Thursday, July 31, 2014

What Were They Thinking?: Citroën SM

I include this post on the Citroën SM (1970-75) under the "What Were They Thinking" category.  Not because the car had wretched or inexplicable styling, but because I think the concept of the SM was flawed from a marketing standpoint.

As its Wikipedia entry indicates, the SM was a result of Citroën's purchase of a controlling interest in Maserati, the famed Italian sports and racing car firm.   The concept was to create a high-performance Maserati-powered Citroën DS derivative.

According to the first link above, the SM was successful as a performance car.  However, Citroën did not have a reputation as a builder of high-performance cars in the Maserati sense.  So it was necessary to create a strong public image for the SM.  This failed for at least two reasons.  First, Citroën went bankrupt in 1974 and was rescued by Peugeot which spun off Maserati and dropped both the SM and the DS upon which it was based.   Therefore, whatever efforts were being made to cast Citroën as a high-performance brand were doomed by the firm's financial troubles before they might have taken root.   Secondly, the SM's styling did not exemplify high-performance, as I shall point out in the Gallery section below.


1972 Citroën SM
This, and most of the other photos are auction firm images, the one at the top of the post is from Bonhams, for instance. The SM's styling as been credited to Citroën head stylist Robert Opron, who must have worked with engineering staff and used wind tunnel testing to yield a reported (by Wikipedia) aerodynamic drag coefficient of 0.26.

Low drag was achieved in part due to the front being smoothed via clear panels over the headlamps and by a fender skirt over the rear wheel openings.  A ridge at the rear of the hatch/trunk opening makes an upwards detour over the license plate area, this creating a small aerodynamic spoiler.

1962 Citroën DS 19
The SM was partly derived from the DS model introduced in the fall of 1955 at the Paris auto show, a radical car in its day.  Comparing this photo to the one above it, a similarity of styling spirit and detailing is apparent.  For example, rear wheels are covered.  The roofline is thin.  Windshields are similar and both models have slender A and B pillars.  And then there is the typical French body shoulder (by the bottom edge of the windows) drop-off starting at the A-pillar, a common style feature on French car models built by Citroën, Renault, Peugeot and some others in the 1930s and beyond.  The SM, therefore, is clearly a Citroën and not, say, a Maserati.

Two more views of the SM.  Even though the SM was extremely fast, it generally had that soft look of the Citroën DS and not that of a purposeful Gran Turismo.  Despite all the angular detailing at the rear and the odd, near-symmetrical lazy-V shape of the rear side windows, the fall-off of the rear shoulder line that fades away aft of the doors creates a droopy effect.  The covered rear wheels, a feature useful aerodynamically, also reduce the visual denotation of power we are accustomed to.  Yes, the SM had front-wheel drive, but a feeling of potency at the front is also missing, perhaps because the wheels are on the small side.

Monday, July 28, 2014

1941 Pontiac: All-Around Entertaining

Somewhere I read that General Motors' styling vice president Harley Earl stated something to the effect that an automobile should be visually entertaining while one was walking all the way around it.  I don't know if this was a backhanded slap at functionalist-purist design, but chances are, it wasn't.  That's because Earl knew that his job was to create designs that could attract potential buyers and lead to sales of GM products.  Design purity probably was not a major consideration for him unless he thought it might favorably influence sales.

A nice example of this entertainment, assuming that Earl actually made that observation (as I suspect he did), was the 1941 Pontiac.  It was the GM brand that year that could actually entertain for all 360 degrees.   That's because, until the 1950s, most American cars had rather plain rear ends.  Pontiac, on the other hand had its Silver Streak styling, a set of parallel chrome ridges extending along the center line of the hood and sometimes down into the grille.  This feature appeared on 1935 Pontiacs and continued in one form or another through the 1956 model year.  Starting in 1937 and continuing through 1954 (the 1939 model year excepted), Pontiac sedans also had such streaks running down the middle of their trunks, creating interest there.

