Favorite Car Ads: 1956 General Motors Hardtop Sedans | The Daily Drive

1956 Buick Series 60 Riviera Sedan (top) and Cadillac Sedan de Ville
1956 Buick Series 60 Riviera Sedan (top) and Cadillac Sedan de Ville, 1956 General Motors Hardtop Sedans

There is no denying that the hardtop body style was a triumph of midcentury auto design. Depending on who you ask, the 1949 Buick Roadmaster Riviera coupe was the first regular-production hardtop of the post-war era. For General Motors, things got even more interesting when their designers turned to sedans.

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For 1955, General Motors rolled out its first 4-door hardtops, with an example in all five of the maker’s brand lineups.

For those unaware, the hardtop body style is similar to a standard coupe or sedan, but does not include the central “B” pillar normally found aft of the front doors. The Pillarless look affords a given vehicle an open, airy, and unbroken silhouette. The hardtop body style was usually offered only on midline and top trim levels of a given model, and typically commanded a price premium over “pillared” examples.

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1956 GM Hardtops

Though GM’s 4-door hardtops were introduced for 1955, the maker began advertising the lot in single corporate ads for 1956. It’s interesting to see Chevrolet, Buick, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, and Cadillac in the same print ad, it’s also really cool.

Cool, too, is the introduction of new hardtop trim-level name addendums which, for the most part, have stood the test of time. The 1956 Chevrolet hardtop was known as the Bel Air, The Pontiac as the Catalina, the Oldsmobile as the Holiday, the Buick as the Riviera, and the Cadillac as the de Ville.

As noted above, going with the hardtop added to the bottom line. While the least-expensive 1956 Chevrolet 4-door sedan started at $1869, going with the hardtop Bel Air would set shoppers back at least $2068; that’s a hefty 11-percent price bump.

Though rare, GM would occasionally assemble cars from all of its divisions for a number of ads in the following years, possibly to the chagrin of brand marketing types looking for more-exclusive exposure.

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1956 General Motors Hardtop Sedans

1956 General Motors Ad
1956 General Motors Ad, 1956 General Motors Hardtop Sedans

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Favorite Car Ads: 1956 General Motors Hardtop Sedans

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1956 General Motors Hardtop Sedans

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