be inexpensive. So the hood and grille retained their 1956 shapes. Fenders were re-capped so that quad headlamps could be installed in a stacked arrangement and the grille bars were restyled. Other changes included a larger front wheel opening and repositioned side chrome strips.
I consider the 1957 Ford Fairlane one of the nicest mid-1950s American designs.
Ford management wanted quad headlamps for 1958, so the fine '57 design was sacrificed. Actually, the front end isn't all that bad, a possible improvement over the bug-eyed '57. What ruined the design were the revised rear and the new side trim that worked against the non-facelifted metal sculpting. And the 1959 facelift was even worse.
Here is a nice auction photo of the 1956 Lincoln. It was a large car, but elegantly styled.
The quad-headlight facelift was not a success, as this advertising image shows. The hood was as before, including the cut-outs on the lower edges. Also about the same is the grille-front bumper ensemble. The quad headlamps were stacked and pushed forward from the 1956 position. I'll discuss the rest of the facelift in another post.
By the mid-1950s, General Motors' styling chief Harley Earl was both approaching retirement and running out ideas regarding future style directions. His 1957 cars were more rounded and therefore heavier looking than the competition -- see the '57 Ford and Chryslers above.
Matters deteriorated for 1958, as this Oldsmobile auction photo shows. In those days, GM could easily afford extensive facelifts. So along with adding the new headlights, Oldsmobile got a new hood, grille and bumpers, not to mention revised side sheet metal sculpting and trim. This design is a mess.
Studebaker, on the other hand, was strapped for cash. Its final basic sedan body set was introduced for the 1953 model year and given a major facelift in 1956. The 1957s got a simplified grille and some trim changes. What might be done with regard to the impending quad headlamps?
Lacking money, Studebaker simply grafted a lumpish shape at the front of the fender. It was large enough to accommodate either dual or quad headlights; here is a dual headlight example.
Here is a quad-headlamp 1958 Studebaker. They should have kept the '57 styling and put effort into a better job on the tailfins.