I'm using the 1941 Pontiac rather than another year because Earl's stylists added a lot of busyness to the fenders, making '41s especially entertaining.  Well, that and the fact that my father owned a 1941 Pontiac that gave young me plenty of visual and tactile entertainment.


Here is a nice establishment view of a restored 1941 Pontiac in the form of a sales publicity photo.

This view of the grille shows the Silver Streaks descending over the nose and connecting to an Indian chief medallion.  The five streaks are echoed in three ridges descending from the headlamp bezels.  Even smaller echoes can be seen near the tops of the bumper guards.  The vertical element dividing the grille also has some parallel linear decoration.  A subtle touch is the positioning of the running lights at the top grille slot; note how they terminate under the hood cut-line.

Shallow fender grooves were introduced for 1941, yet another variation of those Streaks.  This car has chrome accents on them, but not on the similar grooves on the rubber rock guard on the leading edge of the rear fender.

Another sales photo for a restored Pontiac.  The fender grooves on this car are not chromed, in contrast to the car in the previous photo.  The Silver Streaks on the trunk are seen here.  If you enlarge this image you will see small, dark parallel lines on the chrome areas on either side of the tail lights.  The central bumper guard, like the ones in front, also continues the theme.
Thus ends our entertaining walk-around of 1941 Pontiac styling.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Jowett Javelin: Early British Postwar Design

The Jowett Javelin (1947-53) was among the first post World War 2 British automobile saloon (sedan) designs to reach production, beating the Sunbeam-Talbot 80, Humber Hawk and Standard Vanguard by about a year.

The Wikipedia entry on the Jowett firm is here, that for the Jowett Javelin here, and the one on the Javelin's designer Gerald Palmer is here.  Palmer was trained in engineering and had an artistic eye.   Perhaps that was why Jowett hired him in 1942 to design its postwar car.  Design he did, because Palmer engineered much of the car as well as styled its outward appearance, an extremely rare combination by the 1940s.  The design was essentially established by the spring of 1945, according to Palmer in his autobiography (first edition).

Palmer states: "I made preliminary rough drawings with stubby, attenuated front wings finishing before the leading edge of the door [later changed].   In chasing minimum tooling costs I realised that front left and right rear door panels (and vice versa) could be made interchangeable, with fabricated window frames added separately.   Enclosed rear wheels [also apparently modified] were a streamline touch... No wind tunnel was available but, having pushed the rear seat position forward, the natural curve for the rear of the body assumed a reasonable [aerodynamic] shape."

Unfortunately for Jowett, the Javelin suffered gear box manufacturing problems and the car was a little too expensive, so production ended in 1953 and the company was liquidated in 1955.


Jowett Javelin front 3/4 view
Production Javelins had front fenders extending over the front doors, a styling fashion introduced in the late 1930s by General Motors' 1938 Buick Y-Job experimental car, 1939 production Opel Kapitäns and, slightly later, its 1941 Cadillac 60 Special and all of its 1942 models.  The Javelin has large windows, unlike the GM models just noted.  The grille is a compromise vertical-horizontal combination, a feature found in a number of 1940-vintage designs.

Jowett Javelin side view
The Javelin featured a smooth fastback and short hood, the later feature a result of Palmer's goal of maximizing passenger space.  Doors are hinged at the B-pillar, this resulting in "suicide" front door opening.  This unsatisfactory arrangement was fairly common at the time, especially for Europeans cars with similar front fenders.

Jowett Javelin rear 3/4 view
The Javelin's design was clean and sensible, typical of Palmer's work.  My main complaint has to do with the rear wheel openings that are neither fish (fully skirted) nor foul (fully open, as in the front).

Monday, July 21, 2014

Alfa Romeo Sedan Styling: Some Historical Examples

Alfa Romeo was an automobile manufacturer on its own starting in 1910 and then, as its Wikipedia entry states, "It was owned by Italian state holding company Istituto per la Ricostruzione Industriale between 1932 and 1986," when it was purchased by Fiat (now Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV).  The Alfa Romeo website has this interactive history.

