Model year creep


In the movie “La Vie en Rose” a group is shown riding in a 1956 Chevy convertible in August of 1955. Were '56s available in August of '55? Isn’t “model year creep” a more recent development?


Model year creep is nothing new. Ford had its 1949 Ford and Mercury models out by June of 1948. Kaiser had its 1951 models out by May of 1950. Buick introduced its new Special that was not based on a prewar design in the summer of 1949. There has always been some debate as to whether this is a 1949 or a 1950 model. The senior Buick series adopted the Special styling for the 1950 model year. The earlier 1949 Buick Specials had a body dating back to 1941 and used the GM B-body. The senior models used the C body for 1949 that had been restyled and used in 1948 for the Oldsmobile 98 and the Cadillac. I don’t know whether or not Chevrolet had released its 1956 models in August of 1955 (I really don’t think so), but model creep has been around for a long time.


Wow! I am enlightened. Thanks so much for your quick response, Triedaq.


I’m not old enough to remember directly, but I thought the big 3 used to introduce their new models in September.

Technically, according to the US DOT a model year can not be manufactured before the first day of the previous calendar year. So, for example, Ford introduced the Mustang at the 1964 Worlds Fair as a 1965 model. That was a special case of early introduction, but it met the requirement of being built after 1/1/64.


If they got it wrong, it was not by more than one month, maybe by only a few days. In the mid-50s the Big Three generally unvieled their new models in September. Interesting is the fact that dealers were supposed to hide or cover their first deliveries until the scheduled September “premiere.”


It actually goes back to the Model-A. There was virtually NO difference between the Model-A from one year to the next. The Model year was the year you bought it. It could have been made 3 years earlier.


So that I can muddy the issue even further: Chrysler corporation didn’t introduce its 1949 models until March of 1949. These cars were Chrysler’s first postwar new models. The 1946-48 models had bodies that dated back to 1940. From January to March, the last of the 1948 models were called first series 1949 models and the 1949 models introduced in March were called second series 1949 models. Nash didn’t introduce its 1952 models until March of 1952. Packard would introduce a new series, but didn’t make model year changes in this time period.

Studebaker introduced its revolutionary new 1947 models in the summer of 1946. I remember, as a little kid, going down to the Studebaker showroom with my parents to see these cars. Studebaker’s motto was “First by far with a post war car”.