‘Dream Convertibles’ of the 1950s added to Pebble Beach Concours

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Pebble Beach Concours
Dwight Eisenhower rides to his inauguration in the Cadillac convertible | Pebble Beach Concours photos

Editor’s note: Follow all of the action and updates on our special Monterey Car Week page.


As promised, the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance has sprung a surprise on us for its upcoming show, just a little over three weeks away on August 26.

The surprise is another special class, Eisenhower Era Dream Convertibles, a first for the 68-year-old California concours and which joins the other special and continuing classes featuring about 200 vintage automobiles on the 18th fairway of the Pebble Beach Golf Links.

Pebble Beach Concours
A 1958 Continental Mark III will be one of the Dream Convertibles

The Eisenhower Era class will focus on the chrome-laden luxury barges of the exuberant decade when U.S. cars strutted their stuff in gleaming style.

“The 1950s in America were a time of unapologetic optimism, excess and seemingly unlimited prosperity,” according to a concours news release. “This mindset was mirrored in everything and anything, but quite literally in the chrome-covered Michigan-made dream convertibles that defined an era.

1958 Continental Mark III
The inaugural 1953 Cadillac Eldorado convertible

“During this time, manufacturers aimed to make a car for any and every American dream, and as a new motoring ideal replaced wartime necessity with plush opulence, big-body convertibles were for those that dreamt a little harder.”

Nine cars will be shown in the Eisenhower Era Dream Convertible class, including a 1953 trio from General Motors that toured the country in the famed Motorama shows. 

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Pebble Beach Concours
The 1953 Oldsmobile Fiesta

They are a 1953 Cadillac Eldorado convertible that was used in the inauguration of President Dwight Eisenhower, possibly festooned with American flags; a 1953 Oldsmobile Fiesta convertible, one of just 458 produced; and a 1953 Buick Skylark, an iconic piece of GM design, fitted with Dayton chrome wire wheels. 

John H. White of Sacramento, California, the owner of the Skylark, said he has admired those evocative droptops since first spotting one at the New York Auto Show at the age of 13.

Pebble Beach Concours
John H. White’s 1953 Buick Skylark convertible

“GM was unveiling something that had never really been seen before,” White is quoted in the news release. “All of the chrome and bright colors really wowed the public – everyone wanted one.” 

The other six Eisenhower Era Dream Convertibles are:

1953 Packard Caribbean
1956 Packard Caribbean
1957 Imperial Crown
1958 Continental Mark III
1959 Chrysler 300E
1959 Cadillac Eldorado

Pebble Beach Concours
The 1957 Imperial Crown

The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, one of the word’s greatest automotive events, is the Sunday culmination of the famed Monterey Car Week car shows, concours, parties, events and collector car auctions. 

For information about the Pebble Beach Concours, visit the event website.

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Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.

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