For many years, Alfa Romeo was best known for its racing and sports cars.  But in 1950 emphasis began to change with the introduction of a production-line sedan, the 1900.  Sedans are usually more of a challenge to stylists than sports cars because packaging dimensions based on user requirements must be closely adhered to.  Italians were generally considered the best stylists starting shortly after the end of World War 2 and for decades thereafter.   For those reasons, I think it worthwhile to see how various Alfa Romeo sedans looked over the years.


1951 Alfa Romeo 1900
The 1900 features the recently developed grille theme that has since identified the brand for nearly 70 years.  The rest of the body is envelope-style with a flow-through fender line, all pretty much standard styling fare by 1950.  Aside from the front end, ornamentation is essentially absent, thereby emphasizing the plain, slightly dumpy body shape.

1959 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Berlina
Once again, the front is the most distinctive part of the car.  The grille ensemble is nicely done, and the "frenched" headlamps are in line with mid-1950s American styling fashions.  The remainder of the car looks awkward.  Partly this is due to the symmetrical side window shapes (also seen on the 1900, above).  The almost-tailfin (added as part of a facelift on the original 1955 design) helps emphasize the flatness of the side from the front door to the rear.  The sides have a thin ridge that serves as decoration and to slightly relieve what otherwise is a tall, bland surface.

1958 (ca.) Alfa Romeo 2000 Berlina
The 2000's front also has frenched headlamps and otherwise is a variation on the now-traditional Alfa theme.  The basic body has a lighter appearance than the 1900 and Giulietta because its windows are larger and the roof is flatter.  The sides are still pretty flat, though several chrome strips are present to offer some distraction.  Like the Giulietta, the front has rounded surfaces that contrast -- and conflict with -- the flat, angular rear fender area.

1962-67 Alfa Romeo Giulia TI
The Giulia is smaller than the 2000, so stylists had less to work with.  A simple set of boxes here.  Large greenhouse, a slight bevel along the fender shoulder line.  The grille is no longer a three-unit affair; what we see is a dominant horizontal grille with the traditional triangular Alfa centerpiece tacked on.  Side decoration is once more a raised stamping.  All told, an unattractive design.

1970-77 Alfa Romeo 2000 (Bertone design)
This 2000 is styled in the same spirit as the Giulia in the previous image, but on a larger car.  Like the 1900 in the top photo, there is no side trim.  However, Bertone added a crease from the front wheel opening back.  This resulted in faceting to reduce visual height via differing reflection patterns on the upper and lower side surfaces.

1975 Alfa Romeo Alfasud
Given that Alfa Romeo was a creature of the Italian government, it became part of a social project that was attempting to bring the Mezzogiorno economically in line with northern Italy.  So this new Alfa model was built in a new factory sited in the Naples area.  Styling was by Giugiaro's ItalDesign.  In the abstract, the basic elements are the same as for the 2000.  Large greenhouse, thin roof, side crease creating two semi-facets, wide grille with Alfa triangle stuck on.  Nevertheless, Giugiaro being Giugiaro, the Alfasud ("Alfa South") is a pleasing design.  The fastback and shaping of the rear side window area add interest, and the proportions of the car are pleasing.  Too bad the Alfasud suffered plenty of non-styling defects.

1988-92 Alfa Romeo 75 (162B)
The design of the 75 (alias Milano in the USA) falls into my What Were They Thinking posting category, so maybe I'll treat it in more detail some future time.  The obvious problem is the upwards kink starting immediately behind the rear door.  About the only halfway positive thing I can say about this is that it's "distinctive" in the eye-catching sense.

1999 Alfa Romeo 156
Walter de' Silva was head of Alfa's Centro Stile and therefore responsible for this design.  I like it a lot.  The body is nicely sculpted.  It''s devoid of obvious ornamentation, but the interrupted character line on the fender and the shaping in the vicinity of the rear wheel opening add interest.  A cute detail is the hidden rear door handle (it's built into the black trim to the rear of the side window).  The grille is small due the the below-the-bumper air inlet common on modern cars.  Yet again, the decorative grill is horizontal with the Alfa "triangle" element attached.  But what I like here is the addition of those narrow slots next to the lower edges of the triangle: these hark back to similar slots on some late-1930s Alfa sports cars.

