I’ve often bitched here that cars are not well-designed for getting in and out of. Well, back in the 1950’s some unnamed Chrysler designers apparently felt the same way, and designed front seats that swiveled to ease ingress and egress.
Here we see it offered as a new option on the 1959 Dodge Custom Royal, their top-of-the-line.
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Sister brand Plymouth got ’em too…
…as did the 1960 and 1961 Chrysler Imperials and 300s.
Competitor DeSoto had them in 1960…
…but whatever ad-man they hired touted them not for ergonomics, but for women’s dignity. The pencil skirts of the 1950s didn’t make it easy for women to get in and out of cars.
GM took note, and pushed it even further; the designers of one of their 1961 concept cars, the Buick Flamingo, said “Hell, let’s make it turn all the way around.” But neither the car nor the seat ever made it into production.
We’re sure you want to see one in action, and the only footage we could find is buried within this 27-minute video that we all know you’re too busy to watch. So we’ve cued it up to the exact moment it appears in use:
Leno’s car was one of the last Chryslers to offer the swivel-seat option. We’re not sure why they went away, but we’re guessing it had to do with poor sales.
By the way, for those that do have the time and are car buffs, the entire video is well worth a watch. Jay Leno’s Garage is one of the more informative automotive history channels out there, and the car geek that’s Jay’s guest in this video knows everything there is to know about the 1961 Chrysler 300G.