Eye candy: A gallery of tail lights from the 1950s and ’60s

They don’t make them like that anymore.

Photos by Larry Edsall

They don’t make them like that anymore may be a cliche, but it also rings very true when it comes to the design of automotive tail lamps.

Remember how, if you are of a certain age, back when you were a kid and you could identify every car on the road just by the glowing shape of its tail lights at night?

Try that today as you cruise down the freeway, and it doesn’t really matter if it is day or night, because safety regulations and other factors have pushed the styling of tail lamps from exciting toward generic.

But not back in the day, especially in the later 1950s and early ‘60s when entire auto bodies and seemingly every detail of each visible component was fresh and new — O.K., and sometimes downright bizarre — each year.

Here are just a few from that era that we’ve seen in the past few months as we’ve visited classic car auctions, shows and concours.


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