2005 (ca.) Alfa Romeo 159 (Giugiaro design)
This design is also pleasing.  Again, ornamentation is scarce, but sculpting and front end detailing create interest for the viewer.

2010 (ca.) Alfa Romeo Giulietta
This is the most recent Giulietta as of when this post was drafted (late May).  New models are said to be forthcoming for Alfa Romeo, and I'll deal with those sooner or later.  The Giulietta is a  fairly small car, which makes elegant styling hard to achieve.  Echoes of the 156's side treatment are apparent.  Rather than grille side elements by the Alfa triangle, the triangle has been lowered so that the sub-bumper air intake begins to re-establish the three-element grille theme seen on the Alfa 1900 in the first image above.

Besides a common grille theme, Alfa sedans over the years can be characterized as being largely free of ornamentation.  That is, stylists have attempted to maintain a "clean" appearance, an approach favored by modernist design theoreticians.  But Alfas were never totally pure in the extreme functional sense.  They always featured strong visual brand identification (the grille) and enough other touches that in a few cases created a useful degree of visual entertainment.

The main exception is this 1954-vintage Alfa 1900 Super with a two-tome paint job and chrome separation strips in the spirit of 1950s American styling. (Unlike most of the other images that were publicity shots, this was one I found on the Web that apparently is from another source.)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Post-War Peugeot 203

Having served as a battleground in 1940 and again in 1944-45, not to mention having been occupied in whole or part by German troops from mid-1940 to early 1945, France's economy was in bad shape after World War 2 ended.  Some of its industry had been bombed, and some of its equipment had been carted off to Germany.  Peugeot was affected, and wasn't able to introduce a new design until late 1948.  And it was the firm's only production model until 1955, as this Wikipedia entry entry indicates.   That was the Peugeot 203, the subject of this post.

Peugeot has the reputation as being France's most conservative automobile brand, though its 402 quasi-streamlined model of the mid-to-late 1930s was an exception.  The new 203 was true to Peugeot form, however, its styling being largely derivative.  Absent were features in the postwar styling air such as envelope bodies with flow-through fenders.   In other words, the 203 was a "safe" design that would sustain Peugeot while the French economy completed its recovery from the war and then could move towards greater prosperity.


Peugeot 203 introduced at 1948 Paris auto show
The 1948 Salon de l'Automobile de Paris was unusual in that it was held in late June and early July, rather than in the early fall, as was the normal case.  The 203 was in production by fall and can be considered a 1949 model.  Its most backward feature was the flat, one-piece windshield.  It was also a fastback design, fashionable around the time it was introduced, but soon to be abandoned by most carmakers.  Fenders are separate, though the front fender does extend back over part of the front door.  Doors are hinged on the centerpost, simplifying the over-the-door fender feature that would have required more complicated hinging if front door hinges were on the cowling.

1949 Peugeot 203 at rally: view of rear
According to the link above, contemporary photos of early 203 rear ends are rare because Peugeot was somewhat embarrassed by the protruding gas filler cap.  I include this picture because it shows the offending cap as well as the initial rear window, later enlarged.

1955 Peugeot 203
Several years later, not much had changed.

1939 Opel Kapitän
Front fenders flowing over front doors reached production on 1939 Opels.  Here the hinging arrangement was opposite that of the 203, both doors opening from the centerpost.  Peugeot stylists were aware of these Opels as the 203 project was getting underway during the war.

1948 Chevrolet Stylemaster
The Wikipedia entry suggests that the 1942 Chevrolet might have served as inspiration for the 203 design.  That cannot be ruled out, though its basic design elements were also present on the Opel pictured above.  Seen here is a 1948 Chevrolet that differed from 1942, 1946 and 1947 models only in terms of minor trim details.

