1959 Ford Styling Award

Automotive Mileposts
Image: Gold Medal

We present this belated Gold Medal for Exceptional Styling award to the 1959 Ford Cars

The truth about Ford's 1959 Gold Medal for Exceptional Styling at the Brussels World's Fair?

(It was all hype.)

The 1959 Fords: Presented with the World's Top Fashion Designers

Exciting by day, the Brussels World's Fair at night was a dazzling wonderland. Recently the lights of the United States pavilion provided a sparkling background for the latest creations of the top fashion designers from Europe and America, and for the cars that were awarded the Gold medal of the Comité Français des L'élegance of Paris—the world's most beautifully proportioned cars—the 1959 Fords.

This velvet ball gown, designed by Jo Copeland for Petulu of New York, is from the collection of American clothes chosen by Vogue for the fashion show in the pavilion.

The car is Ford's Fairlane 500 Club Victoria, beautifully different, all-together new, it brilliantly expresses in every detail the easy elegance of the Thunderbird.

This is high style by Maggie Ruth of Paris, note the wide off the shoulder collar, and this is high style in station wagons: Ford's new Country Sedan. Here's the fresh new direction in station wagon design from America's station wagon specialists.

Another bold selection, designed by Edward Abbott of New York, it features fashion's newest look, the "Umpire Line." And this is the newest look in convertibles, the wide open and wonderful Ford Sunliner.

See these cars with the elegance of a Thunderbird in your Ford dealers showroom, the cars that were awarded the Gold medal of the Comité Français des L'élegance, the all-together new 1959 Fords, the world's most beautifully proportioned cars.

The above is the narrative of a press release video (view video, above right) from Ford announcing the honor of an award for exceptional styling for its 1959 Fords at the Brussels World's Fair. And if it reads like an advertisement, that's because it is. Of course, all press releases are in a manner of speaking advertising. But this one is a bit more clever than that. In fact, it's awfully clever. Do you know why?

The truth of the matter is: the award was phoney. The whole thing was a clever advertising scheme dreamed up by Ford and its advertising agency to take advantage of the activities and interest surrounding the World's Fair. There was no real award given.

A reason to cry foul? No, not really. The 1959 Ford automobiles rank pretty high up on most people's lists of the best looking Fords. It was a landmark design when you consider the huge tail fins and other questionable styling traits of many other 1959 models. In a year when most think the stylists' must have taken leave of their senses, Ford cars were rather restrained. Certainly they were fashionable. And very much in keeping with the design trends of the time.

So while Cadillac models looked like they were about to blast off to another planet from behind, and Buicks had a strangely sinister look when they were coming at you from the other direction, and the rear of a Chevrolet looked like something from The Flying Nun, Ford very smartly capitalized on the new styling of its Thunderbird, which was a sensation all across the country at the time. In fact, the Thunderbird was featured heavily in advertising for other Ford cars at the time.

So, for all that we hereby award the 1959 Ford Cars our Gold Medal for Exceptional Styling. What the heck, we're only five decades late doing it! Congratulations!

We would like to point out, however, that apparently the Ford stylists were impressed with the rear styling of the 1959 Chevys, because if you get behind a 1960 Ford and kind of squint...

Congratulations to the 1959 Ford Cars for winning the Gold Medal for Exceptional Styling

Image: Gold Medal

(Even if we are a few years late in presenting the award!)