Grant MacLaren's
1981 18' Century Resorter


Century Styling

Jim Wangard wrote this in a July/August 1994 "Classic Boating" article about Century boats.

"By 1953, nearly every American who needed a car had already bought one.

"Car manufacturers realized that if they wanted to keep up sales, they would have to change their cars styling more often. The styling revolution was not lost on the Chevrolet division whose cars, perceived as almost dull, debuted with bright colors, sharp tail fins and higher powered motors. Styling changes were to imply "new and improved" and the public bought it and loved them, although Raymond Loewy disparaged, calling the cars "jukeboxes on wheels."

"The new styling trend among boat builders paralleled that of the auto industry as 1955 marked a watershed for both. U.S. car design re-placed the rounded look with a low-slung angular streamlined shape offset by chrome features and wrap-around windshields. Among boat builders, it also took the pen of the industrial designer to stylize the vision of the future. Gar Wood had Norman Bel Geddes from the onset. Globe contracted Brooks Stevens. Chris-Craft brought on Don Mortnide. And Century had Dick Arbib."

Maybe Wangard didn't know Arbib came to Century from a position under GM stylist Harley Earl. See this youtube video for more about Earl.

The Century Coronado is an example, IMO, of Loewy's "jukebox" statement about car (and boat) styling of the era:

No automobile better symbolises the styling excesses of the era than Cadillac's 1959 Fleetwood Brougham. Styled under the influence of Bill Mitchell, (then GM's styling head) it sported gigantic rear fins -- the tallest of any production car, each bisected by twin bullet taillights. As the sales brochure subtly put it, "...represents an entirely new realm of motoring majesty".