1940 Chrysler Royal
I include the 1940 Chrysler because the 203 has a similar, though wider, grille. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Very Long Hoods

Once upon a time, stylists such as General Motors' Harley Earl favored long, high hoods on their designs because this suggested that a car was powerful.  This line of thought was based on the fact that many 1930-vintage luxury cars had large, powerful straight-eight, V-12 and V-16 motors that required long hoods.

As might be expected, 1930-vintage automobile company managers and designers fell to the temptation of gilding the long-hood lily.  The present post deals with some examples extra-long -- needlessly long? -- hoods and concludes with thoughts regarding why long hoods are seldom, if ever, found on production cars today.


Daimler Double Six 50 Sport Corsica Drophead Coupé - 1931
Proportionally, this is one of the longest hoods I've ever noticed.  Daimler was best known for supplying cars for British royalty, but the Double Six series featured long hoods and the drophead example shown here is sporty, though in a cumbersome, almost unbalanced sort of way.

Voisin C 22 - 1931
Voisin seldom put long hoods on his cars.  But when he did, the results were spectacular, as with this C 22.

Bucciali TAV Double Huit U-16 - 1932
Bucciali built few cars, but they were even more spectacular those from M.Voisin.  As with the Voisin and Daimler shown above, the Bucciali's hood length was emphasized by the close-fitting front fenders.

Bugatti 41 Royale - c. 1931
Ettore Bugatti's Royale was intended to be sold to royalty.  His plan didn't work as intended, yet seven cars in the 41 series were built over a period of years.  All were huge and carried impressively long hoods, as can can be seen in this photo.

Bentley Speed Six Gurney Nutting Sportsman Coupé (Blue Train) - 1930
The Bentley Speed Six line included one that famously raced the famous French Le Train Bleu from the Riviera to Calais on the English Channel and then went on to London in less than the train's scheduled Riviera-Calais run time.  But as the link indicates, the Gurney Nutting coupé came later, and was named in honor of the Speed Six that actually performed Woolf Barnato's famous stunt.

As for the hood, it's physically shorter than those pictured above.  Yet it's proportionally long, extending about half the length of the car.

Cadillac Sixteen concept car - 2003
Cadillac's Sixteen show car (that in theory might have entered production) had two V-8 engines mounted on axis, making a unit about as long as classic-era V-16s and straight-eight motors such as the Royale had.  Yet the Sixteen's hood is shorter.  That is because production cars nowadays need to be aerodynamically efficient, and part of what it takes to achieve good efficiency is a sharply slanted windshield.  All the previously discussed cars have their windshields sitting atop their cowlings.  But the base of the Sixteen's windshield is set forward of the cowling so that it and the roofline are high enough to clear the driver's head.

Toyota Avalon - 2013
To illustrate this point further, here is Toyota's top-of-the-line Avalon.  Wind tunnel testing played an important role in establishing the car's general shape.  Also having an effect are current "packaging" requirements that include a usefully large trunk at the rear, and a compact power unit at the front.  The result is a passenger compartment with a slight forward bias.  This, coupled with the aerodynamics-dictated windshield slope, yields a stubby hood.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

DeSoto Airflow Facelifts

Streamlining was in the automobile styling air in the early 1930s as American manufacturers were becoming increasingly desperate to add features to their cars in order to entice buyers as the Great Depression worsened.  Before the 1934 model year, streamline details were minor, almost notional.  Side valances had been added to fenders, grilles and windshields were slanted a few degrees backwards -- not very much, in other words.  But the dynamic, engineering-oriented young Chrysler Corporation drastically accelerated the streamlining trend by introducing its wind tunnel tested Airflow design on its Chrysler and DeSoto brands for 1934.  The Wikipedia entry on the Chrysler Airflow is here.

Most auto buffs are aware that the radical new design proved to be a marketing flop, as the above link mentions.  Chrysler acted quickly, adding the conventional-looking Airstream design to its previously all-Airflow Chrysler and DeSoto brands for 1935.

