Monday, December 14, 2015

Did the 1949 Vedette Inspire the 1953 Plymouth Grille Design?

Vedette can be translated into English as meaning either "scout" or "star" (the latter in the context of entertainment).  I suspect that Ford of France folks intended the meaning to be "star."  But for the purposes of this post, "scout" might possibly apply.

The Wikipedia entry for the Vedette brand is here.

A while ago I wrote about 1947-1955 grilles for Plymouth, Chrysler Corporation's entry level brand.  The grille design for 1953 Plymouths has always puzzled me somewhat.  It consists of a thick horizontal bar with several raised, chromed, vertical ridges wrapped around it along with some vertical grooves incised.  Quite different from the sculpted-looking chromed shapes then current on the fronts of American cars.

Where did Plymouth stylists come up with that theme?

I had always assumed someone must have doodled it and management thought it was a good idea.  Now I'm not so sure.  It seems that early Vedettes (introduced at the fall 1948 Paris auto show) featured a similar theme.  Might a Chrysler stylist have noticed it and played around with variations for the 1953 Plymouth?  If any reader knows for sure how Plymouth got its '53 grille design, let us know in Comments.


1953 Plymouth publicity material

1949 Vedette - sales photo
This seems to be an entry-level Vedette: no chrome decoration on the grille bar.

1950 Vedette - sales photo
A fancier Vedette.  Compare this grille to that of the Plymouth above.

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