At the 2019 New York Auto Show, Fins Are In

The supremely tailfinned 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Convertible

By Paul Riegler on 18 April 2019
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If you walk over to the Cadillac stand at the 2019 New York International Auto Show, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the storied automaker was reintroducing tailfins.  The visitor is greeted by a 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Convertible about 15’ (4.5 m) in the air, with an almost larger-than-life billboard underneath and a selection of older Cadillac model cars on display, all in their glorious tailfin glory.

Tailfins were introduced on the 1948 Cadillac and the tailfin era peaked between 1955 and 1961. They were the epitome of excess. Indeed, The ’59 Elda’s looked like jet airplane vertical stabilizers with sharp points, something emphasized by the twin bullet-shaped taillights below.

But alas, no modern Cadillac – thanks to the marque’s Art and Science design, a new, bold aesthetic when introduced – come with fins.  No cars do, truth be told.

A more current Cadillac XT4

A more current Cadillac XT4

But this year’s New York International Auto Show, which opened for media previews on Wednesday and was preceded by several days of pre-show launch parties, has something for everyone, including tailfin fans.

Jaguar held a preshow event at its new Manhattan Jaguar Land Rover showroom, serving to introduce the new posh digs as well as new versions of Land Rover Range Rover Velar SUV and the Jaguar XE sedan.  Toyota, meanwhile, revealed the all-new Highlander SUV and asked the installation artist Michael Murphy to build a 3D model of the vehicle and projected that image onto buildings and billboards around the city.

Nissan celebrated the 50th anniversary of the 240Z, introduced at a time when the automaker was still known as Datsun in the United States by hosting a reveal of the 50th anniversary edition Z car at the Hotel Pierre, the same location where the very first 240Z was unveiled.

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