The present post features DeSoto's Airflows because they are less well-known than the Chrysler variety.  The relevant Wikipedia entry is here, for readers interested in general information.

The link notes that the DeSoto Airflow had a significantly shorter wheelbase than its Chrysler cousins, creating a stubby look that might have been an additional factor (besides the radical basic shape) related to slow sales.

Nowadays, with a large variety of vehicle types and shapes on streets and highways -- in some cases strange and even ugly ones -- Airflows in retrospect don't seem very odd.  To some eyes, including mine, they hold a certain charm despite some questionable styling details.   But what happened happened, so we now take a look at what Chrysler's stylists did in their failed attempt to try to save the DeSoto Airflow line back in the mid-1930s.


1934 Chrysler Airflow
This is to set the scene, a typical Chrysler Airflow four-door sedan.  Airflows also came in two-door sedan and coupe versions, these having a stronger fastback appearance and no spare tire hanging at the rear.

1934 DeSoto Airflow
This is a two-door sedan version. The difference in length from the Chrysler is located in the zone between the front axle and the dash; compare this photo with the one above.

1935 DeSoto Airflow
DeSoto and Chrysler Airflow facelifts for the 1935 model year were concentrated on the hood and grille. This was because the rounded noses on the 1934 cars were an obstacle to sales in an era where essentially all cars had high and often long hoods. So the 1935s were given raised hoods and more distinctive grilles at some expense in aerodynamic efficiency.  By the way, the car shown above is a coupe, with the most aggressive Airflow fastback styling.

1935 DeSoto Airstream
Here is a 1935 DeSoto Airstream. Note the similarity in grille embellishments compared to the Airflow. However, the Airflow's bulged grill is what was called "fencer's mask," a brief fashion in the mid-30s.

1936 DeSoto Airflow
The last model year for DeSoto's Airflow was 1936, and little was done to change its appearance.   The grille has a curved bar added to it along with a more arty set of V-bars, and that's about all.  Chrysler Airflows continued into the 1937 model year, and their grilles were kept in synch with those of its mainstream line.

1936 DeSoto Airstream
Here is a 1936 DeSoto Airsteam.  Its grille is noticeably changed from the 1936 version, unlike the inexpensive fix for the Airflow.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Next Year, Add Two More Headlamps

As this segment of a Wikipedia article indicates, for many years starting in 1940, state laws in the United States specified what an automobile headlight should be.  At first, this was a sealed-beam headlamp seven inches (178mm) in diameter.  In the mid-1950s, state legislatures changed laws so as to permit "quad" headlamp systems, one pair of lights having low-high beams and the other pair being exclusively high-beam.  The dual-beam lamp was smaller than the previous standard, and the single-beam lamp was smaller yet.  This change was completed by all states in time for the 1958 model year (though dual headlamps of the older kind were still permitted).

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.


1958 Chevrolet
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.

1957 Chrysler Saratoga
Chrysler Corporation introduced redesigned cars for 1957, but took care to have headlight settings large enough to allow for quad headlamps.

1957 Chrysler New Yorker
This car auction photo shows a '57 Chrysler with quads; they were sold in states where they were legal, according to the link above.

1956 Nash
Nash introduced quad headlights on its 1957 line.  Shown here is the 1956 Nash design that had to be facelifted.

1957 Nash Ambassador
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.

1957 Ford Fairlane
I consider the 1957 Ford Fairlane one of the nicest mid-1950s American designs.

1958 Ford
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.

1956 Lincoln Primiere
Here is a nice auction photo of the 1956 Lincoln.  It was a large car, but elegantly styled.

1957 Lincoln
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.

1957 Oldsmobile
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.

1958 Oldsmobile
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.

1957 Studebaker President
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?

1958 Studebaker Champion
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.

1958 Studebaker President
Here is a quad-headlamp 1958 Studebaker.  They should have kept the '57 styling and put effort into a better job on the tailfins.